Author: Madeleine Buckley


As the world continues to face the economic impact of COVID-19, Licensing International is ready to help small businesses in the brand licensing industry that have faced hardship due to the pandemic. This month, Licensing International launched the Small Business Global Grants Fund, which will provide $5,000 grants (in local currency) to as many small employers as possible around the world. Companies in the brand licensing industry that employ between 3 and 20 people can apply for the grants. Applicants will need to submit a short narrative explaining the impact of COVID-19 on their business and the steps they...

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Arcade1Up, Coleco Partner for Mini Arcade Machines

Two years ago, Coleco launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a new version of its Mini Arcade machines from the ’80s, with their signature hard shells and large bases (pictured above). The successful campaign raised $71,246 — more than doubling its $30,000 goal. This campaign included Mini Arcade versions of two games: Rainbow Brite Journey to Rainbow Land and Robotech: The Macross Saga. Now, these machines are about to get a much wider reach than Kickstarter. Coleco has partnered with Arcade1Up to create new Mini Arcade units and sell them nationwide, utilizing Arcade1Up’s retail and licensing connections. The Mini Arcade...

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Jakks Pacific Named Global Master Toy Licensee for ‘Apex Legends’

Jakks Pacific has entered a multiyear, global toy licensing deal with Electronic Arts (EA) for a toy line based on EA’s battle royale game, Apex Legends. The agreement gives Jakks Pacific worldwide rights to manufacture and sell action figures and accessories, plush, role-play toys, and toy weapons and blasters inspired by the game. The first wave of articulated, 6-inch collectible figures will launch at retail this October, with more to come next year. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, Apex Legends is a free-to-play, squad-based game that garnered significant attention for reaching 50 million downloads in its first month. Now in...

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Talkin’ Toys: Small Things Are a Big Deal at Super Impulse

The Toy Book catches up with Alan Dorfman, president of Super Impulse USA, about specializing in miniatures and capitalizing on the power of nostalgia. Toy Book: As your company name suggests, many Super Impulse products are designed to be impulse purchases. How has the COVID-19 pandemic altered how you market your products now that fewer consumers are shopping in stores? Alan Dorfman: Nothing like leading off with a softball! Of course, we do lose the impulse purchases when traffic is down or stores are closed. We do have some check lane positions at larger retailers that have remained open,...

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Bandai America Brings Rubik’s Charaction Cubes to the U.S.

Today, as part of the Rubik’s 40th Anniversary celebration, Bandai America launched Charaction Cubes, a line of collectible figures that combine fandom and puzzling. While these toys have been available in Japan for a while, it is the first time they are being sold in the U.S. These figures, pictured above, are made up of rotating pieces, similar to a Rubik’s cube. Fans can mix up the figure, then try to reassemble the character. Here’s a video from Megahouse, the company that produces the figures, that will give you a better idea of how they work. The first wave...

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The Pokémon Co. Reveals New Games, In-Game Events in “Pokémon Presents” Livestream

This morning, The Pokémon Co. President and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara provided updates and news for a variety of Pokémon titles for fans of all ages in a 10-minute video presentation. The Pokémon Presents livestream started with Pokémon Smile, a free new app designed to help kids with brushing their teeth. Available today, the mobile app uses augmented reality (AR) and the front-facing camera to incorporate Pokémon into the teeth-brushing experience. Parents can set the app to send reminder notifications up to three times per day and set a duration for each brushing session. As kids brush, they defeat animated, cavity-causing...

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Megalopolis Toys Launches Collectible Figures for Madballs, Barnyard Commandos

Get ready to return to the ’90s toy aisle with a new line of 6-inch action figures from Megalopolis Toys. First up for these retro-inspired collectibles? Madballs and Barnyard Commandos. Launched in 1985, Madballs was one of the popular gross-out toys of the decade. It sold millions of toys and inspired animated specials, comic books, video games, and more. (And are still available from Just Play Toys.) It will be interesting to see what the Megalopolis figures look like, because the outlines pictured above show arms and legs — which Madballs traditionally don’t have. Barnyard Commandos was another toy-slash-brand,...

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Stern Pinball Debuts Three TMNT Machines

Did someone say turtle power? Stern Pinball just released a line of pinball machines inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they are packed with homages to everyone’s favorite pizza-loving, crime-fighting turtle crew. Stern’s TMNT line includes three machines: Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition. Each version has slightly different features, but all three have bright colors, hand-drawn art, and familiar characters that TMNT fans know and love. Some shared features across all three models include a spinning pizza disk that can hold and throw three balls during pizza multiball mayhem, the original 1987 theme music, and custom flippers. To get into...

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LEGO Super Mario Sets Get Even More Interactive with Power-Up Packs

Cue up the Super Mario theme, because LEGO is expanding its video game-inspired collaboration with Nintendo again — and this time, there’s a Fire Mario. The LEGO Super Mario collection originally debuted back in March, offering construction sets that kids can use to build levels inspired by the Super Mario series. Then kids can play through the levels, collecting coins with an electronic, interactive Mario figure. Now, kids can enhance their LEGO Super Mario play with Power-Up Pack accessories. Each of these four suits — Fire Mario, Propeller Mario, Cat Mario, and Builder Mario — gives the interactive figure...

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Following Years of Sales Declines, the R/C Category Is Relying on Innovation

The R/C aisle is ready for a change. This time last year, the category was in a bit of a strange place, trying to find its footing after the drone craze that dominated R/C sales for multiple years completely subsided. According to The NPD Group, the category underperformed by 4% when compared to the total toy industry for the 12-month period that ended this January. Sales of air-specific R/C products continued their steep descent with a 47% decrease in that same time period, while sales for ground, sea, and other R/C products decreased by 7% (compared to the 12.3%...

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