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.

S-K Victory Launches My Fairy Tale Academy Dolls

My Fairy Tale Academy, the new doll line from S-K Victory in which fairy tale princesses and characters converge in a modern-day high school setting, made its debut at the American International Toy Fair this week. Toting the latest cell phones, designer fashions, and hairstyles, teenage versions of favorite princess characters such as Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty are re-imagined and re-styled in this original contemporary prequel to the classic tales from the original Junior Elf Children’s Books. The line is spearheaded by industry veteran, Ken Price, formerly of Jakks Pacific Inc., and his business partner Scott Coff.    [Read more...]

Cabbage Patch Kids and Jakks Pacific Help Build Voter Awareness

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe 
Biden, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, and Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan are recreated as highly unique and collectible Cabbage Patch Kids that will be auctioned on eBay starting Tuesday, October 30. All proceeds from the auction will go toward engaging and mobilizing political power for young people in the U.S. and will benefit Rock the Vote, a non-partisan, non-profit organization.

exclusive Presidential Kids were created by Jakks Pacific, Inc., to raise awareness of this year’s
election with voters young and old and to celebrate the rich tradition and pop-culture relevance of the lovable and adoptable Cabbage Patch 
Kids. The Presidential Kids will be available for bidding on eBay Giving Works from October 30 to November 6 at cpkauctionforcharity.com.

Jakks Pacific is the master toy licensee for the Cabbage Patch Kids, and a variety of Cabbage Patch Kid products are now available at major retailers nationwide. Visit www.jakks.com for more information.

NantWorks, Jakks Pacific Enter Joint Venture

Jakks Pacific, Inc., and NantWorks, LLC, have entered into agreements to create a joint venture company, DreamPlay Toys, LLC, to develop, market and sell toys and consumer products incorporating NantWorks’ proprietary iD (iDream) image recognition technology.

This technology enables the consumer to instantly link the physical toy to video content, animation, and interactive game play. With the NantWorks’ downloaded iD Browser app, a consumer simply points to the DreamPlay toy or image to activate content on a smart phone or tablet device screen, instantly bringing the toy to life. Jakks Pacific plans to introduce a broad product line, which will combine this technology with new content.

The new line of toy products is expected to be introduced at next month’s Los Angeles Toy Fair and at the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Jakks Pacific will be responsible for the development, marketing, sales, and distribution of toy products using NantWorks’ iD image recognition platform.

Jakks Pacific Partners with NantWorks and Maui Toys

Jakks Pacific, Inc., is partnering with NantWorks, LLC, to incorporate new image recognition technology into select product lines. Jakks will have the exclusive right to arrange for partnerships with other toy companies to make the image recognition platform available to them in the development, sale, and marketing of their toy products. There will be a profit-sharing arrangement for these third-party toy partnerships. DreamPlay Toys, the joint venture overseeing this technology integration, will also include a consumer products division.

Jakks has also announced its acquisition of Maui Toys. Jakks has acquired all of the shares of stock of the privately held toy company as well as its Hong Kong-based affiliate, A.S. Design Limited.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.