Author: James Zahn

Funko Introduces Collection Tracker App

Fans can stay on top of their growing Funko collections with the company’s relaunched app for iOS and Android. The new app consolidates features from Stashpedia, a free collecting tracker that Funko acquired. The app includes the largest verified catalog of Funko products, easily searched by filtering by product brand, characteristic, exclusives, licenses, release year, and retailer. Fans can also scan barcodes to retrieve information or to quickly add a product to their collection. Created based on customer feedback, Funko also partnered with Pop Price Guide (PPG), a third-party hobbyDB brand, to display PPG’s trending product values. PPG valuations are based on...

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‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ Celebrates 50 Years of Storytime

The World of Eric Carle will bring families together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Retail partners such as Buy Buy Baby and Debenhams (UK) are on board for special storytime events and character appearances to kick off the yearlong celebration. For the birthday program, Buy Buy Baby stores in the U.S. and Canada will host a craft and storytime event on March 23. Families will receive a free growth chart and can take part in a special prize raffle. Costumed characters will appear in select stores. Debenhams launched a “power walkway” in all 45 of...

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SXSW Gaming Offers a Glimpse into the Future of Connected Play

The annual SXSW Conference & Festivals will close out this year’s run with the 2019 SXSW Gaming Festival, taking place from March 15 to 17 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Gaming can be somewhat of a loose term at this point, as toys and games continue to merge into a new world of connected play. TechUp, a curated service designed by connected play experts Peter Jenkinson (Toyology) and Valerie Vacante (Collabsco) will showcase five new products that are turning heads following early previews at CES in Las Vegas and Toy Fair New York. Additionally, a trio of panels will focus...

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WowWee Unleashes Untamed Mad Lab Minis

WowWee‘s Untamed line is evolving, and the first wave Untamed Mad Lab Minis arrive at mass retail this week. The miniature hybrid creatures are said to be created from “Untamed DNA” and come packed in Geoslime, Biosand, or Terraclay. Series one includes 34 original characters, blind packed in vials from which kids can extract their creatures and begin creating unique hybrids. Kids can create more than 1,000 possible creatures with swappable pieces. A Raptor, T-Rex, Allosaurus, Spinosaurus, Sabre-tooth Tiger, Dire Wolf, Bear, Polar Bear, or Gorilla can easily combine “DNA” to become beasts such as a Wolfasaurus Rex, or...

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Novel Entertainment Lines Up Licensees for ‘Horrid Henry’

Caroline Mickler Ltd. brokered a series of new and renewed licensing deals for Novel Entertainment‘s Horrid Henry. The British animated series based on the books by author Francesca Simon and illustrator Tony Rosson airs on Nickelodeon and Netflix in the UK as well as in 90 territories globally. Hulu has streaming rights in the U.S. Among the new licensees are Texco (bedding), Cooneen (pajamas), and Clear Vision/NHS (eyeglasses). Renewed deals include Rubie’s for a collection of dress-up costumes; Paul Lamond for puzzles and board games; P2 Games for a mobile gaming app; and Fabric Flavours, which enters its 12th year...

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Warner Bros. Preps ‘Tom and Jerry’ for Big Screen Battle

They’ve been going at it since the 1940s, and now Tom and Jerry will battle on the big screen… again. Last seen in theaters for 1992’s Tom and Jerry: The Movie, the cat and mouse duo will be reinvented for a new generation by director Tim Story (Shaft, Ride Along). Warner Bros. Pictures will release the film on April 16, 2021. Initially announced last year as part of a slate of reboots and reimaginings inspired by the Warner Bros. animation library, Tom and Jerry will be a mix of live-action and CGI, The Wrap reports. Other films that the...

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‘Harry Potter’ Publisher Arthur A. Levine Leaves Scholastic for New Venture

The U.S. publisher of Harry Potter is moving on, but he’s leaving the famous wizard behind. Publisher Arthur A. Levine is departing Scholastic and his namesake imprint to start a new chapter as head of his own independent publishing company. Scholastic will continue to be the U.S. publisher of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. “Reflecting upon the many contributions Arthur and his editorial teams have made to Scholastic’s publishing program these last twenty-three years, I am very proud of the many award-winning, bestselling, and beloved books created. We wish Arthur continued success as he builds his own independent publishing company,” says Ellie...

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RoRo Upgrades Lulla Doll with Enhanced Features

RoRo is building upon its signature Lulla Doll, succeeding the original with a new product collection. The original “miracle sleep doll” offered soothing sounds to help calm kids to sleep. Coral, Sky, and Lilac are the versatile collection of new dolls for babies of any gender or race. The new dolls feature extended playback time, softer and more durable material, and a weighted base for the added capability of sitting upright for play and shelving. Lulla Doll was created as a sleep aid to comfort caregivers and kids when they cannot be together. The doll plays a recording of...

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‘Sesame Street’ Musical Headed for the Big Screen in 2021

Nearly 35 years after Follow That Bird hit theaters, the crew from Sesame Street is headed back to the big screen. This week, Warner Bros. Pictures locked a January 15, 2021 release date for Sesame Street as a live-action musical. Warner Bros. acquired the rights for a Sesame Street film back in 2015, initially picking up a project from Night at the Museum‘s Shawn Levy that had been in development at Fox. Last fall, Warner Bros. confirmed that the film was moving forward, with Anne Hathaway eyeing a starring role, and Levy (now known for the Netflix hit, Stranger Things) on board...

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Spin Master Takes Bakugan on the Road

Spin Master will have a large presence for Bakugan at Emerald City Comic Con. Following the 10th anniversary relaunch of the brand with an animated series, Bakugan: Battle Planet, and its accompanying toy line, Spin Master will introduce the 2019 Bakugan Tournament and Fan Experience. The convention pop-up will introduce young fans to the new toy line and offer attendees a chance to learn the game and battle with others. Game architects will present the gameplay rules and strategy. Those who brawl in the Bakugan Tournament will advance to face a Bakugan Master in the Bakugan Brawlers Main Stage...

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