Author: James Zahn

TCG Adds Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 4 to the Megamat Mix

TCG Toys adds Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 4 to its Megamat line of play surfaces, which will be available at retail this summer. Offerings will be available in a variety of sizes and price points, with an assortment toplined with the Toy Story 4 Jumbo Megamat—a 5-by-3.5-foot soft, wipe-clean, non-toxic foam play surface complete with two character vehicles. The lineup of TCG Toy Story 4 Megamats also includes: Felt Megamat—A 27.5-by-31.5-inch full-color play scene made of soft, strong felt with a finished border. Tile Megamat—Six soft and durable foam tiles fit together to make a 28-by-19-inch play surface. Includes one character vehicle. Original Megamat—This sturdy...

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Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour Expands

Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour‘s inaugural year featured more than 120 shows last year and a Pollstar Award nomination. This year, the tour expands with newly-announced dates in some new markets, kicking off its second season on Feb. 22 in Stamford, Connecticut. The 90-minute show features the first live-action appearances of Fancy Nancy and Bingo and Rolly from Puppy Dog Pals, along with kid-favorite Disney Junior characters from Vampirina, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Elena of Avalor, and, of course, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. The musical tour offers fans a choice of two VIP package options—pre-party and...

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Sanrio’s Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Celebration Begins

Sanrio is kicking off Hello Kitty‘s 45th anniversary celebration. Now through the end of the year, visitors to Sanrio Puroland, better-known as Hello Kitty Land Tokyo and its sister park Harmonyland, will enjoy a host of themed events to mark the occasion. The kick off coincides with Sweets Puro (sweets and strawberries), the first seasonal event of the year at the park, which has welcomed guests from around the world since its opening in 1990. The My First Kitty event will offer visitors themed activities, shows, character meet-and-greets, and photo ops.   View this post on Instagram   Nope, we’re...

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ASTRA Members to Get Special Benefits at Spielwarenmesse

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) members who attend the Spielwarenmesse international toy fair in Nuremberg, Germany will have access to special discounts and an exclusive tour. The 70th anniversary edition of the show will feature more than 2,900 toy, hobby, and leisure manufacturers from around the world. More than 71,000 toy buyers and exhibitors from more than 125 countries will attend the event from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. “Spielwarenmesse has always been a place for retailers to find great products that help differentiate independent stores from the competition—and also for ASTRA to find new exhibitors with fresh products...

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Build-A-Bear Workshop Taps Jason Mraz as First-Ever Hug AmBEARsador

National Hug Day is Jan. 21, and Build-A-Bear Workshop has big plans. Singer/songwriter Jason Mraz joined Build-A-Bear to help spread hugs as the retailer’s first-ever Hug AmBEARsador. An exclusive Jason Mraz bear will be released on Jan. 18, featuring the National Hug Day heart design and Mraz’s signature embroidered on the paw pad. The bear will be available as part of a bundle with an exclusive album, Hugs, Hearts & Happiness, produced in partnership with Go Dog Go! Creative, and including the Build-A-Bear Kids singing Jason Mraz hits. The album will also be available separately and a music video will launch to coincide with the album release. The...

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Target’s Big Christmas: L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Nintendo Noted as Comps Rise 5.7 Percent

Santa was good to Target this holiday season. Last week, the retail giant reported that comparable sales in the combined November/December period grew 5.7 percent, atop 3.4 percent growth in the same period last year. Foot traffic was strong, and the retailer reported comparable online sales growth of 29 percent. An aggressive and enthusiastic investment in the toy business is cited in part for the holiday season success. Chief Stores Officer Janna Potts notes that hot gift items such as MGA Entertainment‘s L.O.L. Surprise!, the Nintendo Switch, and Mattel‘s reimagined Barbie Dreamhouse were among the toys attracting shoppers. Chief Operating Officer John...

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STX Entertainment, Alibaba Pictures Team for Even More UglyDolls

Get ready for more UglyDolls. The feature film based on David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim’s plush dolls opens on May 3, and STX Entertainment entered into an agreement with Alibaba Pictures to co-finance and co-produce even more UglyDolls content. In addition to the feature film, an animated series is already on deck for Hulu, and Hasbro has taken the reigns as master toy partner. The partnership envisions UglyDolls as a full-fledged global IP with franchise content spread across multiple licensees and formats. The road to the big screen has been a long one for the brand, which launched in 2001 and...

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Imagine Kids & Family Launches, Stephanie Sperber to Lead

Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have confirmed the launch of Imagine Kids & Family. The newly-formed division of Imagine Entertainment will develop and produce premium animated and live-action feature films, television series and short-form content across all platforms in the kids and family entertainment space. Stephanie Sperber, CEO of White Space Entertainment will serve as president of the new division. She will continue in her role at White Space Entertainment, which focuses on building kids franchises through consumer products and digital gaming. Imagine Entertainment will continue its on-going client relationship with White Space, with White Space...

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Women in Toys to Honor Pam Kaufman, Gaye Dean at 15th Annual Wonder Women Awards

Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products’ President, Pam Kaufman, and Target Corporation’s Marketing Director for Licensing, Gaye Dean will be honored by Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) at the 15th Annual Wonder Women Awards held during the New York International Toy Fair next month. Kaufman, who leads the multi-billion-dollar global consumer products business across Viacom Media Networks and Paramount Pictures, will be honored with the 2019 Mentorship Award. She has launched and maintained many iconic franchise properties from across the Viacom portfolio of brands, including Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants, and JoJo Siwa; MTV’s Jersey Shore: Family Vacation;...

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The Future of Sears and Kmart? Wait and See

Since Sears Holdings Corp. filed for bankruptcy last fall, we haven’t reported much on the progress. Aside from The Toy Association putting out a call to gauge toy industry risk going into the holiday season, there simply hasn’t been a lot of concrete news of real substance—especially in this past week of “will-they-or-won’t-they” liquidation talk. Sears is like a cat, but the looming question is just how many of their nine lives have been spent? Ahead of this week’s Toy Report, Sears received yet another last-minute reprieve thanks to Chairman Eddie Lampert submitting a new bid through his ESL hedge...

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