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.
Brown Shoe Company, Inc. has signed a licensing partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create four new footwear lines, featuring Looney Tunes characters Tweety and Taz, and the DC Comics super heroes, Superman and Supergirl. The launch of all four character lines is scheduled for the 2003 back-to-school season, and will include athletic and casual shoes, boots and slippers. Supergirl footwear will debut first, appearing at select retailers in spring 2003. Targeted to kids ages 3-7, the footwear lines will be available in children's sizes 9-3.
Tribune Entertainment and DIC have entered into an advertising sales and administrative alliance, where Tribune will exclusively handle all domestic barter sales activities, as well as oversee back room operational services, for DIC's domestic syndication division. Among the DIC properties for which Tribune will handle barter sales are DIC's programming blocks of FCC qualified educational and informational programming.
Toy manufacturer Hasbro, Inc. has scored a major coup in the licensing biz by extending its license with Lucas Licensing, Ltd., for the manufacture and distribution of STAR WARS toys and games for an additional ten years. Under the terms of the extension, the agreement is expected to run through 2018. The minimum guarantee payable to Lucas has also been reduced by $85 million to $505 million. Under its original 10-year deal, the minimum payment to Lucas was $590 million of which Hasbro has already paid $470 million.
Kidz Kraze International has been appointed licensee for THE SIMPSONS' inflatable figures, in a deal with FOX Licensing. In 2003, the company plans to launch the line of inflatables, including family members Homer, Bart, Marge, Maggie and Lisa, along with townspeople such as Mr. Burns, Krusty The Clown and Comic Book Guy. Kidz Kraze will feature THE SIMPSONS' inflatable figures at the New York International Toy Fair, February 16-19, 2003 in Room 554.
Sesame Workshop and Mervyn's department stores have entered into an exclusive agreement to bring merchandise featuring characters from SAGWA, THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT, a PBS KIDS' series, to Mervyn's 264 stores. From January to March 2003, the retailer will feature SAGWA characters on children's products such as bedding, clothing, plush and watches. A percentage of the proceeds of all SAGWA merchandise sold will support Sesame Workshop educational programs around the world.
Marvel Enterprises and video game publisher Activision, Inc. have signed a multi-year extension for their current video game licensing agreements, expanding their strategic alliance. The expanded agreements grant Activision the exclusive rights to develop and publish video game products based on Marvel's comic book franchises SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR and IRON MAN through the year 2009.
FUNimation Productions, Ltd. has awarded JAKKS Pacific, Inc. the master toy license for DRAGON BALL, DRAGON BALL Z and the forthcoming DRAGON BALL GT. JAKKS will develop, manufacture and distribute action figures, action figure accessories and vehicles based on these animated series. The company, which acquired the license after original rights holder, Irwin Toy, Ltd., announced bankruptcy in early December 2002, signed a 3-year license for the DRAGON BALL brands and expects to show new products as early as the New York International Toy Fair in February 2003.
The animated adventures of MR. BEAN is heading to Scandinavia. The 26 x 30-minute series has been sold to SVT, Sweden and YLE, Finland by Fremantle International Distribution, which distributes both the original live-action series and the animated series. SVT will start to broadcast the series on December 23, 2002 and it will run through early February. The series launch date on YLE is still to be announced. MR.
The Eskimo that has had a place on the tail of all Alaska Airlines aircraft for over a quarter century is stepping down from one plane to make room for some popular Disney characters. Alaska Airlines has launched the "Spirit of Disneyland" Boeing 737-400 aircraft, which features the faces of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy painted on a bright blue background.
Following the Asian programming markets DICON / BCWW in South Korea and Asia Television Forum (ATF) in Singapore, Germany's EM.TV & Merchandising AG has reported strong sales of children's programming across Asia for both home video and broadcast. EM.TVs animation portfolio proved popular in China, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. EM.TV sold television and home video rights of the second season of MAYA THE BEE and the first two seasons of TABALUGA to Kiet Tuong Advertising in Vietnam.
Tokyopop Releases Two New Cine-Manga Based On Disney Series. U.S. manga publisher TOKYOPOP continues its relationship with Disney with the release of two new Cine-Manga series for Disney's original television series LIZZIE MCGUIRE and KIM POSSIBLE. Each will launch as part of TOKYOPOP's developing Cine-Manga family, which currently includes CARDCAPTORS and the forthcoming AKIRA.
Raven Moon Entertainment, a producer of childrens programming based in Orlando, Florida, is offering U.S. network affiliates and independent television stations the opportunity to telecast up to six airings of 13 episodes of its preschool series GINA DS KIDS CLUB at no charge. In addition, Raven Moon will make participating stations profit participants in all licensing and merchandising revenue.
U.S. manga publisher Tokyopop, in association with Disney Publishing Worldwide, will bring one of TV's hottest animated series to the world of graphic novels with the publication of an authentic DIGIMON manga. The DIGIMON animated series currently airs in the U.S. on the ABC Network, and follows seven ordinary kids who gain "digivices" that transport them into the Digital World. Once there, they make companions called Digimon, and must battle evil Digimon monsters.
Corus Entertainment's Nelvana put the wrap on MIPCOM 2002 with a number of new sales and renewals for its kids' brands and programs. BEYBLADE continued to be a popular property for the company and was snapped up by the UK's terrestrial broadcaster Five TV (formerly Channel 5), which licensed 51 episodes of the series for debut in November 2002. BEYBLADE currently airs in the UK on Cartoon Network UK. Nelvana also completed video and DVD deals for BEYBLADE and MEDABOTS in the UK with Contender Entertainment Group, which set the titles for a release date of December 2, 2002.
Latin American distribution specialist Salsa Entertainment returned from MIPCOM 2002 with a slate of program sales for the Latin American region. The Salsa Entertainment catalogue features award-winning products from well known international producers and distributors including TV-Loonland, Scholastic Entertainment, Decode Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company.
peppermint, the worldwide distribution company that has recently undergone a management buy out from Germany's Helkon Media AG, has signed a deal with Spanish production and distribution company BRB to distribute over 230 hours of programming to all Asian territories. peppermint, who will also handle Australia and New Zealand for BRB, will have exclusive distribution rights for 20 different series, each consisting of 26 x 26-minute episodes, plus 14 related features each with a running time of 75 minutes.
Cinar's library of over 2,200 half-hours of family programming will soon be traveling to new territories thanks to a distribution agreement with VGI Entertainment Ltd., a UK-based distribution company. Under the terms of the deal, VGI will distribute Cinar titles such as CAILLOU, ARTHUR, MONA THE VAMPIRE and THE BUSY WORLD OF RICHARD SCARY in sub-Saharan Africa. "We are very pleased to add VGI's expertise and knowledge to the Cinar team," said Louis Fournier, head of distribution for Cinar. "We are confident that our fascinating cast of characters will find a welcome home in Africa.
4Kids Entertainment has signed an agreement with DreamWorks Records to release an album based upon the music in the YU-GI-OH! animated television series. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the album, titled YU-GI-OH!: MUSIC TO DUEL BY, will be available at retail on October 29, 2002. The album will contain the YU-GI-OH! theme songs as well as orchestral passages and other songs from the television series. Also on the album will be some new music scheduled to be included in future episodes of YU-GI-OH!
Buena Vista International Television has licensed its 'Classic Treasures' package to a number of key broadcasters across the Asia Pacific region for telecast on terrestrial television for the first time. The collection, which includes A BUG'S LIFE, MULAN, POCAHONTAS, TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2 will air on the Seven Network in Australia, TVNZ in New Zealand and on the Media Corp-owned Channel 5 in Singapore.
Nickelodeon has agreed to license several of its popular cartoon properties to niche-market peripheral company KidzMouse. Several new KidzMouse computer mouse designs, sold under the "Nickelodeon by KidzMouse" name and based on Nick cartoon series, will debut in time for the holiday 2002 retail season. KidzMouse, is a "Kid-Friendly Computer Mouse" about half the size of a regular computer mouse with a squeezable "head" that replaces normal mouse buttons. The product is designed to make computers accessible and enjoyable for young computer users.
Egmont Imagination has signed an exclusive worldwide direct marketing agreement with Readers Digest to distribute THE FAIRYTALER on video and DVD. Launched this week at MIPCOM Jr., THE FAIRYTALER is a 26 x half-hour animated series that newly illustrates Hans Christian Andersens classic tales, which include THE UGLY DUCKLING, THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, THUMBELINA and THE LITTLE MERMAID. The series is a co-production between Magma Film, Egmont Imagination and fellow Danish companies A. Film and Danmarks Radio, as well as Germany's Super RTL.
The U.S. Supreme Court now has the task of determining the legality of the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), a 1998 law that extended millions of existing copyrights by an additional 20 years. On Wednesday, October 9, 2002, the court will hear arguments in the matter of Eldred v. Ashcroft, which seeks to overturn the act on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. At the time of its enactment, the CTEA became known as the "Mickey Mouse Extension Act" because of aggressive lobbying by Disney.