Author: James Zahn

NHL, Up Studios Partner for ‘Super BOOMi Hockey Hero’

The National Hockey League (NHL) is looking to showcase hockey in China, and it’s going to do it through animation. Super BOOMi Hockey Hero is the first-ever CG-animated series to focus on hockey to show kids of all ages how to play like NHL superstars Connor McDavid, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Pettersson, and more. BOOMi is the star of China-based Up Studios‘ Super BOOMi. BOOMi is the creation of animation director, Trevor Lai, a lifelong hockey fan. The character is a hit in China with more than 2.6 billion views online and top ratings on every major kids’ television network in the...

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Schleich Goes Big with New Products from Horse Club

Schleich‘s popular Horse Club line of equestrian toys and accessories is expanding. Horse Club happenings include the launch of new figurines and play sets, a new membership club, in-store events at select locations, and the debut of Schleich’s first-ever companion app, Horse Club Adventure. “We’re so excited about all the new Horse Club introductions and activities rolling out this fall,” says Annie Laurie Zomermaand, Schleich USA’s chief commercial officer. “We’re delighted to provide Horse Club enthusiasts across the country with even more great ways to engage with the rich and vibrant Horse Club characters, friendships and breeds for hours of fun and learning, across multiple platforms.” New...

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Xtreme Play to Produce Collectible Toys Based on Netflix’s ‘The Umbrella Academy’

The dysfunctional family of superheroes from the Netflix Original Series The Umbrella Academy is headed for the toy aisles. Xtreme Play inked a multi-year licensing agreement with UCP (Universal Content Productions) to create a collectible toy line based on the critically-acclaimed series based on the Eisner Award-winning comic book series created and written by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. Xtreme Play’s product line will span a wide range of products including stylized figures, plush, and cosplay. “We are thrilled to partner with UCP to bring The Umbrella Academy to life and give fans new ways to collect and...

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NPD Group Issues Correction on L.O.L. Surprise! Growth as O.M.G. Dolls Launch

The NPD Group issued a correction for its most recent U.S. Toys Executive Summary — sent to NPD clients who subscribe to NPD’s U.S. Toys Retail Tracking Service — in regard to MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! brand. According to the updated edition of NPD’s May 2019 summary, L.O.L. Surprise! grew 47% in May versus the same period last year. On June 27, NPD issued an incorrect version of the summary, stating that L.O.L. Surprise! declined 21%, when, in fact, the brand saw an increase. The updated summary was sent to subscribers on June 28. “We extend our apologies to...

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Disney Recalls ‘Toy Story 4’ 11-Inch Forky Plush

In Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 4, Forky spent a large part of the movie being convinced that he isn’t “trash.” While the character isn’t, one of his real-life counterparts is destined for the rubbish bin as Disney has issued a voluntary recall for the 11-inch Forky plush sold exclusively at Disney Parks, Disney Store,, and Disney Store via Amazon Marketplace. No incidents have been reported, but the company discovered that the rolling “googly” eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard for small children. The eyes are comprised of three parts: a white plastic base, a clear plastic dome, and...

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Spielwarenmesse TrendCommittee Looks Ahead to Next Year’s Toy TrendGallery

As planning for next year’s Spielwarenmesse toy fair continues, the organizers have assembled the team that will serve as the international TrendCommittee. A dozen toy industry experts comprise the team, including our own Jackie Breyer — group publisher, the Toy Book, the Toy Insider, and the Pop Insider — who joins the TrendCommittee this year to aid in scouting emerging trends and keeping track of what might inform the industry in the year ahead. Next year’s trends will be revealed this October, and related products will be on display in the TrendGallery at Spielwarenmesse 2020, taking place Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 in...

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‘True and the Rainbow Kingdom’ Reinvents Classic Kids Songs for ‘True: Tunes’

Guru Studio‘s Netflix Original series True and the Rainbow Kingdom is reinventing some classic kids songs for a new episode. True: Tunes debuts July 12 — the latest episode following the release of this spring’s True: Mushroom Town and the Valentine’s Day special, True: Happy Hearts Day. In the latest special, kids will hear songs such as “The Wheels on the Rainbow Bus” and “Zee Zee My Playmate.” New seasonal specials will continue to roll out on Netflix in the year ahead. A full consumer products launch for True and the Rainbow Kingdom will take place this fall, with plush, Halloween costumes, storybooks,...

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Brilliant PR & Marketing Named Agency of Record for the United States Playing Card Co.

The United States Playing Card Co. (USPC) — best-known as the manufacturer of playing cards, including the iconic Bicycle brand — appointed Brilliant PR & Marketing as its new agency of record. “An entire sector of our client roster is dedicated to play and games. We are thrilled to be working with USPC, which not only represents the very origins of play with its original Bicycle brand, but also the evolution of where play is today with its new Games by Bicycle line,” says Brilliant PR & Marketing President Kathleen Tomes. The agency began its work with USPC by...

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Fisher-Price Rescue Heroes Touch-A-Truck Event Comes to 500 Walmart Stores

Mattel and Walmart are celebrating the relaunch of Fisher-Price Rescue Heroes with special events at 500 Walmart stores nationwide. Beginning July 4, the Fisher-Price Rescue Heroes Touch-A-Truck Experience will bring families together with local first responders in an effort to engage kids with everyday heroes in each community. Events will take place July 4-7, and July 12-14. Families can enter their zip code at to find a participating locations. At each participating location, kids can explore fire trucks and/or police cars; meet and take photos with local first responders; take pictures with life-size Rescue Heroes cutouts; receive a...

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DHX Media Makes New Appointments to Bolster Original Animation Slate

DHX Media is looking to drive the development of its original animated content with a pair of new appointments. Stephanie Betts was promoted to executive vice president, content, while Todd Brian joined the company in a newly created director of development role. “We’re producing an amazing slate of original content for the world’s top streaming platforms and broadcasters, and our development pipeline is rich with exciting new projects,” says Josh Scherba, president, DHX Media. “Stephanie has been integral to the DHX Media story for many years, and as we increase our focus on high-quality original content, her vision and...

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