Mega Bloks Joins Forces with Top Licenses Including Power Rangers, Terminator, and Star Trek

MEGA+Branks+logoMega Brands has entered new partnerships with top entertainment brands to expand its Mega Bloks construction portfolio. Mega Bloks will add new highly detailed sets and movie-inspired lines for fans of all ages. [Read more...]

Sakar to Introduce New Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, and Peanuts Electronics

Sesame StreetUnder a new licensing deal with Sesame Workshop, Sakar International will launch a new line of Sesame Street electronic products and accessories this spring. The company will preview the new line at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City. [Read more...]

Alex Brands Enters Licensing Agreement with Nickelodeon

AlexBrands Alex Brands has signed a licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to manufacture, distribute, and market a broad array of products based on popular characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora and Friends, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The multi-year agreement covers multiple brands from Alex Brands including Alex Toys and Shrinky Dinks, as well as product categories such as craft kits and bath toys. Alex Brands will launch more than 30 new Nickelodeon products during North American International Toy Fair, which runs from February 14 to 17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The items will be available to consumers starting late summer.

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.