Jakks Pacific and Nickelodeon Enter into Licensing Agreement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

NickTMNTJakks Pacific Inc. has entered a licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of specialty figures and toys in the U.S. based on the network’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. The agreement will include Jakks Pacific’s Hero Portal TV video game platform, Plug It In & Play TV Games products, and large-scale figures.

The new line will launch this fall, coinciding with the August 8 release of Paramount Pictures’ feature film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

COMMENTARY: Now Every Kid Can Be Captain America

Phil.04.03.Cap6inchLegendsThis weekend, everyone’s favorite re-animated World War II super-soldier returns in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, from Marvel Studios. (PLEASE NOTE: THIS OPENING MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.) Having seen a preview of the movie, I won’t give too much away, but suffice it to say, it’s a good time, precisely because the captain faces conflicts that aren’t just fisticuffs. At a certain point, both he—and the other Marvel Comics-based heroes who appear—must decide whether to turn on their own government. Admittedly, it’s not that difficult a choice, since saying no means a terrorist organization descended from the Nazis gets the power to kill millions with the push of a button. But a moral quandary is, nevertheless, a moral quandary, and gives the movie a kind of complexity that isn’t always found in summer blockbusters. (END SPOILERS.)

It also results in a character that kids of all ages can—and should—aspire to become more like. (Did I mention that Captain America also learns to trust his friends? This film’s full of valuable lessons for young ones!) To that end, Hasbro has released an impressive line of Captain America: The Winter Soldier toys and accessories that allow for all kinds of pretend play. Since not every movie protagonist is a fit role model for kids, having found one with product support from the toy industry, I feel it is this column’s responsibility to highlight said product as much as possible. Cap, you’re welcome. [Read more...]

Captain Action Returns to Action, Courtesy of ZICA Toys

CaptainActionZICA Toys and Action Enterprises have teamed up to produce a series of retro, 3.75-inch Captain Action figures, vehicles, and play sets. They will be on sale internationally late this year.

Stan Weston created the original Captain Action figure in 1966 for Ideal Toys. It came equipped with a wardrobe of costumes, allowing Captain Action to become many different heroes such as Batman, The Lone Ranger, and the Green Hornet. The line proved popular that it was expanded to include a sidekick, Action Boy, and villain, Dr. Evil. The first wave of new toys will include Captain Action, Action Boy, Dr. Evil, and the Silver Streak vehicle.

WWE Slam City Launches with Mattel Toy Line

WWESlamCityMattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently launched WWE Slam City, a new kids property that includes a complete line of WWE Slam City merchandise as well as an original animated short-form series co-produced by WWE and Mattel’s Playground Productions. WWE Slam City toys, including action figures, ring sets and more, are currently available at major retail stores. In addition to toys, books and graphic novels will be available by year’s end, while a WWE Slam City mobile game will be in stores next year.

Episodes will be aired on WWESlamCity.com, Cartoonium, and YouTube in addition to TV broadcasts, live events, digital version, and social media. Other platforms include Hulu, Mattel.com, iTunes, and Playstation.

The series was filmed in the next generation of stop-motion animation. A new WWE animated character will fire all of the WWE Superstars and send them to Slam City to find day jobs. The characters, including John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus will have a new lifestyle outside of the ring but will stay true to their personas.

Jazwares’ Gravity Falls Toys to Arrive This Fall

Jazwares.GravityFallsJazwares has created a new Gravity Falls toy line based on the popular Disney TV series. The line-up will include figures, plush, role-play, and play-set toys, and the first wave will see release this fall at retailers across the U.S.

The initial retail focus of the toy line will be in specialty stores nationwide. Currently, Gravity Falls is a top-rated show on Disney Channel among kids ages 2 to 11 and 6 to 11, and tweens ages 9 to 14. It follows the adventures of Dipper and Mabel Pines, twins spending the summer with their eccentric great-uncle Stan in the town of Gravity Falls, Oregon, where things are never as they seem.

Jazwares to Release Minecraft Series 2 Figures

Minecraft-gamesJazwares is expanding its core Minecraft action figure line to feature core-scale figure packs of Diamond Armor Steve, Iron Golem, Blacksmith Villager, and a deluxe Animal Mobs 6-pack.

The Diamond Armor Steve pack will include Steve with removable helmet, diamond sword, and diamond ore block. The Iron Golem pack will come with accessories including a poppy flower and a block of iron, while the Blacksmith Villager pack includes a removable apron and an anvil accessory. Meanwhile, the Animal Mobs 6-pack will include one of each of the following: Cow, Sheep, Tamed Wolf, Pig, Ocelot, and Chicken. The Series 2 items will all be available at retailers this spring.

Activision Partners with Crayola on New Skylanders Products

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair was a welcome sight for Skylanders fans.

Activision Publishing Inc. will be collaborating with Crayola on new products for its popular Skylanders franchise. As a result of the new licensing agreement, Activision and Crayola will introduce a Skylanders-branded line featuring Crayola’s signature Color Wonder, Giant Coloring Pages, and Xtreme Coloring formats. These will be available during the upcoming holiday season.

To date, Skylanders’ licensing portfolio features a total of more than 175 licensees. The recent announcement follows a highly successful 2013 for the toy and video game franchise, which outsold all action figure lines worldwide for the second consecutive year.

Jazwares Melds Super Heroes and Athletes into NBA Heroes

Feb.20.JazwareslogoJazwares has entered a licensing agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to create the first-ever line of NBA Heroes action figures, play sets, and role play toys. The line will be available in both the U.S. and Canada this fall.

These new basketball player-based toys will feature classic action figure attributes fused with super-heroic alter egos. The collection’s tagline helps establish character duality: Stars of the game. Heroes off the court.

NBA Heroes will start its lineup with some of the NBA’s top players, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Deron Williams. Each fully articulated figure will be done in six-inch scale proportionate to each player’s height and build, and the collection will be accompanied by a separate, feature-filled environmental play set.

Mattel, WWE Extend Partnership Until 2019

WWEMattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) will be extending their global master toy licensing agreement through 2019.

Since 2009, Mattel and WWE have developed a diverse portfolio of toys currently available in more than 50 global markets around the world. WWE has ranked as the No. 1 action figure property in the U.S., ranging from FlexForce figures that incorporate signature WWE Superstar moves to plush Brawlin’ Buddies.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with WWE as they expand their global footprint and leverage our global scale to deliver WWE toys to kids around the world,” said Doug Wadleigh, Senior Vice President, Global Brands Marketing, Boys and Entertainment for Mattel.

Jazwares Signs On for Peppa Pig, Flick-To-Stick Bungees

peppa_pigJazwares Inc. has entered a pair of licensing partnerships, including one for the top-ranked program on Nick Jr. for kids ages 2 to 5.

Thanks to a deal with Entertainment One Licensing, the company will serve as the new master toy partner for Peppa Pig. Jazwares will produce products for preschoolers across multiple categories, including plush, plastic figures, dolls, play sets, role-play toys, musical and talking toys, toy vehicles, and bath toys. The first Peppa Pig toy collection is scheduled to launch in mass and specialty retailers nationwide in spring of next year.

Airing seven days a week on Nick Jr., Peppa Pig follows the adventures of Peppa, a loveable, exuberant little piggy who lives with her brother George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig. Globally, the show airs in 180 countries around the world and is translated into 40 languages.

Jazwares is also launching Flick-To-Stick Bungees, a competitive strategy game featuring 96 collectible action figures. Players aim their Bungees at scoring targets and flick their fingers to compete, collect, and potentially win. The action figure line will be enhanced by a Bungee Battleground arena, disk launcher, playing cards, and scoring disks. Flick-To-Stick Bungees, originally created by Barcelona, Spain-based Magic Box Int., will debut this fall.