October 10, 2013

China Toy Expo

Monster High Stars in New DVD, Monster High: 13 Wishes

Monster High: 13 WishesThis past Tuesday marked the release of Monster High: 13 Wishes—right in time for Halloween. In partnership with Universal Pictures, this third feature-length film from the Monster High franchise introduces a new ghoul, Gigi Grant, who comes to the title school to grant the ghouls 13 wishes. There will be a line of themed dolls, toys, and a video game available at retailers nationwide. Monster High: 13 Wishes is available on both DVD and Blu-Ray.







Burger King Launches Digitally Interactive Toys for The Simpsons Superheroes Kids Meal Program

Burger King SimpsonsTwentieth Century Fox Consumer Products (FCP) and Burger King Worldwide Inc. have introduced digitally interactive The Simpsons toys into Burger King Kids Meals in North American and Latin America. Burger King Kids Meals will come with one of six unique Simpsons superhero toys, each featuring a superpower brought to life through a digital game. The Simpsons Kids Meal toys will serve as virtual joy sticks that allow kids to interact with the digital game through motion detection technology and the use of a webcam. At www.bkcrown.com, users can battle a range of villains directly from Springfield.


Disney Celebrates The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition Blu-ray with New Product Collection

ArielDisney Consumer Products has released a new collection celebrating Disney Princess Ariel, timed with The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition Blu-ray release on October 1. The line features new dolls, role-play, and more, and is available at department and specialty retailers, Disney Store locations, and DisneyStore.com.
Kids’ product partners include Jakks Pacific, the Disney Store, Children’s Apparel Network, Mattel, Hanna Andersson, Disney Press, and Jay Franco. Fashion and beauty product partners include SimsoTex, Sephora, and Loungefly.






Sonic the Hedgehog Returns to TV

Sega has announced that Sonic, the iconic blue hedgehog with four TV series and more than 70 video games, is set to return to TV screens next year in a CGI-animated series. Produced by Sega of America Inc. and Genao Productions, the Sonic the Hedgehog series will premiere in the U.S. on Cartoon Network, and on Canal J and Gulli in France, with a global rollout to follow.

Toys “R” Us Introduces Monster 500 Line

Toys “R” Us is releasing a new, exclusive toy line, Monster 500, featuring 10 characters and two play sets. The assortment includes small and large vehicles, the Graveyard Gauntlet Track Set, and the Toxic Terror Trap Playset.
The Monster 500 line of toys, designed and created by Toys “R” Us in collaboration with Creata, is available for presale at toysrus.com, and will be sold in stores starting October 14. There will also be a Monster 500 app, available for Android and iOS on the same day that the toys hit shelves, allowing fans to bring monster characters to life in a racing game.

Skylanders Comes to YouTube in New Boomcast Webisodes

Skylanders Swap ForceSkylanders Boomcast, a series of online webisodes for the Skylanders line of toys, debuted on October 4 on the Skylanders YouTube channel.
Host and actor Zachary Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) brings fans the latest Skylanders franchise news, gameplay tips and tricks, fan art, character spotlights, exclusive interviews with the Skylanders team, and more. Skylanders Boomcast was created by Activision Publishing Inc. and is a Matter/Edelman Production in association with RadNerd Productions.
The show’s launch kicks off SWAPtober, a month of activities celebrating the newest Skylanders game, Skylanders Swap Force, which arrives October 13 in North America, October 16 in Australia, and October 18 in Europe.

Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Returns for Wii U

The Legend of ZeldaOn October 4, the packaged version of the re-mastered The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD launched for the Wii U console. The release included a limited-edition bundle with a black Deluxe Wii U console; a controller adorned with the gold Hyrule crest and symbols from the game; a download code for the digital version of Hyrule Historia, which details the chronology, history, and artwork of the Zelda series; and a code to download The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD from the Nintendo eShop.
Enhancements for the re-mastered game include Miiverse functionality, which lets players with broadband Internet access attach messages or images to Tingle Bottles that can wash ashore in other players’ games.



Sun-Mate Corp. to Launch New Smithsonian Toys

Sun-Mate Corp., a global toy manufacturer, and the Smithsonian’s business division, Smithsonian Enterprises, will introduce a new Smithsonian-branded toy line. Based on the 137 million collection items held at the Smithsonian Institution, the line will include branded role-play and exploration sets, doctor and veterinary play sets, electronic toys, room décor, and night lights.
Sold under the Smithsonian Institution’s brand, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all Smithsonian licensed products supports the Institution’s educational mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

Activision, Treyarch, and Xbox Partner to Help Veterans Through the Call of Duty Endowment

Through October 14, U.S. fans can purchase any of the 17 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Personalization Packs that are currently available on Xbox Live for a 25 percent discount. Activision Publishing Inc., its studio, Treyarch, and Xbox will donate all profits from the packs sold to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit that seeks to help soldiers transitioning to civilian life find work and establish careers, and to assist organizations that provide job placement and training.
Personalization Packs in Call of Duty: Black Ops II offer fans more options to customize and expand their experience. Each themed Personalization Pack contains one unique weapon camo, three targeting reticules, and a player calling card.

K’Nex Introduces Four New K’Nex Education Building Sets

K’Nex Education has released new sets designed for small groups of students, which teach concepts through problem solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and critical thinking.
The four new sets include: Simple and Compound Machines, which expands upon middle school students’ knowledge of simple machines concepts; Investigating Solar Energy, which includes a unique solar panel, solar motor, and capacitor for storing energy; Exploring Wind and Water Energy, which addresses critical science, technology, and engineering concepts, and provides instructional models that enhance students’ understanding; and Force and Newton’s Laws, which investigates a variety of concepts related to forces, energy, and motion. All sets are appropriate for grades 5 to 9.

Ubisoft Acquires Future Games of London

Ubisoft has acquired Future Games of London (FGOL), a developer of free-to-play games for mobile devices and tablets. In the deal, Ubisoft adds FGOL’s successful Hungry Shark franchise to its mobile business. The Hungry Shark brand is a strong performer on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon, with the newest entry to the series, Hungry Shark Evolution, bringing in more than 25 million downloads.

Voting Now Open for 2013 TAGIE Awards

TAGIE AwardsVoting is now open for the 2013 Toy & Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards. The public is invited to vote before the awards show, which takes place as part of the 11th Annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
The show is scheduled for November 22 from 6 to 10 p.m., in the historic Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Voting for the TAGIE Awards is available through November 1 and members of the public are invited to view the full list of nominations and cast their votes online <http://www.tagieawards.com/us/>.

Smell My What?

It’s gooey, it’s stretchy, it’s slimy, and it goes by the name Gak. This original Nickelodeon staple has been around for years, but has never failed to impress me with each wacky new version the brand continually comes out with. Just when I really thought I had seen it all (if this is your first time hearing about Gak, things may get a little weird for you), between glow-in-the-dark Gak and Gak that changes color based on your mood, Nickelodeon gives us a new line called Smell My Gak—and you can definitely let your imagination run with that one for a little longer. Read more…

Kids Love to Make Stuff

Kids love to make stuff. Arts and crafts, do-it-yourself kits, construction sets—you name it. I loved crafts as a kid, especially the kinds that didn’t quickly run out of the included supplies, so I could start over if it wasn’t quite right the first time. Read more…

Frederic Soulie Promoted to Senior Vice President of Global Distribution at Saban Brands

Frederic Soulie has been promoted to senior vice president of global distribution at Saban Brands. He will oversee the worldwide distribution strategy of Saban Brands’ properties across the TV, home entertainment, and digital platform categories. He will work closely with Saban Brands president Elie Dekel and chief operating officer Janet Scardino to manage ongoing and collaborative efforts for worldwide distribution of the company’s entertainment properties.
In 2011, Soulie joined Saban Brands after overseeing digital distribution and business development for Cookie Jar Entertainment and Endemol USA.

Douglas Cuddle Toys Welcomes Tara Rubino    

Douglas Co., known for its plush toys and plush accessories, has appointed Tara Rubino to the position of national sales manager. Rubino has more than 20 years of experience in plush sales and management, having worked for two other plush companies prior to Douglas.
Douglas products are sold at specialty gift and toy stores in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Kitty Pilarz Honored During World Standards Day 2013

On the evening of October 3, Catherine (Kitty) H. Pilarz, senior director of product safety for Mattel/Fisher-Price, was honored for her outstanding contributions to the development, promulgation, and use of standards bolstering the safety of toys. She was recognized during the U.S. celebration of World Standards Day 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Pilarz has served as chair of the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) board of directors, chair of a task group addressing emerging hazards under the ASTM Toy Safety Subcommittee, and chair of the ASTM Committee on Consumer Products.
The event was co-chaired by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Toy Industry Association (TIA) served as the administrating organization for this year’s event.

NRF and ICSC Predict Slight Sales Growth for Holiday Shopping Season

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) have issued their sales projections for the holiday shopping season. As reported by the Toy Industry Association Inc., the ICSC and NRF anticipate modest increases of 3.4 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, during the months of November and December.
Actual holiday sales were up 3.5 percent last year; the 10-year average holiday period growth is 3.3 percent. The NRF predicts that sales will surge to $602.1 billion in the remaining two months of this year.
Solid gains for this year are linked to positive growth in the U.S. housing market and increased consumer appetite for purchasing larger-ticket items, according to the NRF. Meanwhile, holiday hiring is closely correlated with spending, and the ICSC predicts that hiring will be up 0.5 percent over last year.

Vornado Announces Its Share of Toys “R” Us’ Second Quarter Financial Results

Earlier this week, Vornado Realty Trust announced its 32.6 percent share of Toys “R” Us’ second quarter financial results that it recorded in its third quarter ended September 30. Vornado’s results will include a net loss of $34,209,000, or $0.17 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $8,585,000, or $0.04 per diluted share, recorded in the quarter ended September 30.
Vornado’s share of negative funds from operations (FFO) after income taxes for the quarter ended September 30 is $22,343,000, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to FFO after income taxes of $2,403,000, or $0.01 per diluted share in the prior year’s quarter. Vornado’s share of Toys “R” Us’ FFO will be treated as non-comparable in both periods.
Toys “R” Us’ fourth quarter net income accounts for more than 80 percent of its fiscal year net income.

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