Funko Marches Out Pop! Vinyl for Penguins of Madagascar

Funko is rolling out four new characters in their Pop! Vinyl line of figures based on the Penguins of Madagascar movie. Each of the penguins–Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private–will be available for purchase in February.

Penguins of Madagascar is coming to theaters on Thanksgiving, where the troublesome quartet will work undercover to stop the evil Dr. Octavius Brine from destroying the world.

Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2015 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards

TOTY2015logoToday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the 83 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY). Between now and January 11, toy consumers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for their favorite toys, games, and properties across 12 categories.

The 2015 finalists were selected from more than 600 nominees submitted for consideration by 159 companies. Sixty academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists.

Votes from mass retailers, specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers will be weighted and used to determine each of the 12 category winners. The winners—including the overall Toy of the Year and the People’s Choice awards—will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony held on February 13, 2015 as the kick-off to the 112th North American International Toy Fair. [Read more...]

Playmates Toys Adds Bebop and Rocksteady to TMNT Action Figure Line

BeBop_HI RockSteady_HINickelodeon and Playmates Toys have launched Bebop and Rocksteady action figures based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters. The figures will be available in mid-November exclusively at Wal-Mart.

The 5-inch action figures are fully articulated and sculpted to capture the personalities of the popular duo. Each figure is equipped with unique accessories and is compatible with most of the vehicles and play sets in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line. Bebop, a pig-headed mutant, features a bright purple Mohawk, X-ray glasses, and comes ready to battle with his weapon accessories. Rocksteady, a mutated rock-headed Rhino and the brains behind the duo, is ready to hunt down the Turtles with his hammer-and-sickle weapon accessories.

The villainous duo will make their return to TV this January as part of the third season of Nickelodeon’s CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

Hasbro in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation

Hasbro logoAs initially reported by Deadline, Hasbro Inc. is in early talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG. The deal would give the toy maker, which has clout with major retailers, an animation studio that just recently began diversifying beyond the movies.

For each company, a deal could help accelerate movement beyond their core businesses. DreamWorks Animation has expanded into consumer products in recent years, but still lags behind Walt Disney Co., while Hasbro recently sold off some of its stake in the Hub cable network.

dreamworks_animation_logoThrough its relatively new film label, Allspark Pictures, Hasbro has movies in the works based on its toy brands, My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms. It is also launching a new Transformers cartoon series on the Cartoon Network, having had trouble edging in on children’s networks Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.

Should a deal be reached, it would likely come during the next two to four weeks, and would result in a family entertainment powerhouse to be called DreamWorks-Hasbro, according to a source in the article. Hasbro could also have management of the new entity already in place: On Wednesday, the company appointed Stephen Davis, who has led Hasbro Studios since its launch in 2009, to the role of executive vice president, chief content officer.

In this new role, Davis will be responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms. He will also work closely with Hasbro’s president and chief executive officer, Brian Goldner, to oversee Allspark Pictures (This aspect of Davis’ role was announced prior to news about the possible Hasbro-DreamWorks deal), as well as franchise films such as Transformers that are produced in partnership with major studios.

The Little Gym Partners with Nickelodeon, Creates SpongeBob Parties

TheLittleGym.logoSpongeBob SquarePants, the animated character from Nickelodeon, is coming out from his pineapple home for birthday parties at The Little Gym, a national gym designed for children ages six months to 12 years. The company is developing the curriculum for the parties in partnership with Nickelodeon.

As kids go on an undersea adventure inside their local The Little Gym, they will engage with characters such as Patrick, Squidward, and Mister Krabs in an interactive and imaginative story designed to get them moving, climbing, and tumbling.

The Little Gym has offered Awesome Birthday Bash parties since 2012. Each party features age-appropriate games, music, and fun activities led by trained instructors, and The Little Gym team handles both setup and cleanup.

Spirit Halloween to Host Annual Spirit of Children Program

SpiritofChildrenSpirit Halloween will continue its annual Spirit of Children program, which brings Halloween cheer and festivities to hospitalized children by hosting more than 84 events in conjunction with Child Life departments throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Special guests at select Spirit of Children parties will include Warner Brothers’ Batman, Saban‘s Power Rangers Super Megaforce; Nickelodeon‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, and Bubble Guppies; DreamWorks Animation‘s Puss in Boots, Skipper from Penguins of Madagascar, and more.

This year, Spirit of Children’s goal is to raise $5.2 million—bringing its total contribution to more than $21 million donated since the program’s inception in 2006.

Shoppers can donate to the Spirit of Children program online or in a Spirit Halloween location. The funds raised will go to the location’s closest hospital. Spirit Halloween shoppers who make at least a $2 donation will receive a Spirit of Children bracelet.

All funds raised are donated to participating Child Life departments across North America and focus on the emotional and psychological well being of hospitalized children while doctors and nurses focus on their medical needs.

Out of the Blue Enterprises Acquires Colorforms

Out Of The Blue Enterprises.logoOut of the Blue Enterprises is planning an extensive new toy line, animated series, and digital apps based on its newly acquired legacy brand, Colorforms. New products in the line are expected to debut at retail next fall, based on popular brands including Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies, Spongebob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Peter Rabbit, Pete the Cat, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Colorforms Brand LLC, the new division of Out of the Blue, is showcasing its new Colorforms toy line to retailers at the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas this week.

New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Products Heading to Toys “R” Us

NickTMNTToys “R” Us will offer a new line of toys and accessories based on the third season of the Nickelodeon TV series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, beginning this month.

The selection from Playmates Toys includes exclusive action figures and play sets, vehicles, role-play items, and more, and is available in Toys “R” Us stores and on toysrus.com.

Toys “R” Us is also hosting a Turtles in Training Sweepstakes, through which a grand prize winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles, Calif., to record their voice for an upcoming episode of the CG-animated series.

TIF to Auction Off a Tour of Sesame Street and More

tif_logoThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is launching an online fundraising auction to benefit TIF programs and grants, which help children in need around the world.

TIF partnered with global charity auction site, Charitybuzz, to host the auction—which includes a visit to the set of Sesame Street in New York, tickets to Nickelodeon’s 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles, and private meetings with top toy executives.

Bids may be placed through September 30 at charitybuzz.com/tif.

Nickelodeon’s TV and Digital Channels to Go Dark for 11th Annual Worldwide Day of Play

Nickelodeon will empower kids to get active when its TV channels, websites, and app go off air and offline for its 11th Annual Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP) on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., TeenNick, nick.com, nickjr.com, nicktoons.com, teennick.com, and the Nick App will all participate.

The network’s national pro-social partners—United States Tennis Association, NFL Play 60, the Boys and Girls Club of America, among others—will host several thousand local events across the country to help celebrate kids’ love of play. These events will be hosted by Nickelodeon’s national partners, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA, and more.

On September 20, Nickelodeon will air health and wellness-themed messaging beginning at 9 a.m. At 12 p.m., Nickelodeon will sign-off on air and online, signaling kids and families to get up and get moving. While the network is dark, a message encouraging viewers to go play will appear on a loop. [Read more...]