May 7, 2015

 

Blogger Bash 2015

News
New Products
Articles
Commentary

 

Star Wars Joins Forces with Disney, Disney•Pixar, and Marvel for Disney Infinity 3.0

This fall, the Star Wars universe will join Disney, Disney•Pixar, and Marvel in Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition from Disney Interactive. Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition will include five Play Sets, new Toy Box expansion games, and fan-favorite characters from the Walt Disney Co.
Of the three Star Wars Play Sets, one takes place during the timeline of Episodes I to III, the second takes place during the original trilogy, Episodes IV to VI, and the third will be based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Additional Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Play Sets include a Disney•Pixar Play Set based on the upcoming film, Inside Out, and a Marvel Play Set featuring Hulkbuster Iron Man, Ultron, and other Marvel characters.
A new 3-D Toy Box Hub will make it easier for players to choose from a wider selection of gameplay experiences including platform, racing, and farming simulation games. New Toy Boxes will include two new multiplayer expansion games: Toy Box Speedway, featuring kart racing, and the action-adventure-themed Toy Box Takeover.
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition will feature figures of characters such as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Sam Flynn and Quorra from Tron: Legacy, Mulan, Olaf, and more.
The Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Starter Pack will be available this fall. For the first time, Power Discs will be sold in labeled franchise-specific packs of four.

Nintendo Partners with Universal to Create Theme Park Attractions Based on Nintendo Games and Characters

Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts will bring the world of Nintendo to life at Universal theme parks, with experiences based on Nintendo’s popular games, characters, and worlds. Through the partnership, Nintendo will be expanding the reach and popularity of its characters and intellectual property.
The immersive experiences will include major attractions at Universal’s theme parks and will feature Nintendo’s best-known characters and games. More details will be announced in the future, as the Nintendo and Universal creative teams work to create specific concepts.

Peppa Pig to Make a Big Splash in First-Ever U.S. Live Theatrical Tour

Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig is hitting the road for her first-ever U.S. theatrical tour, Peppa Pig’s Big Splash. The live stage show will visit 23 cities on the East Coast this November and December, including Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Boston. A second leg will take Peppa to additional U.S. cities next year.
Peppa Pig’s Big Splash is a fully immersive musical production featuring a dozen familiar and original songs, based on the popular Peppa Pig TV series.
Citi Cardmember and Facebook presale tickets, as well as VIP packages that include a meet and greet, will be available on May 6. Citi Cardmember Preferred Tickets and general public tickets will go on sale beginning on May 8. Fans can purchase tickets and find more information at www.peppapiglive.com.

Disney Consumer Products Sets Date for Force Friday

Force Friday, a global event for fans to celebrate the launch of merchandise inspired by the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will take place on September 4. Toys, collectibles, and more will hit store shelves worldwide that day.
Fans will be able to visit their local retailer starting at midnight on September 4 and are encouraged to document their experience on social media, using the hashtags #ForceFriday and #MidnightMadness. Toys, books, comics, e-books, apps, and more will be available at mass retailers and Disney Store locations worldwide, as well as on disneystore.com.
Revealed for the first time, the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens packaging highlights the villain of the film, Kylo Ren.

 

 

 

Backyard Sports Celebrates Stephen Curry’s NBA MVP Win with Fan Offer

Stephen Curry, point guard for the Golden State Warriors and cover athlete for Backyard Sports NBA, has been named MVP for the 2014 to 2015 NBA season. To celebrate with fans, Day 6 Sports Group and Backyard Sports will be releasing a free MVP Stephen Curry player for the mobile game, Backyard Sports NBA ’15.
The limited-edition Curry will be available for fans to download through May 10 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The download will feature Curry with all the maximum skill ratings.
Backyard Sports will also be hosting a contest on its Facebook page that will allow fans to showcase their prowess outside of the game with the Mega Morph Super Hoop. Fans can post a photo of their high scores on the Backyard Sports Facebook page for a chance to win one of 10 prize packs that include autographed Stephen Curry Mojo Bands, NBA basketballs, and Golden State Warriors hats.

Marvel Launches Exclusive Secret Wars: Armor Wars Comic at Toys “R” Us

As part of Toys “R” Us’ Marvel’s Avengers: The Age of Ultron retail program, customers will receive a complimentary Secret Wars: Armor Wars No. 1/2 comic book with any Marvel purchase of $25 or more through Saturday, May 9, while supplies last.
Secret Wars: Armor Wars takes place in a city of iron men and iron women, where a civil war threatens to destroy the Stark dynasty. From writer James Robinson and artist Mark Bagley, the 12-page comic book is available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com.

SwimWays Partners with Retailers for National Learn to Swim Day

Swimways Corp.’s campaign for its fourth annual National Learn to Swim Day will take place during National Water Safety Month on May 16. Held on the third Saturday of May each year, National Learn to Swim Day provides the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of water safety and teaching children how to swim as pools open across the U.S. for summer.
Swimways is partnering with retailer Toys “R” Us on both online and in-store National Learn to Swim Day promotions, including buy one, get one 40 percent off on learn-to-swim items from May 3 to 9. More learn to swim deals for May 16 to 23 can be found in Toys “R” Us circular advertisements, or by signing up for Toys “R” Us emails.
Target.com will take 20 percent off all SwimWays Baby Spring Float products from May 10 to 16, and each Leslie’s Pool Supplies store nationwide will give away Swimways Swim Noodles, and offer 10 percent off learn to swim items on May 16.
Swimways is collaborating with Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation and its Aquatics team to provide learn to swim videos for families on the National Learn to Swim Day online hub, teachmetoswim.com.

The Avengers’ Black Widow Is the Odd “Man” Out

Avengers: Age of Ultron debuted in theaters on May 1, earning $187.7 million during its first weekend. Yet the only superhero anyone seems to be talking about is the Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, played by the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. Read more…

Dr. Dieter Stadlbauer of the Stadlbauer Group Passes Away

On Tuesday, April 14, after a severe and protracted period of illness, Dr. Dieter Stadlbauer passed away surrounded by his family. During five decades in the toy business, Stadlbauer built a local wholesale company into an international company group.
Under his leadership, the business moved towards specialization in exclusive toys and games from all over the globe. To date, it has been successful internationally, as well as in the acquisition of brands to be produced in-house.
Stadlbauer’s responsibilities have now been taken over by his son, Andreas Stadlbauer, who will serve as his successor within the management of the Stadlbauer Group.

Wonder Workshop Appoints New COO, Vice President of Marketing

Wonder Workshop has appointed Raghu Sethuraman as COO and Ned Ward as vice president of marketing. Sethuraman will lead global operations, finance, customer service, and reseller partner organizations. He brings more than 16 years of leadership experience to Wonder Workshop from fast growing global e-commerce, supply chain, manufacturing, finance, and customer service organizations including Amazon.
Ward will oversee all marketing, including brand and product marketing and community, public relations, and partnership efforts for Wonder Workshop. He has more than 20 years of toy and brand marketing experience at Mattel, Bandai, and Playmates Toys. Ward led numerous Mattel brands such as Hot Wheels and Masters of the Universe, as well as key licensed brands such as Disney•Pixar Cars.

Canadian Toy Association Invites Nominations to Its Board of Directors

The Canadian Toy Association (CTA) invites all members to submit candidates for seats on the CTA Board of Directors. In accordance with the affiliate agreement between CTA and the U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA), TIA members with operations in Canada are also eligible to submit candidates for consideration.
All nominations must be made in writing, accompanied by consent from the nominee, and received by CTA’s executive director before 5 p.m. on May 20. Nominees will have their name placed on a written ballot, and the executive director will inform the membership of the nominations after they are received.
Completed nomination forms may be sent to Serge Micheli, CTA executive director, at sm@canadiantoyassociation.ca. The following criteria will be considered for each nominee: a commitment to attend 3 to 5 board meetings per year, held in Toronto (telephone options are available); a commitment to act in a neutral manner and represent the best interests of the industry; a recommended minimum of 5 to 10 years of experience in the Canadian toy industry; an understanding of the regulatory environment in Canada; and an understanding of the impact of economic factors and trade on the Canadian toy industry.

Newly elected board members will begin a one-year term beginning at CTA’s annual general meeting, which will take place on June 17. More information can be obtained by contacting Danielle Russell, CTA senior association manager, on or before June 3.

Activision Blizzard Announces Better-Than-Expected First Quarter Financial Results

This past Wednesday, Activision Blizzard Inc. reported better-than-expected financial results for the first quarter ended March 31. For the quarter, Activision Blizzard’s GAAP net revenues were $1.28 billion, as compared with $1.11 billion for the first quarter of the prior year. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s net revenues were $703 million, as compared with $772 million for the first quarter of the previous year. For the first quarter, GAAP net revenues from digital channels were a record $581 million and represented a first-quarter record 45 percent of the company’s total revenues. On a non-GAAP basis, net revenues from digital channels were a first-quarter record $538 million and represented a record 76 percent of total revenues.
For the quarter ended March 31, Activision Blizzard’s GAAP earnings per diluted share were a record $0.53, as compared with $0.40 for the first quarter of last year. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s earnings per diluted share were $0.16, as compared with $0.19 for the first quarter of the previous year.
On a constant FX basis, non-GAAP revenues and EPS were flat year-over-year, despite a lighter first-quarter slate this year, given strong trends with ongoing monetization.
Activision Publishing had the No. 1 console franchise in North America and Europe year-to-date: Skylanders, which outsold the No. 1 action figure line globally, and was the No. 1 kids console franchise and title globally.

The Walt Disney Co. Reports Second Quarter Earnings

On Monday, the Walt Disney Co. reported earnings of $2.1 billion for its second fiscal quarter ended March 28. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) increased 14 percent to $1.23 from $1.08 in the prior-year quarter, and excluding certain items affecting comparability, EPS for the quarter increased 11 percent to $1.23 from $1.11 in the prior-year quarter.
EPS for the six months ended March 28 increased 18 percent to $2.50 from $2.11 in the prior-year period. Excluding certain items affecting comparability, EPS for the six months increased 16 percent.
On a segment basis, studio entertainment revenues for the quarter decreased 6 percent to $1.7 billion while segment operating income decreased 10 percent to $427 million. Lower operating income was partially offset by a higher revenue share with the consumer products segment, reflecting the performance of Frozen merchandise during the current quarter.
Consumer products revenues for the quarter increased 10 percent to $971 million and segment operating income increased 32 percent to $362 million. Higher operating income was primarily due to an increase in merchandise licensing business, due to the performance of merchandise based on Frozen and, to a lesser extent, Marvel’s Avengers.
Interactive revenues for the quarter decreased 12 percent to $235 million, while segment operating income increased by $12 million to $26 million. Lower marketing and product development costs were partially offset by lower Disney Infinity performance and decreased sales of mobile game catalog titles due to fewer titles in release.

Wonder Workshop Raises Additional $6.9 Million

Wonder Workshop has raised an additional $6.9 million from new investor WI Harper Group, as well as existing investors Madrona Venture Group, CRV, Maven Ventures, Bright Success Capital, and angels. Wonder Workshop will use the funding to continue to expand into new markets, and to develop manufacturing and strategic business channels. The funding brings the company’s total funding to $15.9 million. Since its launch late last year, the company’s signature toys, Dash & Dot, have appeared at the White House for the National Hour of Code, been broadly adopted in classrooms nationwide, and have provided more than 75,000 hours of fun and entertainment to kids around the world.


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