MGA Entertainment Marvels at New Deal
MGA Entertainment has been given the green light by Marvel Entertainment, Inc.,to create a range of Marvel Superhero products in the die-cast andremote-control vehicle categories. The agreement covers the classic comic booklook of the characters; upcoming Marvel-inspired films, including Ghost Riderand Spider-Man 3; and Marvel?s preschool property, Spider-Man & Friends.Initial products in the RC category will begin hitting retail immediately.
USCPG Seeks Partners for Two Properties
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is pursuing apparel licensees for thenew animated television series, The Land Before Time, and the classic bookproperty, ?The Little Engine That Could.? The Land Before Time will air onCartoon Network in 2007 in a combination of 2-D animation and 3-D backgrounds.In September 2005, Philomel books, an imprint of the Penguin Young ReadersGroup, published a new edition of ?The Little Engine That Could,? illustratedby painter Loren Long. The new edition continues to be on The New York TimesBook Review Children?s Best Sellers List. Other categories up for grabsinclude: preschool toys, apparel, accessories, interactive games, collectibles,fine art, home furnishings, health and beauty aids, food and beverages, gifts,stationery products, and wireless communication devices and accessories.
Children?s Apparel Network to Support Angelina Ballerina
HIT Entertainment is expanding Angelina Ballerina?s dance card, signing onChildren?s Apparel Network for a line of apparel sets and separates due inthird quarter 2006. Currently Children?s Apparel Network serves as apparelpartner for HIT?s Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, and The Wigglesproperties.
New Video Series Aimed at Female Anime Fans
VIZ Media, LLC, expanded its Shojo Beat imprint with the launch of Shojo BeatHome Video, an anime series aimed at female fans in North America. The firsttitle will be Full Moon, a bittersweet tale of puppy love, tragedy, andaspirations to pop star fame. The first DVD volume of the new series, ?I Wantto Sing,? will contain four episodes (suggested retail, $24.98) and will be onshelves June 27 with future volumes to be released quarterly. A special previewdisk containing the first episode of Full Moon will be included as a freepremium in the June 2006 issue of Shojo Beat magazine on sale May 16.
Mighty Fine Extends Reach for Hot Properties
Mighty Fine signed several new license deals for Bad Cat, taking the propertyinto the New Zealand, Australian, and UK markets and providing an aggressivepush with mass retailers. Domestic expansion includes deals with MeadWestvacoCorp. for back-to-school stationery; Trends International for posters and wallcalendars; and American Greetings for cards, bags, and wrapping paper forlaunch in the third and fourth quarters. The company also plans to expand itswatch and clocks business with Wal-Mart, eyeing other departments such asaccessories, sleepwear, and apparel. Licensees are being sought for sleepwear,intimates, hosiery, loungewear, knit tops, and bags in both domestic andinternational markets.
Mighty Fine also has big plans for French Kitty, securing partnerships with twointernational consulting firms to extend the franchise into new markets. Thecompany tapped Red Star Asia Pte Ltd. to focus on opportunities in GreaterChina and Southeast Asia, while Jane Evans Licensing Consultancy will managethe brand for the UK.
WPT Enterprises Raises Licensee Roster
WPT Enterprises, Inc., is raising the stakes on its licensing push, adding 14licensees with products due in the U.S. in time for Father?s Day. Among the newpartners: PixelPlay with interactive set-top box TV games; Oakley with pokersunglasses; AMF Billiards with poker tables; Bev Key with aluminum keychain/bottle openers; Die Cast Promotions with die-cast trucks; Head West withdecorative mirrors for bar or game rooms; Imperial Rubber Holdings with arolled, rubber-backed washable poker play mat; Notra Trading with bedding,towels, and housewares; Nostalgia Art with limited-edition artwork; PacificSportswear with wristbands, headbands, and rubber bracelets for charity; SternPinball with pinball machines; Talexia with cell phone charms; and Two DogDesigns with barbecue covers.
New Deal Fortifies Apparel Presence for AND 1
AND 1 entered into a long-term apparel licensing agreement with High LifeApparel LLC with first on-shelf presence in late 2006. High Life will handleAND 1 men?s apparel for domestic accounts, as well as key accounts in Canada.The partnership is a multimillion-dollar deal that will enhance AND 1?s appareldivision.
Ubisoft Builds Portfolio with New Deals
Ubisoft inked a deal with 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., and Mirage Group todevelop and publish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a video game based on the newCG feature-length film due in early 2007. The company also signed an agreementwith Capcom to distribute Resident Evil 4, Onimusha 3, and Devil May Cry 3:Dante?s Awakening Special Edition video games for the PC, as well as with ShaunWhite, gold medal winner in the Winter Olympics for video games inspired by White?ssnowboarding style. The signature video game is expected in 2007.
Ink Is Drying on Towel Deal
Ocean Pacific will partner with Franco Manufacturing Co., Inc., to produce andsell beach towels under the ?Op? moniker in the U.S.
Advance Group Changes Its Moniker
Advance Group, Inc., changed its name to Geneva Watch Group and redesigned itslogo and Website to reflect the historical background of its signatureproducts. The company designs, manufactures, and distributes watches andclocks, including in-house brand Freestyle. The company?s licensed portfolioincludes Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Tommy Bahama, BCBG MaxAzria, Betsey Johnson, Mudd, and XGames.
Execs on the Move
Betts FitzGerald comes to American Greetings as vice president, outbound licensing,and Lindsay Martinez joins the company as brand manager. Tanya Haider was promotedto senior vice president at Nickelodeon & Viacom International Consumer Products.Geoff Reiss will move into the role of senior vice president, programming, for ESPN OriginalEntertainment,and Rick Alessandri will become senior vice president, consumer products. Overat 20th Century Fox Television, Dan Shapiro was promoted to executive director,licensing, while The Summit Media Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of4Kids Entertainment, Inc., named Lee Ravdin president.
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