For the first time, kids (and bigger kids) can truly join in the action of the next BATMAN animated series. Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) announced it has partnered with Mattel Inc. and VEIL Interactive Technologies to link action figure and vehicles with interactive television. The technology will be exclusive to WBCP and Mattel for 2004. VEIL (Video Encoded Invisible Light) technology transmits encoded digital data -- in the form of graphics, storyline components, gadgets and other features -- directly from show, which is captured by Mattel's new line of Batwave children's toys.
American Royal Arts has announced the very first release of signed original production artwork from Nickelodeon's SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS. The collection of cels and drawings are from various episodes, including the world premier releases of "Squidward, the Unfriendly Ghost" and "Jellyfish Jamboree." Each piece is hand-signed by the voice of SpongeBob -- Tom Kenny. American Royal Arts is offering original production drawings, original production cels, cel progressions and key master set-ups.
On March 3, 2004, the YU YU HAKUSHO fast food promotion began at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants nationwide. The promotion features character premiums based on the animated action series YU YU HAKUSHO that airs on Cartoon Network's Toonami block.
Oh, it's happy, happy, joy, joy time for Ren and Stimpy fans. Palisades Toys has announced the release of the anticipated line of Ren & Stimpy products, including articulated action figures, non-articulated pvc scenes and polystone mini busts. The first series of action figures will launch in the second quarter of 2004 and will include Ren, Stimpy, Mr. Horse and Shaven Yak. The second series will be released in the fourth quarter with the lineup yet to be determined.
Breakthrough Animation has awarded worldwide licensing representation for its animated series ATOMIC BETTY to Joy Tashjian Marketing Group LLC.
Breakthrough Animation Inc., the newly-established animation production, marketing and distribution division of leading Canadian producer Breakthrough Films & Television, recently signed Cartoon Network as the broadcast home for ATOMIC BETTY, in the U.S.
Following are breaking briefs filed by AWNs correspondent, Karen Raugust, from the 2004 American International Toy Fair in New York City.
Bandai America Inc., a subsidiary of the third largest toy company in the world, Bandai Co. Ltd, is unveiling its hot new toy lineup this weekend at the 2004 American International Toy Fair in New York City. The company has 13 huge brands of beloved and soon to be classic toys, as well as its entry into the popular collectible games category.
PBS Kids' math-mystery property CYBERCHASE has moved into brand activity high gear this spring, including new marketing dollars and licensees. With INTEL and JIF signing on as national underwriters of the series, the deal brings a variety of promotional opportunities and marketing dollars to the show. As part, national student contests, educational outreach programs, consumer promotions and events are in the works to focus nationwide attention on math literacy.
Running from February 9 - March 14, 2004, Burger King will offer 10 FAIRLY ODDPARENT toys featuring all of characters. Each toy will come with one of five online codes that unlock unique FAIRLY ODDPARENTS-themed digital prizes at www.burgerkingFOP.nick.com, including a mouse pointer, printable locker poster, wallpaper, 500 Nick Points and e-cards. In addition, kids who collect all five codes will get a limited edition screensaver.
Starting Feb. 6, 2004, McDonald's Happy Meals will feature six toy characters from Walt Disney's newest direct-to-video feature, THE LION KING 1 1/2, which will arrive in stores Feb.10, 2004. Featuring interactive technology, each toy opens its mouth, jaws or snout when tapped to playback a signature phrase or sound. The six Happy Meal toys include: Simba, Rafiki, Timon, Pumbaa, Mufasa and Ed.
Entertainment Rights Plc signed a number of significant licensing deals across its third party brands, demonstrating ERs ongoing commitment and strength in the licensing agency business.
TOKYOPOP Inc. and Sony Pictures Consumer Products have announced their latest joint venture will be Cine-Manga version of ASTRO BOY. Scheduled to hit shelves in August 2004, the book will be sheparded by the creative team behind the JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES Cine-Manga.
In conjunction with the upcoming live-action feature, Carlton Licensing has sealed deals for new THUNDERBIRDS merchandising. The most recent deal is with FOCUS DIY, featuring collectable THUNDERBIRDS rescue vehicles and badges. The promotion will raise funds for the Meningitis Trust. The badges will be available six months before the new movie hits theaters for a minimum donation of £1. The DIY chain has a long running partnership with the charity and hopes that the collectors badges will help raise more than £100,000 for the Meningitis Trust in 2004.
Entertainment Rights' top rating children's TV star, BASIL BRUSH, is teaming up with The Children's Society to help raise funds for the charity's work with disadvantaged kids via an exclusive two-year agreement with ER to produce four Basil Brush pin badges. The badges will sell for £1 each in high street retailers in the U.K.
LEGO Systems Inc. has partnered with Nickelodeon to create construction sets based on the hit preschool show on commercial television, DORA THE EXPLORER. Through the two-year partnership, LEGO Systems is looking to not only grow in the preschool category with the LEGO EXPLORE line of products, but also increase the construction toy options for all young children.
TOKYOPOP Inc. has announced its has awarded the RAVE MASTER master toy license to Hasbro. The toy maker is planning a comprehensive line of RAVE MASTER themed action figures, games and accessories, with the first wave hitting store shelves in the fall of 2004. The TV series is set to debut in the U.S. on Cartoon Network in 2004.
DIC Consumer Products and publishing powerhouse Penguin Group have reached the four million books sold mark from 15 STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE titles published in the U.S. in 2003.
Mattel Inc. has signed a deal with ShoPro Ent. for the master toy license to MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR. The franchise originated as a Capcom videogame series then became a long-running manga series. The TV series is garnering high ratings for the Kids' WB! Mattel has not yet announced any information regarding when the initial release of the new toy line will begin.
Burger King Corp., 4Kids Entertainment Inc. and Mirage Licensing Inc. will be bringing extreme sports themed TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES toys to kids meals. The promotion will run from Jan. 5 to Feb. 1, 2004 at participating Burger King restaurants. In addition, the companies have collaborated on a program to encourage kids to incorporate physical activity into their everyday lives, as part of a partnership with the President's Challenge, a program of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
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."