To blur the lines even more between marketing adult themes to children, the animated characters from SOUTH PARK will be appearing on condoms. Comedy Central has signed a deal with the U.K.-based Licensing Company to provide the faces of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny and Chef for Condomania prophylactics. The condoms will only be available in the U.K. for about US$20.
Disney has decided to divide its toy merchandising between rivals Hasbro and Mattel. Disney has had a long licensing relationship with Mattel, which now will only handle their preschool and plush toys, dolls, games and puzzles. Hasbro will handle the more lucrative toys, action figures and games portion of Walt Disney products.
ToyFare, a leading magazine about action figure collectibles, has put together a list of the best individual action figures of all-time. The October 2000 issue, on sale August 29, awarded 5 spots to Hasbro, with McFarlane Toys coming in second with 4 entries. "The list covers three decades of action figures," said editor Douglas Goldstein.
Europes top selling toy ACTION MAN has made it to American shelves. The entire Hasbro ACTION MAN toy line brings in US$300 million a year overseas and $1 billion in brand sales over the last five years. Various extreme sport versions of Action Man have hit the shelves along with his arch nemesis Dr. X. The figures range from $7.99 to $29.99. "Action Man has been huge overseas," said Perry Drosos, VP of U.S. marketing for ACTION MAN. "In fact, it has been the top-selling action figure line in Europe for several years. Right now, 80% of boys ages four to ten in the U.K.
MR Kinowelt Merchandising has nabbed the German-language merchandising rights to the highly anticipated fantasy trilogy THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The financial stats on the deal with New Line Cinema were not released. MR Kinowelt is made up of a joint venture between German indie distributor Kinowelt and MR Merchandising & Retail. The deal marks the first RINGS merchandising deal outside the States. The first film in the trilogy is scheduled to arrive in movie houses December 2001. Kinowelt is handling the release of all three pictures in Germany.
Disney has signed a new multiyear book licensing deal with Random House Inc. which sees the end to its 70-year relationship with Golden Books Family Entertainment. The golden spined children's books, which have graced the shelves of bookstores to grocery markets, will no longer feature Disney characters. The decision to sign with Random House came after the terms of their deal with Golden Books were not profitable. The financial terms of the five-year deal were not disclosed due to competitive reasons.
Mattel, Inc. has signed a new multiyear worldwide licensing pact with Nickelodeon to renew and expand its current toy license agreement. The deal will include toy categories such as action figures, dolls, plush toys, games, handheld games, puzzles, and infant and preschool products. Mattel now controls all properties from Nickelodeon's children's television programming services, as well as Nickelodeon's motion pictures division, Nickelodeon Movies. As part of the deal, Mattel will be the international toy licensee for Nickelodeon's RUGRATS and BLUE'S CLUES in more than 30 countries.
Hasbro has signed a multi-year deal with HIT Entertainment for the licensing rights to their successful toon, BOB THE BUILDER. The current BBC series is scheduled to debut on Nick Jr. sometime next year. BOB garners 52% of the pre-school audience in the U.K. for its time period. Last holiday season the toys based on the series sold out in the U.K. Hasbro hopes that the series will build the same kind of fan base in the States as other foreign imports have done recently. Currently, Mainframe is producing a series called ACTION MAN based off Hasbro's British toy line of the same name.
Rhino is releasing the action stuffed soundtrack to the POWERPUFF GIRLS. On July 18, 2000, "Heroes and Villains" will hit shelves with music performed by top alternative artists. Songs from the series and inspired by the Powerpuff Girls will be featured on the album. Artists such as David Byrne, Devo, Frank Black, Shonen Knife, Apples In Stereo, Optiganally Yours, Kormeda, Cornelius, The Sugarplastic, Dressy Bessy and Bis will be featured. Series creator Craig McCracken set out to find bands that inspire him to participate on the compilation.
The Harvey Entertainment Company and Felix the Cat Productions have come to a new corporate agreement to bring Harvey characters to Latin America. Harvey Entertainment has appointed Felix the Cat Productions, Inc. as their exclusive licensing agent for Latin America. In turn, Donald Oriolo, president & CEO of Felix the Cat Productions, and the other heirs of Casper creator Joseph Oriolo have turned over to Harvey all rights and claims to the trademarks and copyrights of the Casper character.
London-based publisher Dorling Kindersley has lost US$40 million on the book adaptation of STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE. The educational and CD-Rom publisher had 13 million of the STAR WARS books printed for last holiday season and sold fewer than 3 million copies. After the initial news was released earlier this year, shares plummeted 40% and CEO James Middlehurst resigned. Chairman and 30% shareholder Peter Kindersley has taken over the head position. An unnamed worker told the LONDON DAILY EXPRESS that founder Kindersley has "fallen victim to a terrible error of judgment." Mr.
Wolfmill Entertainment has signed a worldwide licensing deal with Living Toyz for a line of action figures based on Wolfmill's upcoming CGI animated feature film ELFQUEST. The fantasy-action film follows the journey of Cutter, a young elven chief, and his tribe across a hostile world to find a safe refuge. Before the theatrical release of ELFQUEST, Los Angeles-based Living Toyz will produce several sets of action figures based on the original ELFQUEST comic book designs by Warp Graphics.
Burger King, a leading hamburger chain, has decided to back RUGRATS IN
PARIS with a licensing campaign to coincide with the film's Thanksgiving
release. Burger joint cross promotion of films released in the holiday
season means big money for both parties. Burger King opted to work out a
deal with the Nickelodeon/Paramount sequel to RUGRATS: THE MOVIE, which it
backed in 1998, instead of DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS,
starring Jim Carrey. Insiders say Burger King may drop US$20 million into
The Harvey Entertainment Company and PG Capital, an apparel industry
investment company, have finalized a joint venture for a new apparel
company, Harvey Fashion LLC. The new company will be responsible for
manufacturing, selling and marketing a complete apparel collection, based
on the popular Harvey Classic Character library. Paul Guez will serve as
chairman of the board and CEO. The creation of Harvey Fashion LLC replaces
and extends the scope of an earlier Harvey apparel venture planned with
On Wednesday, December 26, 2000, a second child was reported to have
suffocated on Burger King's promotional POKEMON ball. The 4-month old,
Indianapolis, Indiana boy was found dead by his grandmother who left the
toy in the crib with the sleeping child. Millions of the toys were recalled
on December 11, 1999 after a Sonora, California girl was found in her
playpen with half the ball over her nose and mouth. U.S. federal officials
accused the Miami-based fast food chain of being too slow in recalling the
Cartoon Network, featured on Poland's Wizja TV, is the #1 rated channel on
the programming package and now Cartoon Network Magazine rules the
newsstand. The first issue sold over 500,000 copies making it the top
magazine in Poland. In just three days, the magazine sold out and
publishers ordered an immediate reprint. The Polish version of the mag with
comic strips, quizzes, posters and articles featuring Cartoon Net's legion
of toon heroes and heroines is based off the British version and is the
Is Pikachu anti-Semitic? The answer is no, even after questions to thecontrary circled when parents complained of a swastika-like symbolappearing on the Japanese language cards for Pokemon's Golbat and Ditto.These two cards, not yet released in the U.S. card collection, include aJapanese symbol called a "manji," which is a mirror image of a swastika.The symbol, however, is a centuries-old, Japanese symbol for good fortune.Not wanting to create any bad financial karma, Nintendo has announced thatit will discontinue the questionable cards.
The war between TOY STORY and POKEMON over kids' piggy bank change hasmoved to a new battle field -- the local burger joint! McDonald's Corp.,the U.S.-based, world-wide burger chain, has released TOY STORY 2 toys inconnection with the recently released film. The McDonald's promotion,featuring a collection of 20 different characters from the TOY STORY 2movie, will be distributed with each Happy Meal purchase. The chain willalso offer six TOY STORY 2-themed candy dispensers for $1.99 each with the
In continued coverage of the war to empty the pockets of the POKEMONpeople, Bandai America Incorporated, the company responsible for the PowerRangers and Tamogotchi virtual pets, unveiled a new line of toys based onthe POKEMON-like DIGIMON: DIGITAL MONSTERS, at an event held at FAO Schwarzin New York. Since the debut of the TV series in August on Fox Kids,DIGIMON has become the #1 ranked show in its time period among allcompetition with Boys 6-11. Kids can also visit the DIGIMON Web site which
Toronto-based toy maker Spin Master Toys has been awarded the master toy license by Venture Licensing of Canada and The Jim Henson Company to produce toys for the preschool children's television show JIM HENSON'S THE HOOBS. The agreement provides Spin Master the licensing rights to produce toys based on the five main characters: Iver, Tula, Groove, Roma and Hubba Bubba. JIM HENSON'S THE HOOBS is an innovative program mixing puppetry, animation and live-action. The program launched on the U.K.'s Channel 4 in January 2001 and currently airs in Canada on TVOntario.
Playmates Toys has acquired the licenseto create action figures based on the animated series THE SIMPSONS. Therewill be eight initial figures, including Homer, Bart, Lisa, Grandpa,Krusty, Mr. Burns, Moe, and Barney, which will all be part of the World OfSpringfield Intelli-Tronic line. Each figure will feature the voice of thecast member who plays the character on the show. There are also plans forthree dioramas, including The Simpsons' living room, Homer's work station
Walt Disney Records' DISNEY SWINGING CHRISTMAS is a collection ofholiday favorites performed by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. It includes "TheTwelve Days of Christmas," "Jingle Bells," "Nutcracker Medley" and "TheChristmas Song," among others. The compact disc is available now exclusively at The Disney Store and Disney Theme Parks for US$8.99. . . The TOY STORY 2soundtrack features songs and score by Randy Newman (TOY STORY, A BUG'SLIFE), and performances by Grammy Award-winning Sarah McLachlan,
On November 19, Tim Burton's first film since MARS ATTACKS!, SLEEPY HOLLOW, which features a CGI Headless Horseman created by Industrial Light & Magic, will be released. McFarlane Toys, the company responsible for the excellently crafted SPAWN action figures, is releasing several SLEEPY HOLLOW figures. The figures began appearing in retail stores the first week of November, including Toys 'R Us, KB Toys, comic book shops, Spencers, Musicland/Sam Goody, Electronics Boutiques, Babbages, and others.
Burger King, the US-headquartered fastfood chain, began offering Pokemon toys on November 8, 1999. The eight-weekpromotion includes 57 different toys in 56 days -- one with each kid'smeal. The toys, each of which are packed in a Poke Ball and include one of151 trading cards, is said to be the largest licensing effort ever forBurger King. The toys are part of the licensing for the feature filmPOKEMON: THE FIRST MOVIE which opens November 10, 1999. Consumers can alsopurchase one of six 23K gold plated trading cards for $1.99 with the
The fourth stamp in the Looney Tunes series, which will be releasedsometime next year by the US Postal Service, will feature two characterscreated by Chuck Jones for Warner Bros., Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.The Bugs Bunny stamp began the series in 1997, followed by the Sylvesterand Tweety stamp in 1998 and the Daffy Duck stamp in 1999. The lucklessgenius inventor, Wile E. Coyote, and his speedy nemesis, the Road Runner,have appeared together in more than forty cartoons since their debut film,FAST AND FURRY-OUS, was released in 1949.