LevyMann Entertainment has announced a five-year joint venture with New York-based Grosset & Dunlap, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, to produce a new line of childrens books based on the ITTY BITTY HEARTBEATS series. The books will be released worldwide beginning with a limited release in the fall of 2004 and expanding into a full release in 2005.
Toymaker Playhut has entered the electronic toy and electronic plush market as well as expanded its offerings in slumber furnishings. The firm enters the electronic toy arena with the launch of EZ Reader, an electronic book that offers animation, narration, music and user interactivity. The initial EZ Reader electronic books will feature the company's proprietary LITTLE SIGNZ, an animated series that takes 3-7 year-old viewers into a magical urban world where traffic signs come to life to portray stories about safety, cooperation and the environment.
The U.S. Postal Service unveiled four new commemorative postage stamps on Dec. 30, 2003 that celebrate friendship as portrayed by the Walt Disney studio, honoring some of the most beloved animated characters in the history of American entertainment.
The Art of Disney: Friendship stamps feature several world-famous friends: Goofy, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck; Bambi and Thumper; Simba and his father, Mufasa; and Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio. The Postal Service will issue the 37-cent, self-adhesive stamps in summer 2004.
Sanetta Textilwerk Gebrüder Ammann GmbH & Co. KG has acquired a worldwide license for childrens fashions featuring Greenland dragon Tabaluga from EM.TV & Merchandising AG. The NEW TABALUGA collection will appear in stores in time for autumn/winter 2004.
TokyoPop has announced that it will be the first manga publisher to have titles carried at mega-retailer Wal-Mart. The initial test will be in 100 stores across the U.S. As well department store Fred Meyer and discount chain ShopKo have agreed to sell TokyoPop titles in a select amount of their stores. This adds to the Nov. 2003 launch of special TokyoPop manga displays in Barnes & Noble and Sam Goody. This continues ceo/cco Staurt Levys goal of putting a TokyoPop manga in the home of every American.
eigoMANGA has launched a new line of anime inspired clothing. Fashion designer Kayo Mitsuyama has agreed to be the exclusive licenser of clothing for eigoMANGA.
Mitsuyama said, "I had always dreamed to wake up as a foxy strong anime heroine in a great costume. I see many intersections between fashion and anime. It presents reality and non-reality. What I would like to present in my fashion is a bridge between those two worlds. A lot of people wish to be a different person or character each day and what you wear can make it happen without changing your own personality."
Entertainment Rights announced a deal with GE Fabbri to license the rights to the animated MR BEAN series, produced by Tiger Aspect Productions, for a partwork title. Partworks are a limited-run series of magazines, sold weekly or fortnightly, designed to be collected and kept. MR BEAN'S AMAZING A TO Z will have Mr. Bean help children explore the world through the use of the alphabet. GE Fabbri undertook a regional market test in September 2003, with a full U.K. National roll-out of 52 issues commencing on Jan. 7, 2004. Each issue will sell for £1.85.
DIC Home Entertainment (DIC) and KOCH Entertainment, in partnership with American Greetings, has announced that the STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE Christmas music CD, BERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS, has sold more than 100,000 units in one month in release. For the week of Dec. 1, 2003, the CD finished #7 in the Billboard childrens record charts. The CD also broke into the Top 20 of all Independent Label releases landing at #12.
Tiger Aspect Productions has signed a raft of broadcast and licensing agreements with international partners who for animated MR BEAN, extending the popular character and his outlandish adventures to new markets around the world.
The propertys U.S. and Canadian licensing agent The Sharpe Company has negotiated a deal with Toy Play to launch an innovative figural toy range to the mass and specialty retail market. Cinder Block, a well-known adult/youth apparel vendor, has signed for T-shirts and sweatshirts.
LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. has teamed with Disney Publishing Worldwide to bring Disney character to its LeapPad Learning System. Children place the Disney books on the LeapPad player, pop in the cartridge and touch any page with the Magic Pen to have LeapFrog read the words. These books also work with the LeapPad Plus Writing Learning System and the Quantum Pad Learning System.
Walt Disney Pictures and McDonald's have teamed up to bring THE HAUNTED MANSION movie to Happy Meals. Launching Nov. 26 and running until Dec. 18, Happy Meals will feature six different toys from the movie including Ramsley's Trunk, Zombie Surprise, Madame Leota, Singing Bust, Gracey's Camera and Mortifying Mirror.
Kellogg Company have partnered with Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures and Imagine Entertainment for the promotion of the family film, DR. SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT, which opens in theaters Nov. 21, 2003. As part of the deal, Kelloggs will release for a limited time a CAT IN THE HAT cereal and Pop-Tart.
As part of its larger holiday season promotional push, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. will give one lucky consumer $1 million as part of its "PlayStation's Million Reasons to Play PlayStation 2 Combo Pack $1 Million Giveaway." Customers can enter by supplying the serial number from their new PlayStation 2 Combo Pack online at www.us.playstation.com by Jan. 16, 2004. A winner will be randomly chosen on Jan. 26, and presented with a check for a one-time payment of $1 million dollars by the beginning of March 2004.
Worldwide licensing agent, The Sharpe Co., has negotiated a number of licensing partners for DECODE Entertainments 3D animated pre-school show, THE SAVE-UMS!
New licensing and merchandising partners include Copyright Promotions Group in the U.K., France, Spain, Portugal, the Benelux territories and Italy; Licensing Works in Australia and Newman International in New Zealand. Plus Licens is a licensing partner for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe with the company also picking up merchandising rights for Scandinavia.
DIC Consumer Products has significantly expanded its licensing/merchandising programs across Europe, Latin America, Australia, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East to gear up for the international launches of kids entertainment brands, including STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, MADELINE and SUPER DUPER SUMOS.
ADRtists will premiere PLAY IT AGAIN, MOM!, a CD collection of radio plays for children 4-8, at the October Women In Animation (WIA) L.A. General Meeting. Receiving volunteers from WIA writers and voice artists, the project was originally designed to create the CD for entertaining seriously ill and bedridden children. Some of the initial costs were covered by various individuals and the WIA Los Angeles Chapter. To cover the final cost of production and distribution, the CDs will be sold to the public.
Carlton International announced it would oversee the development of a range of licensed products to coincide with the recently announced remake of the popular 1960s Supermarionation show, CAPTAIN SCARLET. Licensing activity will focus around the revamped cast of characters and vehicles. The Carlton Consumer Division will be handling all video/DVD opportunities as well as a full cross-category range of merchandise led by an interactive deal to be commissioned by show creator Gerry Anderson.
4Kids Entertainment and Playmates Toys will be presenting the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Training Event on Saturday, October 25, 2003 at Wal-Mart stores across the U.S., giving kids the opportunity to role-play one of their favorite heroes. Kids will be able to train with motion-activated toys that resemble Leonardo's sword, Michelangelo's nunchaku, Donatello's bo staff or Raphael's sai. Upon completing their training, students will be declared an "official" Ninja Warrior and the first 250 participants at each store will receive a certificate proclaiming them a member of Team Green.
Mel Blanc, the master of multiple animated stars such as Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig is being honored, along with his son, in a limited-edition lithograph featuring Warner Bros. characters that Blanc helped make famous.
The poster-size "Passing the Baton: A Tribute to Mel and Noel Blanc" lithographs are numbered, signed and will be personalized by his son, Noel Blanc, who continues his fathers legacy. Produced by Warner Bros. for Great American Ink, the lithos cost $495 (www.cartoongallery.com).
Personal Products Co. and 4Kids Ent. have struck a licensing deal to bring the YU-GI-OH! characters to REACH brand toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has awarded the Master Toy License for MUCHA LUCHA! to JAKKS Pacific Inc, which plans to develop products including action figures, play sets, role play and plush. JAKKS expects to present the initial line at the Fall Mass Market Expo in New York in October 2003, with shipping to begin spring 2004.
Kids' WB! has announced its support for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) VERB campaign, which encourages youth, ages 9-13, to get physically active. Kids' WB! will lend characters from its body-based TV series, OZZY & DRIX. The Warner Bros. Animation-produced series follows the adventures of white blood cell cop Ozzy and his partner, over-the-counter cold pill Drix, as they defend the City of Hector -- the body of a 13-year-old boy.
Characters from ShoPro Entertainment's series HAMTARO will be featured as Halloween toys at Burger King restaurants. The toys will be available in North America from Oct. 6 to Nov. 2, 2003. This promotion will coincide with a special Halloween episode of the series airing in the U.S. on Cartoon Network Oct. 21 at 8:00 pm and Oct. 30, 2003 at 8:30 pm.
Embassy Suites Hotels and Warner Home Video have announced a licensing promotion entitled, "Fall Family Suite Retreat," featuring a plush toy of Scooby-Doo. The promotional toy is available with advance reservations on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights now through December 7, 2003, at more than 165 participating hotels.