Author: James Zahn

Funko Ready to Play Ball at ‘Funko Field’

When the Everett AquaSox take to its home field this spring, the team will do it at Funko Field. The Washington-based purveyor of pop culture collectibles and lifestyle products secured naming rights for its hometown Minor League Baseball team, a Seattle Mariners Class A affiliate. For the next six years, Funko Field will include signage on the field and around the stadium grounds, as well as branding on ballpark staff uniforms. Additionally, all Friday home games will take place on “Funko Fridays” — special events that will feature product giveaways and other promotions for AquaSox ticket holders. “Funko has...

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MGA Entertainment, Terracycle Team up for L.O.L. Surprise Package Recycling

One of the biggest concerns in toy packaging is starting to be addressed. MGA Entertainment entered into a partnership with Terracycle to make it easier for fans to recycle L.O.L. Surprise packaging. Starting now, fans can save all of their packaging, including wrappers, bags, balls, trays, and more, by placing them in a cardboard box. Beginning in the U.S. this May, parents can visit the Terracycle website to request a secure shipping label to have their L.O.L. Surprise packages recycled. An international program will roll out later this year. The partnership was revealed on March 18, which is Global...

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Gary King Appointed Executive Vice President General Manager at RedwoodVentures

Gary King is the new executive vice president general manager at RedwoodVentures. The former general manager of Crayola comes to the maker of Smooshy Mushy and Smashy Mashy from Cidrines, where helped the Puerto Rican breadmaker gain awareness and market share in the U.S. King will focus on global opportunities for RedwoodVentures, including the company’s entrance into the food category with the Foodie Surprise brand. “As we continue to grow and expand around the world, we’re always looking for ways to enrich the play experience and to surprise and delight kids in new ways,” says Andy Wiseman, CEO of RedwoodVentures. “Gary’s...

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YouTuber Roi Fabito’s Guava Toys Expands Walmart Reach

Guava Toys expands its brand and product line to more than 3,900 additional Walmart stores. Created by YouTuber Roi “Guava Juice” Fabito, the current line of toys, which includes slime, bath bombs, and edible pancake art, will expand with six new products. Three new Premade Mystery Slime Packs and three Premade Slime Packs will feature out-of-the-box scented and textured slimes. “Guava Toys allows kids to not take life too seriously and have fun,” says founder Roi Fabito. “With our latest products, we hope to inspire kids to squish, splat, and slime with friends!” New tubes include slimes from the Crazy Carnival, Gross...

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Animaccord Inks New Licensing Agents for ‘Masha and the Bear’

More licensing agencies are lining up to bring Masha and the Bear consumer products to a wider audience. Animaccord partnered with several agencies to build licensing programs across multiple territories in Europe and beyond.   Among the new licensing agents, Lisans A.Ş. will tackle brand distribution and promotion in Turkey, while FERLY, a Nordic licensing and publishing agency, will develop the brand across the Nordics. Additionally, Animaccord entered into an agreement with Lisle Licensing, a UK licensing group, to leverage its extensive contacts within Europe’s leading retail groups and handle multiple territories. Finally, a comprehensive licensing program for Masha and the Bear will be handled through ELC...

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APC Kids’ Zephyr Animation, Gigglebug Entertainment Team Up for ‘Pronto’

The APC Kids division of About Premium Content (APC) expands the production slate of its animation studio, Zephyr Animation, with Pronto. The new, CGI-animated adventure series comes from Finnish studio Gigglebug Entertainment. Created by Gigglebug founders Anttu Harlin and Joonas Utti, Pronto will be co-produced by Zephyr and Gigglebug. APC Kids is now seeking broadcaster partners for the series. Pronto follows the IMP-EX, an elite package delivery service that takes pride in delivering to impossible destinations, recipients, and locales: a black hole, the Loch Ness monster, a beehive, a magic carpet, Jack’s beanstalk beans, or even hair care products for a...

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Shopko is Done: Retailer to Shutter All Remaining Stores

RIP Shopko (1962-2019). The Wisconsin-based regional retailer will close all of its remaining stores, with going out of business sales to begin immediately. Shopko.com is already shut down. The complete chain closure is a swift collapse following a January filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, which reported 360 locations in its initial filing, began closing 105 stores in late January, followed by an updated plan to shutter more than 70 percent of its stores last month. At the time, reps called the move a “second chance footprint,” intended to shrink the company to a lean number of around 100 stores to avoid total...

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Disney•Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 4’ Reveals New Characters Inspired by Toy History

The return of Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story franchise is one of the biggest licensing events of the year. Following a series of teasers released over the past few months, the first official trailer for Toy Story 4 arrived today. The new film embraces real toy history, with characters designed as an homage to the pull-string dolls of the 1950s (Gabby Gabby), the Little People of the 1980s (Giggle McDimples), and the ventriloquist dummies (Benson) of the vaudeville era. There’s even Duke Caboom — a 1970s stuntman inspired by Ideal Toys’ famed Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. The catch is that Duke...

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Funrise Invites Kids to Play in ‘Wonder Park’

Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies’ Wonder Park is open for business, and Funrise is bringing the toys. The story of an amusement park that comes to life through the power of one girl’s imagination opened in theaters this past weekend. The new collection of toys from Funrise includes figures, play sets, plush, and blind-packed collectibles. The line launched exclusively at Walmart stores in the U.S. earlier this month and is rolling out globally now. The Wonder Park toy collection includes the Wonder Park figure assortment, compatible with the Flying Fish Carousel and Ferris Wheel play sets. The Wonder Chimps...

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Hasbro Expands Fortnite Collaboration with TS Blaster

The worlds of physical and digital play continue to merge with the latest Nerf Fortnite blaster. Hasbro once again teamed with members of U.S. esports team, TSM, to publicly debut the upcoming toy. Previewed at Toy Fair New York last month, the Nerf Fortnite line officially launches as mass retail on March 22, with the newly-announced Nerf Fortnite TS blaster available beginning June 1. The Nerf Fortnite TS blaster is inspired by the blaster used in Epic Games’ smash hit Fortnite video game — right down to the color scheme. With eight official Nerf Mega darts included, players can load four darts into the internal...

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