COMMENTARY: Despicable Me 2: An Instant Feel-Good Favorite

DM2 LogoDespicable Me 2 explores all kinds of love: Father-daughter love, admiration for a co-worker, new love, puppy love, motherly love, male camaraderie, and, of course, Minion love. A fun flick for the whole family, the sequel to the 2010 hit is a heart-warming 98 minutes full of life lessons, slapstick, and downright adorableness.

Former super-villian Gru (Steve Carell) has given up the good (bad) life for his three little girls, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). Moving on from his evil days, he decides to explore the wonders of jam and jelly making and small business. However, his evil roots catch up to him soon enough and he is enlisted by the Anti Villian League (AVL). Together with his AVL partner, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), Gru goes undercover to apprehend a dangerous transmutation formula, which the AVL fears has fallen into the wrong hands. With a few likely suspects easily identified, Gru and Lucy embark on their mission to save the world.

Growing from the first film, Gru is now faced with all of the joys of fatherhood, including dressing up like a Fairy Princess, aiding in performance rehearsals, and steering love-sick boys away from his daughter’s direction. Though, he may appear to have become a bit love-sick himself. No longer orphans, the girls have clearly acclimated to their life with Gru as their dad, but they are eager for Gru to find love, and simultaneously, a mother figure. [Read more...]

Hasbro Revs Up Its Licensing Programs

The Entertainment & Licensing (E&L) division of Hasbro, Inc. has announced a slate of licensing programs to support its brands, including Transformers, Nerf, Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Pony, Monopoly, and Playskool.

Hasbro, in association with DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, will debut Transformers 3 on July 1, 2011. The company’s licensees for the Transformers brand include comic books from IDW (U.S.), digital games from Activision (worldwide), and more.

Hasbro is also teaming up with Universal Pictures to bring Stretch Armstrong and Battleship to the big screen in summer 2012. Universal will also produce films based on Hasbro’s Monopoly, Candy Land, and Ouija. Theater release dates have not been announced.

Hasbro recently reached an agreement with The Sports Licensed Division of the adidas Group for a NERF-inspired apparel and footwear line (deal is still subject to the companies negotiating and has yet to be signed into a binding license agreement). Additionally, Electronic Arts has signed on for NERF digital gaming (worldwide), SDI Technologies has inked a deal for NERF electronics (U.S.), and Performance Design Products will create NERF digital gaming hardware accessories (worldwide).

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Harry Potter Park Will Open This Spring

Although Universal has not announced an exact date, the new Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Fla., has been scheduled to open this spring.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will include rides for thrill seekers, such as “Dragon Challenge,” and more family orientated attractions such as “Flight of the Hippograff.” The park will also include themed shops and restaurants inspired by the Harry Potter series, such as “Honeydukes,” which sells chocolate frogs, and a British themed restaurant named “Three Broomsticks.” Above is the first picture of the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade Station.

The official website for the Harry Potter park allows users to take a virtual tour of the park, using a combination of real-life and computer-generated images to show what the park will look like when it is completed.

Twilight Star Casted in 3-D Stretch Armstrong Movie

Universal Pictures has announced that Twilight star Taylor Lautner will play the title character in the studio’s upcoming movie based on Hasbro’s popular toy Stretch Armstrong. The Stretch Armstrong movie, which will be in 3-D, is set to be released in 2012.

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The Toy Book’s Toy Report 11/10/09

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Catch up on last week’s news! Read The Toy Book Toy Report for 11/10/09.

To view click here.

Ouija Board Game to Become Movie

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According to a Hollywood Reporter blog, Universal Pictures and Hasbro are working on a screen adaptation of the board game Ouija. The movie is being described as a “supernatural action-adventure movie” written by Lost executive producers/writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. It’s expected that certain rules of the game will find its way into the plot, such as never use Ouija alone, never use it in a graveyard, and always say good-bye.

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