China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Role Play Toys Engage Kids in Superhero Action

It’s no secret that kids are extremely influenced by the characters they see in movies and on TV. Superheroes are particularly influential, with their mankind-saving tendencies and super-human abilities. The best thing about superheroes is that they appeal to kids and adults alike, since many of the iconic superheroes we know and love have been around for decades. Fisher-Price’s DC Super Friends line is geared toward kids as young as 3 years old, and Lego will introduce DC characters into its Duplo line for the first time this year. While play sets and building blocks are popular play patterns for kids and adding their favorite superheroes to the mix is a great way to get kids excited, the toys that make kids feel like they are becoming their favorite superhero are some of the most engaging toys on the market.

Everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is now back on the block with new enemies. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened in theaters Friday, May 2, and now kids can take home all of the web-slinging action, thanks to Hasbro’s intense line of role-play and action figure toys.

Marissa.May13.Hasbro.SPIDER-MAN-MOTORIZED-SPIDER-FORCE-WEB-BLASTERWith the wrist-mounted Motorized Spider Force Web Blaster, kids can fire foam discs featuring web embellishments up to 20 feet with rapid speed. Each Motorized Spider Force Web Blaster comes with 10 Nerf foam discs that can be stored in the storage compartment on the top of the toy so they won’t get lost. Don’t worry—the foam discs are harmless and don’t hurt if you get hit with them. Designed for kids ages 5 and up, kids can take on any villain with this fun role-play toy. I should also note—it’s unbelievably fun for adults, too (especially if you have kids around willing to scoop up the discs for you). Just don’t let the name fool you—there are no messy webs with this product, just soft, foam discs! [Read more...]

PlayCon 2014 Agenda Includes Speakers from The NPD Group, Google/YouTube, and More

A number of educational topics related to the toy industry will be explored at PlayCon, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) International Conference of Play Professionals, scheduled to take place May 7 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The May 8 program includes a keynote address delivered by Doug Van Andel, executive creative director at global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi; a case study presented by Michael Moynihan, vice president of marketing at Lego Systems Inc.; a two-part session by The NPD Group focused on the latest sales data; a presentation entitled “The Broader World of Play,” from Katie Rottier, head of U.S. industry, sports & toys, at Google/YouTube; and more. [Read more...]

TinkerBots Launches New Robot-Building Construction Line

TinkerBotsTinkerBots is a building set that enables kids ages 5 and up to create an endless number of toy robots without wiring or programming. The set includes “Power Brain” and kinetic modules, which easily twist and snap together along with other TinkerBots pieces, adding movement and interest to whatever robot is built.

TinkerBots is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com to offer parents the opportunity to pre-order a TinkerBots robot building set, and to support the production of a toy that introduces robotics and STEM concepts to kids in the form of play. The toys are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year. [Read more...]

New Simpsons Lego Minifigures to Be Available in Time for Themed Episode

SimpsonsLegoA line of 16 Simpsons licensed Lego minifigures will be available in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the television series, The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products will launch the collection in May at major toy retailers. A special Lego episode of The Simpsons will premiere May 4th on Fox.

This will mark the first time a licensed Lego minifigures line will be sold in a series.

COMMENTARY: Animation Has Long Been a Promotional Vehicle for Toys

BrandonEngel1by Brandon Engel

You’ve likely heard about the massive success of The Lego Movie, and maybe you were even one of the millions worldwide who have gone to see it. Despite its financial success, some have blasted the film for essentially being a glorified, expensive commercial for Legos. I don’t think that anyone can deny that The Lego Movie is obviously commercially motivated, but does that make it wrong? Is it all that different from children’s movies selling toys based on the film?

BrandonEngel2Last Christmas, the Frozen Castle Playset and matching Barbie dolls from the Disney film Frozen were at the top of many children’s lists for Santa. Every time a commercial appeared for the movie or the toy, they advertised each other. Is The Lego Movie any different just because the toy existed before the movie? Here is the bigger question: In an age where almost no image is spared licensing of some form, where does the line get drawn between entertainment and commercial? [Read more...]

Regal Entertainment Hosts Exclusive Giveaway Celebrating The Lego Movie

Feb3.LegoRegal Entertainment Group will give away a Limited Edition Lego Minifigure to Regal Crown Club Members at all RealD 3-D Regal locations playing The Lego Movie. Regal guests who purchase a ticket to the 3-D movie will receive one “Pyjamas Emmet” minifigure per transaction at the box office while supplies last. 

The movie follows Emmet, an ordinary minifigure, as he tries to save the world when he is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person. The Lego Movie is the first full-length theatrical Lego adventure and will be released in theaters on February 7.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Brings Godzilla-Sized List of Licensees to Toy Fair

WB Consumer ProductsWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) enters this year’s American International Toy Fair with an extensive lineup of global licensees in support of its entertainment properties, milestone anniversaries, and upcoming theatrical releases.

Bandai America Inc. and Jakks Pacific Inc. will each support Godzilla, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, with new toy lines. Jakks’ line of Godzilla products will include an Ultimate Large Scale Godzilla Figure with 12 points of articulation and a length of over 43 inches, making it one of the largest toys in Godzilla history. Other worldwide partners include Rubie’s Costume Co., NECA, and Sideshow Collectibles.

WBCP’s toy partners will also release toys and collectibles based on The Hobbit Trilogy. The Bridge Direct and Vivid Group will support the film series with new figures. Additional partners include Eaglemoss, Funko, Kosmos, and Ravensburger.

The Wizard of Oz will celebrate its 75th anniversary with Mattel‘s new line of dolls for The Wizard of Oz Barbie collection. Enesco, Tonner Doll, and Madame Alexander will each offer collectible figures. Warner Bros. will also continue its There’s No Place Like Home campaign in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Gone with the Wind will also mark its 75th anniversary with new collectible figures from Madame Alexander and Tonner Doll. Mattel will offer an anniversary Barbie collection and Enesco will introduce a stone resin figure. [Read more...]

Lego Mixels Mix Things Up

Jan29.MixelsLego Mixels is a new series of buildable toys that create fun collectible characters that leverage the versatility and creativity of the Lego building system. Mixels are colorful creatures that belong to different tribes, each based around a unique element. Set to debut in stores on March 1, Lego Mixels are batched in tribes, such as Frosticons, Infernites, Stretchers, Cragsters, Electroids, and the Fang Gang. Kids will be able to mix and combine the Lego Mixels using the mysterious Cubits, resulting in new characters and further immersion in the Mixels universe.

The Mixels franchise will also debut on multiple screens and digital platforms next month.

Toys “R” Us Brings Lego Movie Anticipation to Life

Jan20.ToysRUsToys “R” Us has created nearly 20 movie-inspired products in anticipation for the first feature length Lego film. These new items, coming to Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and on toysrus.com/lego, will be available from January 30 through March. The products will be showcased in feature shops in Toys “R” Us stores, including play sets that replicate adventures from the movie, minifigures, and vehicles. Fans can join Emmet, an ordinary Lego minifigure, on his quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from gluing the universe together.

Toys “R” Us will also host an in-store event and offer additional gifts with Lego product purchases. On February 8, stores nationwide will host an event from noon to 2 p.m., where participants can construct and take home Emmet’s car. Customers can also try out the new The Lego Movie Nintendo 2DS video game. There will also be two raffle contests at the event and the prizes will be a $10 Toys “R” Us Gift Card and the Lord Business’ Evil Lair construction set. In addition, beginning on February 2, customers who make a $50 or more Lego construction purchase in-store will receive a complementary ticket to see The Lego Movie in theaters.

The Lego Movie will be in theaters beginning February 7.

The Lego Group, FCP Launch The Simpsons-Branded Lego Set

Jan13.SimpsonsThe Lego Group has partnered with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products (FCP) to produce a construction set and licensed Lego minifigures inspired by the TV series The Simpsons. Fox will also air a special Lego episode of The Simpsons in May coinciding with the new products. The episode will feature the cast in Lego form.

The construction set will recreate the Simpsons’ family house, including the characters Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and Ned Flanders. It is set to launch in February in Lego stores and the Lego Shop at Home catalog and website. A separate line of 16 Lego The Simpsons minifigures will launch at mass toy retailers in May.