Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue Line Is Ready to Soar

Planes_fire_rescue_posterWith the hype of summer blockbuster Disney’s Planes: Fire & RescueDisney Consumer Products has released a line of products to celebrate.

The sequel has inspired a vast line of toys, including remote control and interactive toys, accessories, and books. The new products include an infrared deluxe R/C helicopter, the U-Command Fire & Rescue Blade Ranger by Thinkway, which propels itself with help from a wireless remote joystick. The sounds and effects of the new line allow kids to imagine, play, and recreate iconic film moments.

Other licensees for the new line include Mattel, Mobo Cruiser, Huffy, and more. These toys are available in stores as well as online at the Disney Store.

Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue is set to hit theaters on July 18.

Mattel and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Partner Up to Share the Play

logo_Mattel logoMattel and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) have entered into a toy and game donation program to provide children with greater access to play. Called Share the Play, for every online order placed by consumers at Mattel’s online toy stores, Mattel will donate a toy to BGCA. Through the program, up to 250,000 toys will be distributed to BGCA’s nationwide network of 4,100 Clubs.

From now through December 31, every qualifying order made online at mattelshop.com and fisher-pricestore.com will result in a toy donation to BGCA. Mattel will donate a minimum of 200,000 toys to BGCA through the program, with a goal of 250,000 toy donations to the organization.

The donation program builds on a successful multi-year partnership between Mattel and BGCA.

Archie Comics: Let’s Hear It for the Boy Next Door!

By Stuart Fischer

ArchieComicslogoWhen one thinks of the comic book character Archie, one envisions a bright-eyed teenager who has a constant smile on his face, as if he does not have a care in the world. That might be true of this wonderful fictional character, but the company behind him is a hard-working, innovative force: Archie Comic Publications.

Founded in 1939 by Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit, and John L. Goldwater, the name of the company was first MLJ Publications. It was changed a few years later to Archie Comic Publications as a salute to the character that became its greatest success.

MLJ began publishing various titles during the beginning of the comic book industry, most of them humor, although there were also a few adventure series. The company’s first comic was Blue Ribbon Comics, published in November 1939, followed shortly by Pep Comics, which began in January 1940 and introduced The Shield, a patriotic hero who resembled Marvel’s Captain America, who started appearing one year later.

In Pep Comics issue no. 22, published in December 1941, Archie Andrews made his first appearance. The world would never be the same. [Read more...]

Exclusive Pics from 2014 Licensing Expo

Licensing Expo, the annual meeting place for the global licensing industry, occurred last week in Las Vegas. The exhibitors included a number of the top toy companies, which were on-hand showing off upcoming play products and making announcements about new licensing deals.

Check out this exclusive gallery, which features lots of the licensed toys that we’re all sure to be excited about in the months ahead. [Read more...]

Mattel Launches Entrepreneur Barbie to Inspire Girls Everywhere

EntrepreneurBarbieMattel has launched Entrepreneur Barbie, coinciding with real-life female entrepreneurs gracing the cover of Time‘s Most Influential People issue and leading one-in-five start-ups. To celebrate her newest career, Barbie has partnered with a diverse group of female entrepreneurs, including the founders of Girls Who CodeRent the RunwayOne Kings LanePlum AlleyGenuine InsightsSugarfina, and The TomKat Studio.

Girls and parents can explore inspirational tips, career-themed games, and activities at www.barbie.com, and purchase career dolls available at retailers nationwide.

HIT Entertainment Will Produce First Little People Series

imageHIT Entertainment, in collaboration with Fisher-Price, has announced that a new CG-animated series, Little Peopleis now in pre-production and is set to launch late next year. The new series is based on Fisher-Price’s Little People brand, and is being produced out of HIT’s UK content hub.

This is the first collaboration between HIT and Fisher-Price since Mattel acquired HIT in 2012.

The Little People line encourages open-ended, imaginative play among preschoolers, with environments built around familiar people and favorite places such as the zoo and farm. The Little People brand has been the No. 1 property in preschool playsets in the U.S. for the past two years, according to NPD Group data.

Mattel’s Ever After High to Be Netflix Original Series

Netflix and Mattel announce seriesNetflix Inc. and Mattel Inc. will launch an original animated series for kids of all ages based on the popular Mattel franchise, Ever After High. The new series will premiere in all Netflix territories early next year.

“Today’s kids want to watch their favorite characters anywhere and everywhere they are. Netflix is the perfect home for developing and expanding the already enchanting world of Ever After High,” said Michael Riley, vice president franchise development and content distribution at Mattel. “We’re excited to be working with Netflix and for the show to be a part of its growing portfolio of original kids programming.”

The Netflix original series will be preceded by a movie, Ever After High Spring Unsprung, in early 2015. The 12 episodes of the Ever After High series will follow.

Mattel and Warner Bros. Extend Strategic Relationship for DC Comics Universe

Batman EvergreenWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), with DC Entertainment, has extended its alliance with Mattel Inc. with a new multi-year agreement granting Mattel rights to continue as master toy licensee for the DC Comics universe of characters. Under these terms, Mattel is granted unprecedented access to the DC Comics vault of characters, which includes more than a thousand DC Comics superheroes and super-villains, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and The Joker. The deal continues Mattel’s support of DC Comics across its entire portfolio of core brands, including Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Barbie, Mattel Games, and Fisher-Price.

In addition to existing characters and content, the extension includes Mattel’s rights to produce toys based on future DC Comics films, animation, and TV projects that are developed and produced during the term of the agreement. Mattel is set to develop toy lines for two of Warner Bros.’ most highly anticipated theatrical releases: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is set for a summer 2016 release, and the recently announced Justice League film to follow. [Read more...]

Mega Brands, Mattel Donate Over $70,000 to Autism Speaks Canada

DonationMegaMega Brands Inc. has donated $72,000 to Autism Speaks Canada in support of Autism Awareness Month. The donation was presented at the 2014 Walk Now for Autism Speaks event in Montreal, which helps fund autism treatment, education, research, and advocacy throughout the country. Mega Brands was also the local presenting sponsor of the event.

The money was raised during April when Mega Brands pledged to donate one dollar for every Mega Bloks toy sold by Toys “R” Us Canada both in stores and online. This generated over $20,000 in proceeds. Philanthropic donors also contributed $29,000 to the pledge amount.

Mega Brands employees raised an additional $10,000 in donations through bake sales and auctions, an amount that was matched by Mattel.

WBIE Names David Haddad New Executive VP of Publishing

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) has announced a strategic management realignment to position it for growth, with changes designed to increase top-line global revenue and manage the continued digital transformation. This realignment was announced today by Martin Tremblay, president of WBIE.

As part of the management realignment, David Haddad was named to the newly created role of executive vice president of publishing operations and will report to Tremblay. Haddad will be responsible for driving all revenue activities across WBIE’s live and console game businesses as well as supporting the digital transition. Worldwide sales and distribution for console and digital games, digital publishing, live publishing, and business intelligence now report to Haddad.

Haddad most recently served as senior vice president of digital publishing at WBIE, and has held leadership roles at Etoys, Mattel, and The Walt Disney Company.