Disney Announces Sequel to Mega-Hit Frozen

FrozenFever1Earlier today, the Walt Disney Co. announced plans to make a sequel to 2013’s Disney Frozen at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.

Since its release in November 2013, Disney Frozen has made nearly $1.3 billion globally at the box office and won the Academy Award for best animated feature. The largest grossing animated film ever, Frozen also inspired a robust line of consumer products, and was the No. 1 best-selling toy brand among girls in 2014, according to the NPD Group.

COMMENTARY: Disney Frozen Poised to Dominate Again, or, We Welcome Our New Toy Overlords from Arendelle

FrozenFever2It’s the age of Frozen, and not just because of this freezing weather we’ve been having.

If you work in the toy industry, you’re probably familiar with Disney Frozen as a powerhouse license. According to data from The NPD Group, it was the top gainer among all toy properties last year, generating $531 million in toy sales across more than 39 categories. This is well and good for the toy companies fortunate enough to have partnered up with Team Elsa. On the flip side, if recent events are any indication, not having the license for Disney Frozen has the potential to be hazardous. [Read more...]

Frozen Merchandise Helps Disney to Huge First Quarter

As reported by the Associated Press, The Walt Disney Co.‘s earnings rose 19 percent during the last three months of 2014, boosted by sales of Disney Frozen merchandise, as well as strong results from theme parks and networks such as Disney Channel. Sales of Frozen toys and other merchandise drove a 22 percent jump in consumer products sales to $1.4 billion.

In interviews with analysts and press, CEO Bob Iger pointed out that Frozen isn’t Disney’s only blockbuster franchise. The company has 11 franchises with more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales.

For the last three months of 2014, Disney earned $2.24 billion, while revenue rose 9 percent to $13.39 billion.

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.

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.

Toy Story 3 Opens with Box Office Record for Disney-Pixar

Toy Story 3’s opening weekend earned worldwide box office sales of $153.8 million, according to estimates issued by The Walt Disney Company.

Box office sales in the United States and Canada accounted for $109 million, a Disney-Pixar Animation opening record . The record was previously held by The Incredibles, which sold $70.5 million in May 2004. Only two other animated films, Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third, have opened to sales of more than $100 million.

Toy Story 3 sales received a boost from 3-D screenings, which has a higher ticket price. It’s estimated that 60 percent of ticket sales were from 3-D screenings.

Marvel Files Federal Lawsuit over Comic Copyrights

Marvel Worldwide, Inc. filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan on Friday asking a judge to invalidate 45 notices sent by the heirs of artist Jack Kirby that aimed to terminate Marvel’s copyrights. The notices said Marvel’s copyrights would terminate on dates ranging from 2014 through 2019.  The heirs notified several companies last year that the rights would revert from Marvel to Kirby’s estate. Marvel argues that Kirby’s work on the comics were “for hire,” which makes the heirs’ claims invalid.

[Read more...]