COMMENTARY: Toys Meet Theme Parks and Resorts, or, How You’ll Be Spending Your Summer Vacations

Legoland Florida Resort

Last week, one of the big news stories around the toy industry was Nintendo entering a deal with Universal Studios to create rides and other attractions for the latter’s theme parks. As reported on The Toy Book Blog, Nintendo’s most famous video game characters and worlds would serve as the inspiration for these soon-to-be immersive experiences. Imagine the possibilities: Kids, and adults, may soon interact with environments straight out of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda, or any of the video game maker’s other hit franchises.

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

StarWarsDisneyInfinity3.0This fall, the Star Wars universe will join Disney, Disney•Pixar, and Marvel in Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition, as announced by Disney Interactive. The latest edition of the video game series will include five Play Sets, new Toy Box expansion games, and fan-favorite characters from across the Walt Disney Company.


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Disney Consumer Products Sets Date for Force Friday, Reveals Packaging Featuring New Star Wars Villain

May4.StarWarsBoxArtForce Friday, a global event for fans of all ages 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.

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Jakks Pacific Reports First Quarter Results

jakks_logoJakks Pacific Inc. reported results for the company’s first quarter ended March 31. Net sales increased 38 percent to $114.2 million, compared to $82.5 million reported in the comparable period last year. The reported net loss for the first quarter was $7.6 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $16.3 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, in the comparable period last year.

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Q&A with Mattel: Social Media, 3-D Printing, and More

logo_Mattel logoThe Toy Book (TTB): In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers?

Mattel: We engage with consumers across all brand and corporate social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as retailer sites, like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s. At Mattel, we have a fully functioning reporting and engineering team dedicated to understanding what the consumer is saying and turning that data into actionable improvements for both our manufacturing and design process.

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American Greetings Hires Karen Vermeulen, Revamps Internal Licensing, Entertainment Teams

ResizedAGPLogoAmerican Greetings Properties (AGP), the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, is revamping its licensing, entertainment, digital, and distribution teams, starting with the hire of former longtime Zodiak Kids executive Karen Vermeulen. Vermeulen joins AGP as its new head of global sales and co-productions, and will initially be based out of London.
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Funko Disney Heroes vs. Villains Mystery Minis Arriving in April

In April, Funko will release Disney Heroes vs. Villains Mystery Minis, a new blind box series made up of six Disney heroes and six Disney villains packaged individually. Each hero in the set has a villain counterpart, e.g., Ariel and Ursula, Anna and Marshmallow, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, etc.

The rarity scale is 1/12, making the chances for each figure roughly equal.

ToyBacker Launches First-Ever Crowdfunding Site Dedicated to the Toy Industry

ToyBacker.com LOGOToyBacker has launched toybacker.com, the first crowd-funding site dedicated solely to the toy industry. The site will serve as a hub for creative toy innovators of all types to share their ideas, gather funding, and bring their products to fruition with the financial support of the consumer. [Read more...]

Q&A with Willie Wilkov, Chief Marketing Officer, Tomy International

Willie Wilkov CMO TOMYThe Toy Book (TTB): Which licenses do you anticipate will be key drivers in 2015?

Willie Wilkov (WW): 2015 is a big year on the license front for Tomy. We are proud to have the opportunity to work with Disney on two new Disney•Pixar movie properties–Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur– as well as the new Disney Junior TV show Miles from Tomorrowland. While we expect these new licenses to be key drivers for us in 2015, we have a portfolio of licensed properties that perform for us year after year, and we are anticipating growth in those brands as well. John Deere is an evergreen brand with a loyal following that is perennially one of our strongest selling lines company-wide. Our partners at Sega and The Pokémon Company International continue to bring new fans into their incredibly popular franchises, Sonic Boom and Pokémon, with fresh, engaging content, giving us so much to work with in our toy development. In the classic play arena, we see both Chuggington Wooden Railway and Chuggington StackTrack continuing to provide that first train experience for kids and growing with them through their love of train and construction play, while Lamaze maintains its stronghold as a leader in the infant developmental toy aisle. [Read more...]

Christine Kelly to Head Toy and Game Initiatives for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing Division

ChristineKellyNational Geographic has named Christine Kelly as its director of licensing, toys, and games for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing division. In this new role, she has been tasked with National Geographic’s toy business—both licensing and strategic retail partnerships. She will oversee marketing, retail strategy and product development, including new franchises. [Read more...]