Author: Jackie Breyer

You’re a Box Office Hit, Charlie Brown!

The Peanuts Movie launched in the U.S. this past weekend to box office success. The film earned $45 million over its first weekend, and will roll out globally to 100 countries over the next six weeks. Digital efforts leading up to the movie launch included the PeanutizeMe website. To date, more than 6 million characters have been created. The Wah Wah machine brought the iconic Peanuts “adult voice” into the digital age. There is also a designated Peanuts Movie Sticker Pack on Facebook. Peanuts has also invaded the toy aisle, where the property hasn’t had much presence in the past, with Just Play’s Happy Dance Snoopy leading the charge. Peanuts Worldwide/Iconix Entertainment recently announced that Peanuts shorts based on the strip will be on air in the U.S. on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. This December will mark the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and consumers can expect to see special events surrounding this milestone, including a new TV special hosted by Kristen Bell airing on ABC focusing on the enduring power of the original special. In additional news, Snoopy will fly in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Peanuts gang will star in Macy’s holiday windows, and Snoopy will serving as Macy’s 2015 Holiday...

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COMMENTARY: Positive Outlook for 2016

After attending the TIA’s Fall Toy Preview in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, I feel confident that 2016 is going to be an even better year for the toy industry. While the show floor seemed quieter than in years past, the majority of companies I met with were upbeat and excited for holiday 2015 and the year ahead. A number of my meetings were cut short due to drop-ins by Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Toys “R” Us buyers, which is always a good sign. The industry is expected to be up approximately 6 percent this year, and I expect this success to carry over to 2016. I saw a higher than usual number of new lines, and interesting expansions of successful products, proving that manufacturers are riding high on the wings of rising sales, leaving them willing and able to take some risks. I also took note that some of this year’s top trends are moving forward in 2016. This includes an emphasis on STEM toys; girl empowerment—particularly with the broad array of DC Super Hero Girls products; drones—with some really cool new features; and even smarter interactive toys and robotics. The activities category continues to push previous boundaries, finding new ways to entice boys; and food play will be taken to new heights as well, as the industry is seeing tremendous success this year with products like...

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ASTRA Names Kimberly Mosley Its New President

Kimberly Mosley, MBA, CAE has been appointed president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), its board of directors announced today. “Kim is an experienced, award-winning, results-oriented association executive with a long track record of success in managing association operations, developing innovative programs, and growing revenue,” says Dean May, chair of the ASTRA board of directors. “A skill set of particular interest to ASTRA is her background in leveraging technology to better serve members and to try new business strategies,” notes May. “Kim is the right person to lead ASTRA through the opportunities and challenges we see ahead for the specialty toy industry.” ASTRA conducted a nationwide search to fill the position that was held by previous president, Kathleen McHugh. Mosley comes to ASTRA from the American College of Healthcare Executives. She will assume the role of president on Monday, September 28, 2015. “It is with great excitement that I have accepted the role of ASTRA’s president,” says Mosley. “ASTRA is a fiscally and programmatically strong organization with a long tradition of responsiveness to the business needs of its members. I will continue that important tradition. I am eager to work with members to strengthen the segment of the toy industry that is committed to quality toys with high play value, and to bring specialty toy professionals together to help each other...

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The Queen’s Treasures Offers Dr. Jane Goodall-Licensed Line

This September, children will be able to reenact the true story of Dr. Jane Goodall, whose pioneering research on wild chimpanzees helped change the way human beings perceive animals. The Queen’s Treasures has created a rainforest camp for 18-inch dolls, featuring a canvas tent and canvas cot reminiscent of the ones Goodall used at Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania. The product line is being developed with Goodall’s conservation philosophy in mind using eco-friendly materials and packaging. Ten percent of sales for these items will be donated to the Jane Goodall Institute to support programs that further Goodall’s research, as well as chimpanzee conservation and the organization’s efforts to graduate a generation of young people committed to conservation. The Queens Treasures Goodall Outfit The Queens Treasures Goodall Research Table and Chair The Queens Treasures Goodall Research...

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Q&A with Barbara Peacock, Creative Director, and Adam Mellema, Producer, Charlie & Company

School Zone Publishing Company is getting ready to unleash season two of its fun, educational children’s series, Charlie & Company. The Toy Book recently spoke with Barbara Peacock, the creative director of Charlie & Company, as well as its producer, Adam Mellema, about the show and upcoming plans for the brand, including toys. The Toy Book (TTB): First, can you tell me about Charlie & Company? Adam Mellema (AM): Charlie & Company is all about a golden retriever named Charlie. He’s a live-action dog, and the show follows Charlie and his best friend Miss Ellie, a preschool teacher, and...

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Inaugural World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

The games in the inaugural class of The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame span multiple decades, countries of origin, and gaming platforms, but all have significantly affected the video game industry, popular culture, and society in general. Pong, Pac-Man, Tetris, Super Mario Bros., DOOM, and World of Warcraft have been selected from a field of 15 finalists that also included Angry Birds, FIFA, The Legend of Zelda, Minecraft, The Oregon Trail, Pokémon, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders. The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong was established this year to recognize individual electronic games of all types—arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile—that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general. Inductees are on permanent view in the museum’s eGameRevolution exhibit. Anyone may nominate a game to the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Nominations for the class of 2016 will be accepted through March 31 next year. Final selections will be made on the advice of journalists, scholars, and other individuals familiar with the history of video games and their role in...

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Bryan Stockton Resigns as Chairman and CEO of Mattel, Christopher Sinclair Named Chairman and Interim CEO

Christopher A. Sinclair has been named the chairman and interim CEO of Mattel, effective immediately. The company also announced that Bryan G. Stockton has resigned as Mattel’s chairman and CEO and resigned from the board of directors. “Mattel is an exceptional company with a great future but the board believes that it is the right time for new leadership to maximize its potential,” says Sinclair. “We are committed to delivering improved growth and financial performance and remain confident in our ability to leverage our unmatched portfolio of brands, global scale, and strong balance sheet as we execute on our...

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Rubie’s Expands Its Dress-Up Line with Marvel, Minions, and More

Imagine by Rubie’s, a toy division of Rubie’s Costume Company Inc., is expanding its offerings with new products and accessories. Available for children in separates and box sets, every unique ensemble provides kids the opportunity to dress-up as their favorite character 365 days of the year. Captain America Iron Man Thor Hulk Imagine’s new licenses inspired by 2015’s most anticipated movies include Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Minions. In addition to these newly acquired licenses, Imagine also offers products based on Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Wizard of Oz, WWE, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and My Super Best Friends. Along with these characters, Imagine also offers a variety of non-licensed designs, such as ninjas, policemen, fire fighters, military men, princesses, and fairies, as well as accessories including reversible capes, swords, masks, tutus, purses, wands, and tiaras. Rubie’s says the philosophy behind the entire collection is to encourage kids to dream, believe, and achieve through the art of imagination. The entire Imagine by Rubie’s product line will be on display at the Halloween and Party Expo in New Orleans February 6 to 9 and at North American International Toy Fair in New York February 14 to...

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Entertainment One Launches Peppa Pig Magazine, Expands U.S. Toy Program

Entertainment One Licensing (eOne Licensing) has partnered with Redan Publishing Inc. for a bi-monthly publication based on Peppa Pig. Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Magazine will launch this month at major retailers throughout the U.S., including Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Kroger. Based on the animated TV show airing daily on Nick Jr., Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Magazine, for children ages 2 to 7, showcases the adventurous and loveable little pig along with her brother George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig. Every issue will feature 36 pages of Peppa-themed activities designed to reinforce early learning skills as well as fun and inventive crafts projects, puzzles, product giveaways, and more. In addition, a host of new licensed products are slated to make their retail debut in the spring. Better Toyz will offer a range of licensed sporting goods, including ball pits and tents, play balls, skates, scooters, kiddie pools, and skateboards. Fiesta Toys will produce an assortment of Peppa Pig plush and toys for the amusement park channel, from plush novelty hats and peek-a-boo pillows to Rolley bags and...

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