A.D. Vision Inc. has officially announced the founding of ADV Toys, the firm's new merchandise division. Word of the new arm was first hinted at Anime Expo 2003. The new division will create toys and collectible merchandise based upon the company's film, manga and original content properties.
On August 16, 2003, U.S. postmaster general John E. Potter unveiled a new commemorative postage stamp honoring music legend Henry Mancini at the 2003 Mancini Musicale at UCLA. Stamp artist Victor Stabin's painting shows Mancini conducting as the titles of some of his most popular film and television projects appear to scroll over a screen behind him. Mancini created the theme for the PINK PANTHER and the stamp features the animated visage of the title character. The stamp is scheduled to be issued April 13, 2004.
LevyMann Entertainment has entered into an agreement with Toys "R" Us to release its direct-to-video, animated musical pre-school series, ITTY BITTY HEARTBEATS. As part of the deal, Toys R Us will also carry a combo pack featuring a VHS of four eleven-minute episodes, a musical CD and two plush toys of the series' lead characters, CoolHeart and SweetHeart. All products will be exclusive to all Toys "R" Us stores beginning October 21, 2003, before launching wide 30 days later.
Marx Toys and Entertainment Corp. has received its first order of 10,000 units for its revolutionary TOYWARE line from Hanan Enterprise Sales Inc. TOYWARE Interactive technology allows action figures to move and speak using interactive commands received wirelessly from a computer. This includes text-to-speech applications for Instant Messages, using the company's first product -- "The IM Buddy."
TOKYOPOP Inc. has inked a licensing deal with Sony Pictures Consumer Products to publish Cine-Manga based on JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES. Volume 1 will debut November 11, 2003 with two more coming sometime in January and April 2004. The series will bring the Kids' WB! TV series to readers on full-color pages with images pulled directly from animated TV series.
Boomerang has teamed with Sunkist Growers, Del Monte Fresh Produce and the National Watermelon Promotion Board to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables with an in-store Albertsons grocery store campaign entitled "The Wacky Days of Summer. The campaign will contain fruit-bin wraps, posters, grocery-bag stuffers, free fruit recipe and activity booklets and live weekend events in select Albertsons stores. The four-week campaign will run August 1 - September 30, 2003.
Simon Spotlight and Scholastic have announced they will each publish a line of books based on HIT Entertainment's new animated television series RUBBADUBBERS. Simon Spotlight will publish novelty and storybook formats and Scholastic will publish coloring and activity formats. The books will launch in the summer 2004 with Spotlight and Scholastic jointly coordinating sales and marketing efforts.
Kids WB! and Dimension Films are teaming up for a new contest in connection with the release of SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER. The 2nd Annual Kids' WB! Way Outta The Way Road Trip Sweepstakes will kick off on Monday, July 14, 2003, and will give one grand prize winner the chance to drive home in an Isuzu Axiom SPY Mobile - delivered by the stars of the film, Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara.
On the heels of the HULK movie release, Marvel Enterprises Inc. and X3D Technical Corp. have united in a strategic licensing agreement that grants X3D exclusive three-dimensional publishing rights to past and future Marvel comic books in CD-ROM formats Marvel ComX3D. For the first time, the agreement expands Marvel Comics' publication portfolio to be viewed in 3D on virtually any PC screen.
Leading childrens and family entertainment specialist, DECODE Entertainment in Toronto, has appointed Los Angeles-based The Sharpe Co. as worldwide licensing agent for its digital 2D animated preschool show FRANNY'S FEET. The series tells the exciting stories of a little girl whose fantastic feet take her on magical adventures when she tries on shoes in her grandfathers repair shop.
FRANNY'S FEET (13x22) has been commissioned by Channel Five in the U.K., ABC in Australia, France 5 and Teletoon in France, Discover UYK and Canada's TeleQuebec.
Nickelodeon comes to Licensing Show June 10-13, 2003 in New York City at the Javits Center to kick off licensing programs for its latest hit show FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, the upcoming SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE and RUGRATS spin-off, ALL GROWN UP. Nickelodeon will also expand its current roster with movie licensing plans for A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS as well as the introduction of TAK AND THE POWER OF JUJU and EVERGIRL, its first off-channel properties. Nickelodeon can be found at Licensing Show booth #1317.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Hasbro has filed a federal trademark lawsuit against cereal maker Kellogg Co., claiming a promotional FINDING NEMO game on boxes of Frosted Flakes copies Hasbro's MEMORY card game. The cereal boxes featured 16 cards picturing eight characters with instructions advising children to cut out the cards, lay them face down and flip them over trying to make pairs of the same character. Hasbro's MEMORY, which was trademarked in 1967, features the same rules. In addition, Hasbro is currently selling its own FINDING NEMO version of the game, which it has licensing approval with NEMO owners Walt Disney Co. and Pixar Animation. The toy maker is seeking a recall and impoundment of all Frosted Flakes boxes containing the game, in addition to unspecified damages.
Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures have crossed $100 million in promotional licensing support for RUGRATS GO WILD (opening June 13, 2003), which combines the worlds of Nick's TV hits THE RUGRATS and THE WILD THORNBERRYS. Companies promoting the new film include Burger King, Blockbuster, Quaker Oats, Embassy Suites Hotels, Skippy Peanut Butter, M&M Mars, Kid Cuisine, Sunkist and Valpak. Along with movie-themed toys, kids will be able to get scratch-and-sniff "Odorama" cards in Burger King's kids' meals from June 2-29. The smells on the cards correspond with scenes from the film. Starting June 15 and while supplies last, the cards will also be available at Blockbuster Video locations.
Walt Disney has announced that Disney Stores president Peter Whitford is stepping down and the firm is looking to sell its 548-store chain with locations throughout the U.S. and Europe. The retail stores have struggled in the past few years and U.S. stores have been downsized from 522 to 387. In 2001, Disney sold all its stores in Japan to Oriental Land Co., which runs the Tokyo Disney Resort theme park. However, Disney says it will hold onto the six Disney Stores in Hong Kong, in anticipation of the opening of Hong Kong Disney in the beginning of 2006.
London-based Entertainment Rights (ER), a leading media firm in the ownership and distribution of children's and family entertainment, has some good news and some bad news. ER has a distribution deal with Mattel Inc. for U.K. rights to the next Barbie CGI feature, BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE, but has also announced that Mattel will not be renewing the licensing agreement with ER subsidiary Link Licensing for the U.K. representation of certain non-doll Barbie merchandise and publications.
CinéGroupe has made its major theatrical project, P3K: PINOCCHIO 3000 available for licensing. Carlton consumer division is already onboard to handle licensing, theatrical, publishing, broadcast and video rights in the U.K.
In response to recent attention surrounding childhood obesity and lack of nutrition in school lunch programs, Nickelodeon and East Side Entrees have partnered to offer Nickelodeon-branded milk in school lunches nationwide starting in September 2003. The first character-licensed milk to be distributed nationally in schools, the milk cartons will display images from JIMMY NEUTRON, ROCKET POWER, THE WILD THORNBERRYS and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS. Flavored nutritionally fortified packaged milk products will be for kids 6-11, and milkshakes will be available for kids 11-17.
McFarlane Toys has created adult collectible figures based on the second and third installments of THE MATRIX trilogy, THE MATRIX RELOADED and THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS. On May 15, 2003, Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment, will release THE MATRIX RELOADED, the second installment of the Academy Award-winning blockbuster THE MATRIX. The third chapter, THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, will be released later in 2003.
Nickelodeon, and Lowe's, one of the largest home improvement retailers, hope to paint kids rooms Nick pretty for spring, launching the Nickelodeon paint collection, one of a series of American Tradition Signature Colors available in Lowe's stores in the U.S.
Reckitt Benckiser Inc., a leader in household products, recently announced a $22 million national marketing campaign featuring THE JETSONS cartoon characters, to support the launch of the company's new Electrasol Gelpacs an innovative breakthrough in automatic dishwashing detergent. The campaign highlights "Dishwashing made for the 21st Century" with a game featuring Rosie the robotic maid and THE JETSONS family. Promotion marketing agency EastWest Creative developed, designed and is executing promotional support for the game including print advertising, on-pack communications, point-of-sale, direct mail and fulfillment.
The premise of the game is that life in the 21st century is catching up to THE JETSONS' maid, Rosie especially dishwashing. When the Electrosol Gelpacs prove you don't need a robot to get dishes that sparkle, Rosie feels that she is no longer useful and runs away. Consumers help THE JETSONS find Rosie and win "Astro-nomical" prizes in the Electrasol Gelpacs "Find Rosie and Win" instant win game.
Spellbound Entertainment has granted an international toy license for its new pre-school property, THE KOALA BROTHERS, to leading toy company Hasbro Inc. The deal covers key merchandise categories including plush toys, figurines, play sets and Play-Doh. Items will be available in stores next year following the show's premiere on the BBC later this year.
Breaking into a cool new licensing category, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS is available now in an Ice Cream Parlor line from Breyers. Now fans who dig SpongeBob can dig into a bowl of vanilla-flavored ice cream with a caramel swirl and chocolate cookie dough pieces shaped like SpongeBob and his friend Patrick. Joining SpongeBob SquarePants ice cream is the Ice Cream Parlor Creamsicle.
International toy and game company University Games has formed an alliance with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create a number of JUSTICE LEAGUE products, based on the popular DC Comics comic book series and Cartoon Networks hit animated show that includes the worlds most powerful superheroes: BATMAN, SUPERMAN, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN, MARTIAN MANHUNTER, HAWKGIRL and THE FLASH.
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS is making a splash at Burger King restaurants in a nationwide kids meal promotion. The Bikini Bottom Bunch characters are available as eight toys plus Burger King's Chicken Tenders will come in fun star and lightning bolt shapes. The promotion runs in conjunction with Nickelodeon's SpongeBob's Lost Episode event that culminates Friday, March 21, 2003 at 8:00 pm when Nick airs "The Sponge Who Could Fly" episode. The toys feature popular SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS characters based on the television cartoon, including SpongeBob Silly Squirter, Swing Time Patrick, Jellyfish Fields, Plankton Bubble Up, Squirt N' Whistle Squidward, Plush Shakin' SpongeBob, Karate Chop Sandy and Gravity Defying Gary. Each toy comes with a clue card containing a SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS character riddle. Kids can wade through the riddle, figure it out then log onto www.Nick.com to answer the riddle to get digital SPONGEBOB trading cards. They can also enter a sweepstakes to win an exclusive, at-home SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS party for 25 people! Partygoers will view the SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS "Lost Episode" on the winner's new large-screen television. This promotion will be featured in kid-directed advertising, in-restaurant communication, a birthday mailer to Big Kids Club members and a micro site at www.burgerking.com. Big Kids can go to the micro site for interactive activities, downloadable screensavers and information about the eight fun SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS character toys. Nickelodeon, now in its 23rd year, has built a diverse, global business that includes television programming and production in the U.S. and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 86 million households. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. For more check out www.nick.com. Burger King Corp. and its franchisees operate more than 11,400 restaurants in all 50 states of the U.S. and 57 countries and territories around the world, with 91% of BURGER KING(R) restaurants owned and operated by independent franchisees. Burger King, founded in 1954, is owned by the equity sponsor group comprised of Texas Pacific Group, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Bain Capital.
Following on the heels of last week's announcement that YU YU HAKUSHO is moving to Cartoon Network's Toonami Block on March 3, FUNimation announced at the International Toy Fair in New York City it has awarded JAKKS Pacific the master toy license for YU YU HAKUSHO in North America. JAKKS Pacific will manufacture action figures, accessories and playsets based on the popular series from Japan that follows the adventures of 14-year-old Yusuke Urameshi, and expects to have product hit retail shelves by Q4 2003, in time for the Christmas season.