McFarlane Toys and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have joined forces to create action figures based on Warner Bros. Pictures' highly anticipated second and third installments of THE MATRIX Trilogy -- THE MATRIX RELOADED and THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, both slated for release in 2003. Action figures based on the films will debut in conjunction with each film's release. McFarlane Toys is working closely with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to determine which characters will become action figures.
In a considerable licensing deal, Cartoon Network has acquired over 600 half-hours of programming from Warner Bros. International Television Distribution to air on Cartoon Network UK. "In a fiercely competitive market, this is a major boost for Cartoon Network. With these titles added to our formidable library plus other Cartoon Network productions, co-productions and acquisitions, we have an unbeatable line up," said Finn Arnesen, vice president of programming, acquisitions and development for Cartoon Network, Europe.
Barcelona-based Grupo Neptuno has completed a major deal with Basque television producer Euskal Irrati Telebista (ETB) for the distribution of its catalogue worldwide, excluding Latin America and Spanish-speaking stations in the United States. ETB's complete line up of more than 1,000 hours of documentaries, entertainment, animation, feature films and live-action series will join Grupo Neptuno's existing catalog, which includes the preschool series CONNIE THE COW, distributed by AAC Kids and TV-Loonland, and the Flash animated series 2020, a co-production with Megatrix.
Manga publisher Tokyopop has acquired publishing rights to the highly popular manga series LUPIN THE 3RD and the movie books for Katsuhiro Otomo's AKIRA. Tokyopop plans to publish the LUPIN THE 3RD series in its original right-to-left format, while AKIRA will join the company's growing catalog of "Cine-Manga" titles (digitally captured screen stills laid out in a storyboard format). With titles in its catalog including SAILOR MOON, GUNDAM WING, INITIAL D, REAL BOUT HIGH SCHOOL and COWBOY BEBOP, Tokyopop also publishes several hit properties based on popular Cartoon Network and Kids!
Gullane Entertainments popular childrens property THOMAS & FRIENDS, has now been translated into Spanish and Portuguese and will be seen in eighteen countries across Central and South America including Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico, and throughout The Caribbean. The series launched in early July 2002 on Discovery Kids Latin Americas newly expanded pre-school block.
British animation producer, tv4c, has seen its pre-school animation series, BUSY BUSES, picked up by two regional terrestrial broadcasters in Japan for their autumn schedules. The 26 x 5-minute series is also currently airing daily on Kids Station, Japans biggest childrens satellite broadcaster and is enjoying its second run on EBS, Korea and ABC, Australia. BUSY BUSES will return to Living TV in the UK in September 2002 for a six month run.
Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products and Mattel, Inc. have announced a comprehensive, multi-year agreement that grants Mattel the master toy licenses for several of Warner Bros. core franchises including LOONEY TUNES, BABY LOONEY TUNES, BATMAN, SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Mattel will develop and market products such as vehicles, action figures, playsets, plush, games, puzzles, dolls, adult collectibles and other categories based on the properties.
Although DreamWorks has only recently begun production on its upcoming animated features SHREK 2 and SINBAD, it has been hard at work forging a strategic worldwide promotional partnership with consumer food products giant General Mills. The multiple-picture relationship will span several theatrical animated releases and home videos, including the July 2003 release SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS and the sequel SHREK 2, scheduled for 2004 release. Promotional programs will be created for numerous food product categories.
Disney has partnered with Hasbro, Inc. to bring the popular characters from Disney's summer hit LILO & STITCH to stores. The unruly alien is captured in numerous ways including SPITTIN' STITCH with "real spitting action" created by holding him underwater to fill him up, then squeezing him, ELECTRONIC EXPERIMENT 626 STITCH has electronic features which allow Stitch to make laser sounds and speak "alien." And if you want to transform an alien into a pet, the 2-in-1 SWITCHIN' STITCH turns Stitch from outlaw alien experiment into a family pet.
At the recent LicensingShow 2002 in New York, Canadian children's programmer Cinar signed onnew licensing partners for its award-winning preschool seriesCAILLOU. Handcraft will launch a line of boys and girls underwearfeaturing CALLIOU characters and stationery supplier MeadWestvacowill be supplying CAILLOU wall calendars for 2004. Rand will belaunching a line of sporting goods which will include CAILLOU bikes &accessories, Trudeau will supply a brand new CAILLOU line of melamine
DecodeEntertainment Inc. has appointed The Sharpe Company as theinternational licensing agent for its new 3D animated preschoolseries THE SAVE-UMS! The series is scheduled to debut in February2003 as part of Discovery Kids new "Ready, Set, Learn" programmingblock on TLC and Discovery Kids Channel in the U.S. and on CBCCanada. Sharpe, current licensing agent for properties such asHUMPHREY'S CORNER and THUNDERBIRDS, will license THE SAVE-UMS! in allterritories outside North America.
CorusEntertainment's Nelvana has signed up new licensees for some of itskey kids' properties. Saban Consumer Products Europe, the consumerproducts division of Fox Kids Europe, has signed a pan-Europeanlicensing agreement for the animated series BRACEFACE. The three-yearagreement covers 16 European territories and 21 categories includingapparel, cosmetics, toys, stationery, music and multimedia. Theagreement expands the existing relationship between the two companies
DreamWorks SKG and Hasbro, Inc. have announced that Hasbro willproduce a line of G.I. JOE Adventure Team figures based on theupcoming DreamWorks animated feature SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVENSEAS, scheduled for release in May 2003. To support the movie, Hasbrowill offer the new line of G.I. JOE Adventure Team featuring Sinbadbattling mythological monsters. The 12" action figure line willinclude Sinbad vs. The Roq, a monstrous bird of prey; Sinbad vs.Serpens, a dragon-like sky serpent; and Sinbad vs. Scorpious, a
Family media company Big Idea will be at this week's Licensing Show 2002 in New York to announce THE BOB & LARRY MOVIE, its second animated feature film, currently in pre-production. The film tells the story of the popular VEGGIETALES characters Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. Big Idea has already locked in many licensees for its first animated feature film, JONAH: A VEGGIETALES MOVIE, set for release on October 4, 2002 from Artisan's FHE Pictures.
Licensing 2002 International is the annual trade show for the multi-billion dollar worldwide business of consumer product licensing, marketing and merchandising and the show continues to be the most important marketplace for concepts and creative ideas related to the biggest brands in the world. It is held June 11-13, 2002 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Here is a preview of just a few of the major animation-related products that will be showcased at Licensing 2002. For more information visit www.licensingshow.com.
Mattel Masters He-Man
At the 2002 Licensing Show held June 11-13, 2002 in New York City, Mainframe Entertainment Inc. will present licensing opportunities for their new CG animated series, Tony Hawk's FEASTERS. Mainframe and skateboarding sensation Hawk are developing the series, which targets boys aged 11 to 14.
Corus Entertainments Nelvana has recently licensed a slew of animated series to broadcasters in a number of countries. Spain's Luk Entertainment picked up BRACEFACE, CYBERCHASE and SEVEN LITTLE MONSTERS, while RTP (Portugal) took BRACEFACE along with MEDABOTS, MAGGIE AND THE FEROCIOUS BEAST, MAX & RUBY and TIMOTHY. Globo TV in Brazil has licensed FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, RESCUE HEROES and BEYBLADE, which has also been acquired by TF1 Video. Hungary's Minimax picked up ROLIE POLIE OLIE and the first two seasons of BRACEFACE and FRANKLIN for the Minimax block on Romania's ProTV.
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. is previewing two distinct new properties this June at the Licensing Show 2002. The preschool series WUBBIES was developed by John Martin Mokrenko and Christine Usvaltas, and Mainframe Entertainment will bring the cast of furry Wubbies to life. Joy Tashjian, president of Joy Tashjian Marketing Group, Mainframe's agency of record for property representation will be promoting the product line potential of this property at this year's Licensing Show in New York.
JAKKS Pacific, Inc. has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to create a Nickelodeon-branded TV Games product line. TV Games is a new plug and play 8-bit gaming system utilizing a television set, and will be developed and marketed through JAKKS' subsidiary Toymax International. Players plug the hand-held TV Games system into any standard television and then have 10 video games in one compact, portable controller. No game console, or other software or hardware, is required. JAKKS intends to develop Nickelodeon TV Games and launch the products in mid-2003.
The summer blockbuster licensing frenzy has begun! Food manufacturing giant General Mills is launching special-edition products based on STAR WARS: EPISODE II "ATTACK OF THE CLONES," including limited edition STAR WARS: EPISODE II cereal. The sweetened corn puff cereal features seven different marshmallow shapes representing STAR WARS characters and objects including a Clone Trooper, red and blue lightsabers, Yoda, R2-D2, the starship Slave I and the Jedi Starfighter.
Instead of Boardwalk and Park Place you'll find The Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus in the new Spider-Man Collector's Edition MONOPOLY Game. Based on the comic book series, USAOPOLY has launched their collectible MONOPOLY board game in conjunction with the release of the live-action film SPIDER-MAN. The customized game board features classic Marvel artwork of 22 of Spider-Man's enemies, including Mysterio, Sandman, Scorpion, Electro and Jackal. Players can choose to be one of six SPIDER-MAN themed playing pieces including Peter Parker, Spider-Man, Spidey's web shooter and The Green Goblin.
European animation studio Varga, which owns the Hungarian TV, video and DVD rights for the animated MR. BEAN, has concluded a deal with RTL Klub Hungary to air the 52 x 11-minute series, making it the first country to air the series outside the UK. MR. BEAN premiered in Hungary on April 6, 2002 and will air weekly. Varga has over 420 crew working on the animated MR. BEAN, making it one of the largest animation series currently in production in Europe. Vargas Alexei Alexeev is the series director for the Tiger Aspect, Richard Purdum and Varga co-production.
UK distribution and merchandising company Entertainment Rights plc has signed a raft of licensees for the Tiger Aspect production of the animated MR. BEAN, including Downpace for plush, Danilo for greeting cards and Smith and Brooks for apparel. The first phase of product roll out will focus on establishing the MR. BEAN brand, targeting the gift market using the characters of Mr. Bean and his sidekick Teddy. An exclusive range of products is due to launch at UK department store chain Marks & Spencer's in June 2002.
Loonland Merchandising has signed licensing agreements with several companies to manufacture and distribute merchandise based on the TV-Loonland property CRAMP TWINS. Distribution Network Company (DNC), creator of merchandise for shows like THE SIMPSONS, SOUTH PARK and STAR TREK, will be producing apparel based on the slick look of Lucien and Wayne Cramp, while DNC subsidiary Trademark Toys is creating toys only a Cramp Twin could love including water guns, boxing gloves, artificial slime and artificial snot.
Gullane Entertainment has signed two new licensing agreements for its popular children's property THOMAS & FRIENDS. Children's clothing manufacturer Bentex will develop a full children's apparel line and North American footwear importers E.S. Originals will develop a THOMAS & FRIENDS line of children's footwear. Both lines will be available in fall 2002.