COMMENTARY: Licensed Figures? Not the Easiest Business to Figure Out

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Groot Premium Motion statue, from Factory Entertainment Inc.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Groot Premium Motion statue, from Factory Entertainment Inc.

A few months ago, I wrote a commentary about trends occurring in the world of licensed action figures. Since then, I worked on a longer piece for The Licensing Book, the sister publication of The Toy Book, looking at the process in between attaining a license for a movie, TV show, etc., and the production of the final toy. Licensed collectible figures was a fascinating subject to write about, and I am eternally grateful to all of the toy company officials who took time out of their busy lives to answer my unending barrage of (mostly) annoying questions.

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Activision Blizzard Announces 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.

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Diamond Select Busts Out New Figure Based on Hulkbuster Armor

Diamond Select Toys and marvelshop.com have teamed up to offer an exclusive figure based on the Hulkbuster armor from Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. First appearing in Iron Man No. 304, released in 1994, the Iron Man Mk 14 Hulkbuster armor was an add-on to Tony Stark’s modular armor, and would allow him to stop the Hulk from tearing apart a factory manufacturing gamma bombs.

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DC Collectibles to Release Justice League: Gods & Monsters Action Figures

DC Collectibles will launch a new 6-inch action figure line based on the upcoming direct-to-video DC Universe animated film, Justice League: Gods & Monsters. The first wave of figures will consist of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and will be available in stores this fall.

The official trailer, featuring Justice League: Gods & Monsters producer and animator Bruce Timm, includes a preview of the action figure line:

Retail Toy Sales Up 4 Percent on Building Sets, Electronics, Frozen, Says NPD Group

NPDGrouplogoAccording to retail sales data from The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $18.08 billion last year compared to $17.46 billion in 2013, an increase of 4 percent.

Retail sales over the 2014 holiday shopping season got off to a bumpy start, with the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday experiencing mixed results of -2 percent and 1 percent (compared to the same time periods in 2013). However, with one extra shopping day the week of Christmas compared to last year, Christmas week grew 27 percent, lifting December growth to 6 percent. Meanwhile, fourth quarter sales were up 3 percent for the 13 weeks starting October 5 through the week ending January 3. [Read more...]

FremantleMedia Signs Master Toy Deal with Jazwares for Tree Fu Tom

Jazwares,TreeFuJazwares has signed the master toy rights for FremantleMedia Kids & Family Entertainment’s pre-school series, Tree Fu Tom. Under the terms of the deal, Jazwares will take on the role of global manufacturer and distribute a new range of toys in the UK, Asia, North America, and Latin America. A variety of distributors will manage the range in other key territories. [Read more...]

Tomy and Disney Consumer Products Team Up for Disney∙Pixar’s Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur

InsideOut,JoyToday, Disney Consumer Products unveiled exclusive details about the new global toy lines for DisneyPixar’s Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, debuting theatrically in the U.S. on June 19, and November 25, respectively. Both movies will feature toy lines from licensee Tomy.

Tomy’s toy line for Inside Out will include poseable character figures with light-up features, and all of the toys allow for self-expression and re-creation of key movie moments. The toy range for The Good Dinosaur appeals to kids of all ages, for both action figure play and more sophisticated remote control walking and talking. The unique characteristics of the film’s dinosaurs, such as how they move and run, are reflected in the toy line. [Read more...]

Jakks Pacific Renews Global Toy License for Slugterra

slugterraJakks Pacific has extended its contract for the hit boys action property Slugterra from Nerd Corps Entertainment Inc. The toy manufacturer’s Slugterra toy line launched in the U.S. in February of 2013, several months after the series’ premiere in October of 2012.

Originally consisting of collectible slug figures, blasters, and darts, Jakks Pacific has since expanded the line to include human action figures, vehicles, plush, and stretchy velocimorph flyers. New styles of blasters and darts, as well as several waves of new slug figures have also been introduced.

To date, Jakks Pacific’s Slugterra toys have launched in dozens of countries, and the inclusion of exclusive game codes for Nerd Corps’ online Slugterra games and mobile game, Slug It Out!, will soon be implemented globally. The fourth wave of slug figures is slated to arrive at Toys “R” Us across the U.S. this fall, accompanied by a Toys “R” Us-exclusive 10-pack of the second wave of slugs.

Nerd Corps recently announced a green light for a third season of Slugterra, slated to begin rolling out next summer. Jakks Pacific, meanwhile, will introduce new waves of toys through next year.

Playmates Toys Adds Bebop and Rocksteady to TMNT Action Figure Line

BeBop_HI RockSteady_HINickelodeon and Playmates Toys have launched Bebop and Rocksteady action figures based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters. The figures will be available in mid-November exclusively at Wal-Mart.

The 5-inch action figures are fully articulated and sculpted to capture the personalities of the popular duo. Each figure is equipped with unique accessories and is compatible with most of the vehicles and play sets in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line. Bebop, a pig-headed mutant, features a bright purple Mohawk, X-ray glasses, and comes ready to battle with his weapon accessories. Rocksteady, a mutated rock-headed Rhino and the brains behind the duo, is ready to hunt down the Turtles with his hammer-and-sickle weapon accessories.

The villainous duo will make their return to TV this January as part of the third season of Nickelodeon’s CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

Tomy Debuts New Sonic Boom Toy Line at Toys “R” Us

SonicBoomlogoA new Sonic Boom toy line, from global master toy partner Tomy International, is now available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and at toysrus.com. The line will feature items across best-selling categories including plush, action figures, R/C, vehicles, and more, and will include a 12-inch talking plush and the Sonic Boom Launcher. Additional products will become available next year.