The last of Dynacraft’s Experiments in Fun events is scheduled to take place in Portland on Saturday. For one day only, kids are invited to wheel over to Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to find a biker-themed pop-up juice joint, set inside a fully transformed shipping container complete with a temporary tattoo parlor and a karaoke stage.
This article first appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of The Toy Book.
Barnes & Noble is the largest retail bookseller in the U.S., with nearly 650 stores nationwide, as well as a thriving web presence. But in recent years, the bookstore chain has also been expanding its non-book offerings, balancing out shelves of New York Times bestsellers with educational toys, games, and collectibles.
Last Thursday, Mattel Inc. reported third quarter financial results, including net income of $331.8 million for the quarter, or $0.97 per share. This includes a negative impact of $0.05 per share from Mega Brands integration costs and a tax benefit of $0.04 per share. This compares to last year’s third quarter net income of $422.8 million, or $1.21 per share, which included a tax benefit of $0.05 per share.
For the quarter, net sales were $2.02 billion, down 8 percent compared to $2.21 billion last year, while on a regional basis, third quarter gross sales decreased 7 percent in the North American region. For the international region, gross sales decreased 7 percent, including an unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point. [Read more...]
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has set the release date for Monster High: Clawsome Double Feature, a brand-new double feature for Monster High. The double feature will be released as a Blu-ray Combo Pack, including Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with Ultraviolet on July 1.
The movie features Monster High: Escape from Skull Shores and Monster High: Fright On!, including Monster High characters Frankie Stein, Clawdeen Wolf, and Draculaura.
For the first quarter, worldwide gross sales for Mattel girls and boys brands were $656.9 million, down 5 percent versus the previous year. This included a decline in worldwide gross sales for the Barbie brand of 14 percent. Worldwide gross sales for Mattel’s other girls brands increased 4 percent on the strength of Disney Princess and Ever After High, partially offset by Monster High. [Read more...]
The fourth direct-to-DVD Monster High release, Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! is now available at retailers. Centered on Draculaura, the film introduces new ghouls Elissabat, Honey Swamp, Viperine Gorgon, and Clawdia Wolf.
Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! is being accompanied by a line of new character themed dolls.
When Monster High‘s Draculaura is led to believe she’s the rightful heir to the vampire throne, she and her best ghoulfriends are whisked away to Transylvania for a royal coronation to die for. But they soon discover the hunt for the queen is not over yet. The Ghouls must locate an ancient artifact known as the Vampire’s Heart in order to discover the identity of the true Vampire Queen. Mattel‘s new line of Monster High: Frights, Camera Action! dolls features Hauntlywood versions of favorite glam ghouls ready for their Black Carpet debut. The dolls feature “gore-geous” accessories.
The film is an adventure that will lead them from the Tower of Londoom, to a haunted river boat in New Goreleans and finally to the glamorous boo-vie lots of Hauntlywood. Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! comes to Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet on March 25, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
According to retail sales data from The NPD Group, year to date through October, the doll category is entering the holiday season with dollar sales up 1 percent compared to year ago. The Fashion Themed Dolls segment is the main driver of this growth with year-over-year sales growth of 6 percent through October.
This increase is due not only to several new brands such as My Little Pony Equestria Girls and Sofia The First, but also growth in some of last year’s more popular brands, including Monster High, Doc McStuffins, and Lalaloopsy.
Within dolls, other subclasses that have experienced strong growth are Fashion Styling & Dressup and Fashion Themed Clothes, which include items such as Monster High Fashion Sets and Barbie Ultimate Closet.
The following lists the Top 15 Fashion Doll items for the last 13 weeks ending November 9, ranked on dollar sales and in alphabetical order:
- Barbie Feature Horse, from Mattel
- Disney Sparkle Princess Asst, from Mattel
- Holiday Barbie 2013, from Mattel
- Lalaloopsy Asst, from MGA Entertainment
- Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Asst, from MGA Entertainment
- Monster High 13 Wishes Asst, from Mattel
- Monster High Catty Noir Friday The 13th, from Mattel
- Monster High Classroom 2 Pack Doll Asst, from Mattel
- Monster High Dance Class Dolls Asst, from Mattel
- Monster High Doll Asst, from Mattel
- Monster High Music Festival Asst, from Mattel
- Monster High Scaris Asst, from Mattel
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls Asst, from Hasbro Toys
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls Deluxe Doll With Accessories Asst, from Hasbro Toys
- Sofia The First Talking Sofia And Animal Friends, from Mattel
Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.
Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).
Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.
Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?
The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.
The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?
It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.
Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.
The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.
For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.
That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.