COMMENTARY: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Flying Superman Toys!

For decades, Superman has captured our imagination with his powers, one of the best-known being flight. Yet not many toys have focused on this aspect of Superman to create something fun and exciting. Luckily, thanks to this summer’s Man of Steel movie, The Toy Book received quite a few Superman items, some of which made good on the promise of taking playtime to new heights. I’m happy to share these flight-centric toys with you.

Superman Man of Steel Flight Speeders: Solar Force Launcher: “Faster than a speeding bullet” is often used to describe just how fast Superman is. Thanks to Mattel‘s Solar Force Launcher, he doesn’t travel quite that fast, but he’s fast enough, and can traverse a decent distance when he comes soaring out of this lightweight toy, which resembles an alien spaceship from Man of Steel. The cockpit on top swings open to allow any 3.75-inch Superman figure from Mattel to be placed inside. However, in the event that there’s an emergency at the far end of the backyard, pressing the plunger shoots a Superman foam figure in trouble’s direction. Superman launcher [Read more...]

MBE launches Man of Steel Toy Range

Super Man ToysWith the release of Warner Bros.Man of Steel, MBE launches a range of toys based on the movie, including Interactive Superman with remote control, U-command Kryptonian cycle with remote control, Kryptonian armor sword and accessories, Kryptonian gauntlet scanner launcher, Kryptonian gauntlet disc launcher, Kryptonian Earth gear, and Kryptonian armor utility belt with accessories. All the toys are for kids ages 4 and up.

The Interactive Superman and the U-command Kryptonian cycle come with an infrared remote control to activate the animated body language, voice, and sound effects. The cycle has light-up wheels and its movements are controlled through the joysticks on the wireless remote control. The control buttons can be used to pre-program the actions, sound, and voice effects. The remote comes with more than 1,000 possible action combination sequences. [Read more...]

Walmart Partners with Warner Bros. for Man of Steel Screening and Promotion

Walmart_MOS_TicketsWalmart has partnered with Warner Bros. for an advance screening of the Man of Steel film, which will take place in selected local theaters nationwide at 7 p.m. on June 13. Tickets can be purchases at more than 3,700 Walmart locations nationwide. In addition to being the first to see Man of Steel, Walmart customers can also take advantage of special offers. Each ticket bought at Walmart will feature a code on the back that allows customers to pre-order their own Blu-ray Combo Pack or HD Digital Download of Man of Steel, which will contain exclusive film content.

Fans can bring Superman to life with the official Man of Steel Experience augmented reality app. The app allows customers to take photos with the superhero, as well as unlock special photo frames by pointing their phone at Man of Steel signage in their local Walmart. The app is available at the App Store and on Google Play.

Customers will receive a free original Digital Comic Book written by Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer with every ticket.

For more information and to view the selected theaters visit walmart.com/ManofSteel.

Man of Steel Toys and Promotions Soar into Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Restaurants

Carls_Outboard_4C694924_Hardees_OutLOGO

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, and Warner Bros. Pictures announced a promotional partnership for the theatrical release of Man of Steel, in theaters June 14. The upcoming promotion includes advertising, in-restaurant merchandising, online marketing, collectors’ cups, kids-meal toys, and a still-secret new burger.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary PicturesMan of Steel stars Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman. A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

Catch the latest “Man of Steel” details on Carl’s Jr.’s and Hardee’s’ Facebook pages (www.facebook.com/carlsjr and www.facebook.com/hardees) and Twitter feeds (www.twitter.com/carlsjr and www.twitter.com/hardees).

COMMENTARY: Construction Toys Capitalize on Upcoming Blockbusters

Lego Metropolis Showdown, based on Man of Steel film

Lego Metropolis Showdown, based on the upcoming Man of Steel film

I’m a huge sucker for blockbuster films. I also love construction toys. So you can image my excitement at the American International Toy Fair last month when I discovered that many of this year’s big films will also make their way to the construction toy aisle.

Construction is one of the healthiest categories in the toy industry right now. According to the NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, building sets saw a 23 percent increase in sales from 2011 to 2012. The next closest category of growth (and it’s not even that close) was arts and crafts with 8 percent. A lot of this, of course, had to do with the success of Lego Friends last year. I think it’s safe to say we can expect Lego’s competitors—Mega Brands and Hasbro—to attempt to capitalize on this new boon.

Here are a few of the construction toys I’m excited about that are based on or capitalizing on upcoming films:

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Kre-O G.I. Joe Ninja Temple Battle Construction Set

Kre-O G.I. Joe Ninja Temple Battle

In theaters tomorrow, G.I. Joe: Retaliation finds the G.I. Joes framed as enemy traitors and fighting for their survival against a shadow U.S. President. Channing Tatum (Duke) and Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow) are reprising their roles from the first film, while new cast members such as Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson (Roadblock) and Bruce Willis (Gen. Colton) will add some extra star power. Hasbro’s Kre-O brand last month launched a whole line of G.I. Joe construction sets and micro-figures based on Hasbro’s own G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero property. While not based on the new film, it’s particularly well-timed. The Kre-O G.I. Joe Cobra Armored Assault Construction Set features a buildable tank and a 4×4 vehicle along with three Cobra figures. I’m a big Storm Shadow fan, so I’m also stoked about the Kre-O G.I. Joe Ninja Temple Battle Construction Set.

The Smurfs 2

Smurfette's House

Smurfette’s House

Set for release this summer, The Smurfs 2 will introduce several new characters including some not-so-nice Smurf-like creatures known as the Naughties. The little blue guys find Smurfette has been kidnapped in a plot to turn the evil Naughties into real Smurfs. Christina Ricci lends her voice as Vexy, one of the Naughties. And Katy Perry (yes, that Katy Perry) reprises her role as Smurfette. Mega Brands will release building sets and adorable figures based on the classic The Smurfs property this spring. While not based on the film, these toys seem well-timed. Smurfette’s House is a fully buildable mushroom house playset. The pink and violet two-story mushroom house includes a buildable bed, a makeup table with mirror, and a living room set. I’m stoked on the Racin’ Smurfs set, which includes two buildable racing cars, two Smurfs, obstacles, and a winner’s podium.

The Lone Ranger

Lego Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape

Lego Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape

While Lego has some great DC Universe building sets just in time for the upcoming Man of Steel film, I’m more excited about Lego’s The Lone Ranger sets tied to the new Disney film, The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp will play the Native American warrior Tonto, and Lego nails it with its Tonto micro-figure—it has Johnny Depp smeared all over it. The Lego Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape features a buildable Western stagecoach with horses and micro-figures (yes, Tonto is included). Word among the Lego folks at Toy Fair was that Disney loved the Lego stagecoach designs so much that they wrote a stagecoach chase into the film just so the item could be part of the line. It’s that awesome.

For more commentary from Loren, check back each Wednesday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Debuts Worldwide Man of Steel Toy Program

Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) zooms into this year’s American International Toy Fair season with a roster of global licensees ready to support the studio’s portfolio, led by this summer’s tentpole film release Man of Steel, which will be supported by DC Comics master toy licensee Mattel, as well as many other toy partners.  [Read more...]