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.
Brand management and television production company Silver Lining Productions Ltd. has signed toy manufacturer Gund to create plush toys, outfits and soft accessories for their kids property OLIVIA, based on the book series by Ian Falconer. Other new licensees include The Alexander Doll Company, Inc. (Madame Alexander), which will be introducing a range of vinyl dolls, outfits and gift sets. Universe Publishing also joins the roster to create wall calendars based on the charismatic piglet.
The LEGO Company debuted action figures from the new series GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER DIMENSION at the 2002 Toy Fair. In 2001 LEGO announced a partnership with Canadian entertainment company, CinéGroupe, which gave LEGO full global merchandising rights to the television show, which is based on a story and characters developed by Tommy Lynch. The show blends live-action and animation and it premieres in the United States and Canada in February 2002.
Disney Interactive and Nintendo of America have entered into a licensing agreement to publish titles for Game Boy Advance. The first title under this agreement will be Disney's PETER PAN RETURN TO NEVER LAND, releasing in conjunction with the feature film Disney's RETURN TO NEVER LAND on February 15, 2002. Disney Interactive plans to publish several Game Boy Advance titles this year, including two based on the upcoming animated feature films, LILO & STITCH and TREASURE PLANET.
4Kids Entertainment International has signed a number of new licensees for its Japan-acquired CGI-animated series CUBIX ROBOTS FOR EVERYONE led by master toy licensee Trendmasters, with a collectible action toy line featuring interactive cards. The Character Group has been named the U.K. distributor and will be showcasing the line at the International Toy Fair in London in January 2002. Other licenses signed for the international market include 3DO (videogames) and Scholastic (publishing). CUBIX premiered in the U.S. August 2001 on Kids' WB! The show will debut in the U.K.
Under the terms of a recently announced worldwide licensing, Vivendi Universal Publishing's Knowledge Adventure studio will develop and publish BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS interactive entertainment products for the PC/Mac, console, handheld, PDA, wireless and Internet platforms beginning in fall 2002. The products will be distributed worldwide by Vivendi Universal Games.
Toy producer Rocket USA has teamed with Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising and Matt Groening to make a line of tin toys, games and collectibles based on THE SIMPSONS. The toy producer will introduce the line with an 8-1/2" tin walking wind-up version of Homer Simpson. The figure comes in collectible packaging and will carry a suggested retail price of $24.95.
Corus Entertainments Nelvana scored a slew of sales at this years NATPE show, including an output deal with Venezuelas Venevision for four shows per year plus first look options. Other programming deals saw ABC-TV Australia license seven shows including FRANKLIN THE TURTLE, LITTLE BEAR and BLAZING DRAGONS and Panamanian broadcaster FETV has agreed to a package deal of over 100 half-hours of animation.
Nelvana has acquired exclusive worldwide rights to produce a television series, made-for-video programs, theatrical motion pictures, and individual programs including made-for-television specials and movies, based on THE BERENSTAIN BEARS. Nelvana has already secured a relationship with Columbia Tristar to distribute THE BERENSTAIN BEARS videos in the United States; the first release is slated for 2003. In addition, Berenstain Enterprises, Inc. granted Nelvana worldwide merchandising and licensing rights.
Apparel brand and licensing company The Cherokee Group has agreed to represent DIC Entertainment's property LIBERTY'S KIDS and engineer strategic licensing agreements for the animated show. LIBERTY'S KIDS, an educational series depicting the events and people surrounding the United States' fight for independence, will debut in the fall of 2002 on PBS. The show will be airing a minimum of five days a week for two years. The series will feature personalities such as Walter Cronkite, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and Whoopie Goldberg in voice-over roles portraying historical figures.
Mattel Inc. and 4Kids Entertainment Inc. have signed a multi-year, worldwide licensing agreement, with the exception of Asia, naming Mattel the master toy licensee for 4Kids' YU-GI-OH! Mattel will be manufacturing and marketing, among other items, action figures, games, puzzles, role-playing products and youth electronics based on the animated property. The first YU-GI-OH! product line will be available in 2002.
In an interesting promotional partnership, Universal Studios Home Video (USHV) and Hop-On have partnered to launch the first-of-its-kind, disposable cell phone in connection with the DVD/home video release of JURASSIC PARK III on December 11, 2001. The "Jurassic Park Survival Cell Phones" will offer 60 minutes of prepaid calling time without the requirement of a cellular service contract or monthly fee and will be available only via inserts in thousands of JURASSIC PARK III DVDs and videocassettes. Compact and fully recyclable, the cell phones require only two buttons: CALL and END.
McFarlane Toys has acquired its third major sports license this year, this time to create McFarlane's Sports Picks: NBA Basketball collectible figures officially licensed by the National Basketball Association. McFarlane Toys, known for its ability to craft facial likenesses, hopes to bring a new level of detail to the figures representing some of the NBA's leading players. Each action figure will feature official team logos and colors, and come with authentic game apparel specific to that player. Additionally, each player will be sculpted in an action pose.
PorchLight Entertainment has completed negotiations with Penguin Putnam, Inc. and Modern Publishing to license its animated preschool property JAY JAY THE JET PLANE. Under the agreement, Penguin will develop and produce JAY JAY THE JET PLANE story books for the preschooler as well as a variety of novelty books. With a commitment to produce a minimum of eight books throughout 2002, Penguin will adapt story lines from Jay Jay's worldly adventures and include both a Christmas and a spring-themed adaptation.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Sanrio Company, Ltd. have entered into an agreement under which they will develop and launch co-branded merchandise featuring the popular characters Tweety and Hello Kitty. The agreement, which calls for merchandise to be sold exclusively at Sanrio locations throughout Japan and most of Asia, is the first time industry-leading companies have partnered to develop and market a co-brand featuring their popular characters. Merchandise featuring the new co-brand will launch in March 2002 in Japan.
The LEGO Company has partnered with Canadian entertainment company CinéGroupe and secured full global merchandising rights to the television show GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER DIMENSION. The show is scheduled to premiere in February 2002 on the Fox Kids Network in the U.S. and on YTV in Canada. The series GALIDOR: DEFENDERS OF THE OUTER DIMENSION is inspired by Web characters created by writer-creator-producer Tom Lynch, and combines live-action with computer-generated animation, 3D backgrounds and special effects.
Corus Entertainment's Nelvana has acquired all proprietary rights to BABAR. Laurent de Brunhoff, son of BABAR creator Jean de Brunhoff, made the deal through The Clifford Ross Company on behalf of the de Brunhoff family. The Nelvana acquisition includes 100 percent of all trademarks and copyrights to the BABAR property, as well as the de Brunhoff family's financial interests in the brand. The de Brunhoff family has reserved certain publishing rights, which will allow Laurent de Brunhoff to continue publishing his own BABAR books.
Taking a cue from such successful childrens programs turned stage shows like BARNEY and BLUES CLUES, one of TV's longest-running animated series, SCOOBY DOO comes to life. The live-action stage show SCOOBY-DOO IN STAGEFRIGHT - LIVE ON STAGE will debut on October 26, 2001 at the Palace Theater in Louisville, Kentucky. The live show is scheduled to perform in 28 cities throughout the United States and Canada.
California-based chain Ralphs Supermarket has partnered with Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, to allow its shoppers to earn free movie tickets to the animated feature MONSTERS, INC. based on their grocery purchases over a four-week period. From October 3 through October 30, 2001, Ralphs customers who accumulate $300 in grocery purchases using their Ralphs Club Card will earn two free tickets (adult matinee or child admission) to MONSTERS, INC. The free tickets may be used at any theater showing MONSTERS, INC. from November 2 to November 18, 2001.