Saban Brands’ Power Rangers Celebrate 20 Rangers for 20 Years

PowerRangers.20Rangersfor20YearsA pop-up art exhibit will open this weekend to celebrate Saban BrandsPower Rangers’ 20th anniversary. The exhibition, 20 Rangers for 20 Years, was curated by Sweet Streets and will appear at the Toy Art Gallery in Los Angeles on December 7 to 8.

Artists and designers from around the world created the painted, 31-inch Ranger statues that were provided by Saban’s partner, Jakks Pacific. Each customized Ranger statue will be available for purchase on-site or online at shop.toyartgallery.com during the event.

Music by Iheartcomix DJs Franki Chan and $u$pect will be featured, and a percentage of artwork proceeds will benefit the Challengers Boys & Girls Club. Jakks Pacific will also make a donation to the Challengers Boys & Girls Club as well. Bandai America Inc., Power Rangers’ master toy partner, will provide Super Megaforce toys.

The gallery will also host a Power Rangers pop-up shop that will feature products for purchase from Mishka, Buckle Down, Acme Archives, and more.

COMMENTARY: Disney’s Frozen Toys Will Melt Your Heart

The thing that I like most about Disney’s Frozen was that it played with the idea of a typical Disney Princess movie. It touches on the idea of falling in love and being engaged within hours of meeting each other and changes the way the audience thinks about typical princesses and princes. There is, of course, a curse that’s lifted by “an act of true love,” but this act comes from (spoiler alert!) one of sisterly love rather than romantic love. A lot of the plot is focuses on the two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa, and the animation is so spectacular as it brings this truly magical story to life.

To go along with this great movie, Mattel has introduced an entire line of toys that capture the lively, magical spirit of Frozen. With quirky characters (Olaf!), Frozen quickly becomes a new Disney favorite, and the toys are sure to have the same effect on any toy box.

MusicalDollsOne of my favorite toys from this line is the Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls. These dolls feature glittery and glamorous gowns, but I think also do a fantastic job of capturing the familial bonds that are so important to the movie’s story. When kids hold the dolls hands, the dolls hold each other’s hands, OR you create a circle of humans and dolls holding hands, Anna and Elsa magically light up and play enchanting music. [Read more...]

Jakks Pacific Launches miWorld Featuring Real Retail Companies

Jakks.DairyQueenJakks Pacific Inc. has collaborated with established consumer products and retail companies, including Claire’s, Dairy Queen, and Sprinkles Cupcakes, to launch a new line of mini play environments called miWorld. The first assortment will consist of five sets, which kids can collect and fill with realistic miniatures of food, make-up, candy, accessories, and clothing, creating a mall of their very own.

The miWorld line will feature compatibility with the miWorld DreamPlay app, which utilizes iD recognition technology to recognize 2-D images and 3-D objects, bringing miWorld playsets to life on iOS smartphone and tablet devices. The app was developed and published by DreamPlay Toys LLC, a joint venture between Jakks Pacific and NantWorks LLC.

With the free miWorld app, kids have two ways to play with miWorld toys: Within the app, they can customize the look of their miWorld avatar, shop at virtual stores, change the outfits and accessories of their avatar, and more. Kids can also interact with their avatar and the physical play set on their device screen through “hotspots” showcased in the app, which can lead to surprises.

The miWorld line will be available at Walmart stores in December and at Toys “R” Us and other major retailers next year.

Disney Releases New Frozen Product Collection

FrozenproductsTo commemorate the release of Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ film Frozen, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) will release a diverse new product collection of role-play items, plush stuffed animals, dolls, and more. These products are available now from Mattel, Just Play, and other licensees at mass retailers nationwide, as well as at Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.

Disney’s Frozen chronicles the epic quest of fearless Anna to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Highlights from Disney’s Frozen product line include:

  • Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls, from Mattel: When kids hold their hands—or when they hold each other’s hands—the dolls magically light up and play enchanting music.
  • Disney Frozen Pull Apart and Talkin’ Olaf, from Just Play: Olaf’s nose, head, and torso all temporarily separate and then safely rejoin, recreating memorable moments from the film. Plush Olaf also says funny phrases from the movie.
  • Frozen Rolling Travel Trunk, from Jakks Pacific: Kids can dress up like Anna and Elsa with two beautiful dresses and tons of accessories, then pack everything up and roll the trunk to their next destination.
  • Frozen Storybook Deluxe, from Disney Publishing: In Disney Publishing’s digital Storybook Deluxe app, Elsa and Anna retell the animated feature Frozen from two points of view.
  • Frozen: A Sister More Like Me by Disney Publishing: A jacketed picture book featuring an original story about Anna and Elsa, as well as illustrations by one of the artists who worked on the film.
  • Frozen Big Golden Book by Random House: An illustrated hardcover Big Golden Book based on the film, suitable for kids ages 3 to 7.

DreamPlay Toys Launches The Little Mermaid Toy App

Ariel's Musical SurpriseDreamPlay Toys LLC, the joint venture between NantWorks LLC and Jakks Pacific Inc., has launched the Ariel’s Musical Surprise app on the iTunes app store. The app, developed by DreamPlay Toys and published by Disney, uses NantWorks’ patented iD recognition technology to instantly recognize each DreamPlay app-enabled Little Mermaid toy.

Through a smartphone or tablet device, kids can participate in interactive play that seems like magic. The launch of the app follows the release of The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition on Blu-ray, and when the app is played with select Little Mermaid toys from Jakks Pacific, Ariel’s underwater world from the film comes to life. Children can explore, paint, decorate, and create music for a unique experience.

The DreamPlay app-enabled Little Mermaid toys include Ariel Musical Light-Up Feature Dress, Musical Instrument Set, Magical Mermaid Kitchen, and Ariel Keyboard Vanity.

Voting Opens for 2014 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees

HallofFame2014logoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has opened its annual ballot to determine the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The voting period will extend to September 13. This year’s candidates were chosen from a slate of 24 highly-qualified nominees submitted for consideration by members of the Hall of Fame (HOF) Committee. All of the nominees left notable marks on the North American toy industry.

Living candidates for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:

  •     Jill Barad, former CEO, Mattel
  •     Horst Brandstätter, president and sole owner, PLAYMOBIL/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG
  •     Thomas Chan, chairman and CEO, Playmates Toys Inc.
  •     Joel Glickman, founder, K’NEX Brands
  •     Bruce Raiffe, president, Gund, division of Enesco, LLC

Candidates for posthumous induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:

Responses are due by September 13. Designated points of contact at TIA member companies, former Hall of Fame inductees, and recent TIA Board members are invited to rank their choices in the living and posthumous categories.

The inductees will be honored during the Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards ceremony on February 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which officially launches Toy Fair Week in New York City.

Jakks Pacific Signs Motocross Star Ryan Dungey for Action Figures

jakksJakks Pacific Inc. has signed motocross star Ryan Dungey to its growing roster of top motocross athletes in its MXS toy line. Dungey is an accomplished rider who has represented the U.S. in the Motocross of Nations race and was the Transworld Motocross Rider of the Year last year. Under the licensing agreement, Jakks plans to create action figures and accessories based on Dungey, which are scheduled to be available at retailers nationwide in November.

Jakks’ MXS toy line is a brand of motocross toys, delivering the top riders, authentic motocross bikes, and the biggest names in motocross apparel and motorcycle manufacturers. Jakks’ MXS product line includes miniature performance bikes with real sound effects, fully articulated rider figures with removable helmets and accessories, stunt bikes that capture the best stunts in the sport, customizable collectible bikes, and R/C bikes. The deal between Jakks and Dungey was brokered by IMG.

Disney Consumer Products Expands Sofia The First Retail Availability

Talking Sofia and Animal Friends, from Mattel

Talking Sofia and Animal Friends, from Mattel

Disney Consumer Products launched the previously online-only Sofia the First products at retailers nationwide this month. The line includes Sofia’s iconic dress and amulet necklace, home décor bedding and bath accessories, apparel, as well as an assortment of dolls, plush, and a castle.

Highlights from the new product line include:

Talking Sofia and Animal Friends by MattelWearing her special amulet from the King and signature princess gown, the talking Sofia doll can recognize and talk with three of her best animal friends: Clover the Rabbit, Robin the Robin, and Mia the Bluebird.

Magical Talking Castle by Mattel: When girls place Sofia or Clover the Rabbit on the castle’s special base, they can hear phrases said in each character’s voice. Other dolls and figures from across the line unlock even more character phrases.

Transforming Dress and Magical Amulet by Jakks Pacific: The Sofia the First Transforming Dress features two dresses in one and comes with a free collectible magic lesson card to use with the interactive talking magical amulet, which features the voice of Sofia and teaches little girls valuable princess lessons about kindness, sharing, and manners. The talking magical amulet comes with 12 collectible cards.

[Read more...]

COMMENTARY: This Summer’s Cinema Gets Cuddly

With the release of The Smurfs 2, Despicable Me 2, and Monsters University this summer, the movie theater will be a great destination for rainy days – and those days that are just too hot. With summer blockbusters come, of course, summer toys based on these movies to bring the movie worlds to life for fans. When it comes down to it, some of the best toys from these franchises are the simplest: plush toys. Plush toys allow kids to bring home new friends in cuddly, soft versions of their favorite characters. Bring the movie characters to life with these great plush products from your favorite summer movie:

54008Smurfs_Movie_Basic_Plush_SmurfetteJakks Pacific will introduce a line of 11-inch plush based on the characters from The Smurfs 2. With 12 characters to collect, kids can bring home their favorite friends from Smurfette to Grouchy to Papa Smurf. These Smurf plush toys aren’t just for fans of the new movie, but also for Smurf fans of all ages. [Read more...]

Spring Sales Lead Slugterra Toy Line into Fall Expansion

press_still-Blakk_vs_EliKids all over the U.S. will soon be able to add to their slugslinging arsenal as a new range of Slugterra toys from Jakks Pacific hits shelves this fall. Based on the animated series produced by Nerd Corps Entertainment and currently airing on Disney XD, the expansion will see action figures, vehicles, stretchy slug flyers, and plush added to the current line of collectible slug figures and blasters with unique transforming darts. International rollout of the line will begin in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America this fall.

Jakks Pacific is bringing more retailers on board this fall to support the line expansion. Worldwide, Jakks plans to coordinate the distribution of the product line to land at retail shortly after the series launches in each market.

The Emmy-nominated Slugterra launched on Disney XD in the U.S. in October, and quickly resonated with its core demographic of boys ages 6 to 11. Home video from Shout! Factory hit shelves in the U.S. in February, with a second volume slated for release this summer, and T‐shirts from Hybrid Apparel and sleepwear and socks from MadDog Concepts are set for a fall release. Internationally, Nerd Corps has been busy signing on agents and licensees to help support the toy rollout and global merchandising and licensing of the brand.  

Kids are involved in the world of collecting and slinging at an interactive level as well, with the iOS game Slug it Out! for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch consistently ranking in the top 20 puzzle games in the App Store worldwide, and flash games Battle for Slugterra and Slug Run accumulating well over eight million plays to date.