February 22, 2013

Laser Pegs

Universal Signs Hasbro as Global Master Toy Licensee for Jurassic Park 4

Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) and Hasbro have signed on to market and distribute toy products globally for Jurassic Park 4, the next installment of Steven Spielberg’s film series, which will be released on June 13, 2014. Jurassic Park has become one of Universal’s most beloved franchises and, since 1993, Hasbro has been the master toy partner for each film. 
Additionally, Universal will release the classic Jurassic Park film in 3-D on April 5. With his remastering of the epic into a state-of-the-art 3-D format, Spielberg will introduce the three-time Academy Award-winning film to a new generation of moviegoers and allow longtime fans to experience the world he envisioned in a way that was unimaginable during the film’s original release.
With the fourth installment, Hasbro has the rights to develop a wide variety of toys including figures, plush, dolls, play sets, vehicles, role play, games, Kre-O-branded building sets, and novelty items. Products will be available on shelves beginning next summer.

WBCP Unveils Product Lineup for the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of OzWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) announces a roster of licensees set to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz next year. Master toy partner Jazwares will unveil a range of 5-inch fashion dolls, play sets, and role-play accessories in the fall. Mattel will unveil three new Pink Label The Wizard of Oz Barbie dolls as a part of the Barbie Collector line this year. Puppet Heap will have hand and finger puppets, Schylling will offer a jack-in-the-box with a plush Dorothy, and Vermont-based R.J. Wright Dolls will introduce a molded, plush Toto replica. Also available for collectors is a plush bear dressed as The Wicked Witch from Steiff, and high-end dolls from Tonner Doll Co. and Adora Doll.
A themed train-set from Lionel Little Lines will also be available, and Alexander Doll is set to unveil new 12-inch, machine-washable plush dolls for young collectors. Round 2 will have figures, wooden toys, puzzle games, clip-ons, banks, and sound and motion dioramas. USAopoly will have a new The Wizard of Oz Monopoly game, The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Edition of The Game of Life, and The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Edition of Memory Challenge.
Other licensees include Funko, Rubie’s Costume Co., Promotional Partners, Darice, Masterpieces, and Ceaco.

Spin Master Ltd. Signs Exclusive Global Licensing Deal for DreamWorks Dragons

Spin Master Ltd. and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. have entered into an exclusive licensing relationship in which Spin Master will serve as the worldwide master toy licensee for the DreamWorks Dragons slate of upcoming franchise properties, which includes a TV series and a sequel to How to Train Your Dragon.
Spin Master has previously served as master toy partner for the How to Train Your Dragon feature film, released globally in 2009, and this fall will debut a toy line inspired by last year’s debut of Cartoon Network’s DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk, which features the original voice cast from the feature film. One of the line’s featured items is the Giant Fire Breathing Toothless, which creates blue “fire” and “steam.”
The sequel to the original feature film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is set for release on July 20, 2014.

Jakks Pacific, Univision to Bring El Chavo to U.S. Toy Aisles

El ChavoU.S. toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc. has been appointed as the North American master toy licensee by Univision Communications Inc., a media company serving Hispanic America, to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of toys inspired by El Chavo, the comedy series that airs in the U.S. and Spanish-speaking countries worldwide.
The El Chavo product line from Jakks Pacific will include action figures, plush, dolls, role-play products, dress-up items, seasonal toys, tabletop games, and novelty items that celebrate the world of El Chavo, including a variety of characters seen in El Chavo Animado, the animated series airing on the Univision Network, Sundays at 4 p.m. ET/PT. The El Chavo product line is expected to launch in the fall.



Hasbro Launches Transformers Beast Hunters Brand

TransformersThis year, Hasbro Inc. heralds a new era for its Transformers brand with the introduction of Beast Hunters, an expansive multi-platform brand experience. The new evolution in the Transformers franchise launched at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.
Now, the Autobots will face-off against the Decepticons and the Predacons. The new dragon-like Predaking character, the leader of the Predacons, is featured in the upcoming season of the Transformers Prime animated series, produced by Hasbro Studios. The series airs on The Hub TV network in the U.S. and is seen by fans in 182 countries.
In addition to a beast-filled season of Transformers Prime, the Predacons Rising DVD will launch in October and a TV movie event will air later in the year on The Hub. The Beast Hunters brand will also include online story and character experiences, digital entertainment and gaming, licensed merchandise, publishing, and toys and action figures.

Women in Toys Honors Business Leaders

Women in Toys presented its 2013 Wonder Women Awards and inaugural Superman Awards to a dozen business leaders in toys, licensing, and entertainment at the Ninth Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards attended by more than 300 industry executives.
The Women in Toys Foundation also recognized future toy industry leaders, outstanding young women in toy design programs worldwide with scholarships distributed at the awards dinner, held February 10.
The 2013 Wonder Woman winners include:
—Lifetime Achievement Award: Cathy Meredith of Hasbro
—Rising Star: Caitlin Gutekunst, licensing manager (Americas) of Mind Candy
—PR/Social Media: Jen Derevensky, president of Ren Beanie Public Relations
—Manufacturer: Gale Jarvis, president of Alexander Doll Co.
—Designer/Inventor: Nancy Zwiers, Chief Funosopher, Funosophy
—Licensing and Entertainment: Lourdes Arocho, vice president of toys and games at Nickelodeon Consumer Products
—Socially Responsible: Jean Butler, executive director of the Toy Industry Foundation
—Retailer: Leila Nosrati, buyer of Girls’ Toys for Toys “R” Us
—Marketing or Branding: Alita Friedman, chief brand officer and principal of Pretty Ugly LLC
—Superman Award: Jay Foreman of The Bridge Direct
—Superman Award: Carter Keithley of the Toy Industry Association

Perplexus Now Available Through Patch Products, Spin Master

Patch Products is now the specialty distributor for Perplexus, the maze game where players maneuver a small marble around challenging barriers inside a transparent sphere. Spin Master will have the mass distribution rights for Perplexus beginning April 1 and will also launch a marketing campaign in the fall to promote the toy line.
Perplexus houses various challenging tracks with 100 barriers providing a frustrating 3-D maze experience. Players select the track they would like to attempt and must work with gravity to carefully shift, flip, and twist the sphere to guide the marble. Players can race each other or the clock. Perplexus is available in Original, Rookie, Epic, and Twist models to challenge players of many skill levels.

Art Impressions Expands So So Happy with Colorbok Partnership

So So HappyThe So So Happy lifestyle brand from Art Impressions is expanding into crafts and activities through a new partnership with Colorbok. The So So Happy collection will be centered around activities such as sewing, painting, iron-ons, jewelry-making, and plaster/clay crafts. It is expected to launch in the fall and will be available to retailers in the U.S., the UK, and Scandinavian countries.
The So So Happy brand message of positivity revolves around core values: embracing individuality, being kind, spreading love, and believing in yourself no matter what is standing in your way. As a way of giving back, the company donates 10 percent of its profits to organizations that offer support to kids in crisis.

Hunter Products Appointed Australian Toy and Game Distributor for Walking With Dinosaurs 3-D

BBC Worldwide Australasia has named Hunter Products as the Australian toy and game distributor for the film Walking With Dinosaurs 3-D. The film will launch in Australian cinemas in January 2014 and Hunter Products will support the release by distributing a full range of toys and games created by Vivid Imaginations.
Walking With Dinosaurs 3-D is a co-production between natural history storytellers BBC Earth, 3-D pioneers Evergreen Films, and Reliance Entertainment, with animation and visual effects produced by Animal Logic in Australia, with backdrops filmed in New Zealand. The film tells the story of families born and families torn apart, of growing up, rivalry, and competition. Audiences will join dinosaur characters on an adventure that will take them back 70 million years to see our world as it was when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The film uses the 3-D expertise of Cameron l Pace Group and will be distributed by 20th Century Fox in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and the majority of international territories.

American International Toy Fair Welcomes Increase in Global Visitors 

The 110th American International Toy Fair in New York City, held February 10 to 13, welcomed a 4 percent increase in international attendees, a 9 percent rise in licensors, a 6 percent increase in international manufacturer’s representatives, and an 18 percent increase in foreign press from 20 countries. Total attendance during the four-day show was 24,145.
A blizzard that hit the NYC-area on the Friday before Toy Fair resulted in six cancellations from the 1,066 pre-registered exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents, who filled a record-breaking 375,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Toy Fair welcomed 239 first-time exhibitors and nearly 9,500 buyers from 5,000 retail outlets. The top five countries identified with the highest attendance numbers were Canada, the UK, Mexico, Japan, and Australia, with a notable increase in visitors from Mexico (up 8 percent).
The 111th American International Toy Fair will be held February 16 to 19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.


Jakks Pacific Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results for 2012

Jakks Pacific Inc. has reported financial results for last year’s fourth quarter and full year. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $133.5 million, compared to $141.1 million reported in the same period in 2011. The reported net loss for the fourth quarter was $119.5 million, or $5.45 per diluted share. This compares to a net loss of $20.0 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, reported in the comparable period in 2011. Net sales for the full year of 2012 were $666.8 million, compared to $677.8 million in 2011. The reported net loss for the full year was $104.8 million, or $4.37 per diluted share. This compares to net income for the full year of 2011 of $8.5 million, or $0.32 per diluted share.

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