Transformers Film on Tap for 2006
DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Hasbro are partnering on the development of a live-action motion picture based on the Transformers franchise. The film is due in summer 2006 with Steven Spielberg as executive producer. Hasbro will work with the production team, DreamWorks and Paramount, on all aspects of the film’s creative development, marketing, and promotions, and will manage merchandising in conjunction with the release of the film. Hasbro also will team with Takara, co-developer of the Transformers brand since its beginning in the early 1980s. DreamWorks will distribute the film domestically, while Paramount will distribute it internationally.
FUNimation’s New Division
FUNimation Productions, Ltd., has targeted the preschool and children’s market with the creation of its Our Time Family Entertainment division. The new division will feature a host of programs including Arthur; Connie the Cow; Little Nemo: Adventure in Slumberland; the Friendship Collection, a series based on books such as “Timothy Goes to School,” “Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse,” and “Elliot Moose”; and a group of holiday titles including Santa Claus Brothers, Wobots, and Noël Noël. Titles are due September 7, 2004. FUNimation also is co-producing a new preschool property with WGBH, one of the main producers of PBS primetime and Web programming, called Time Warp Trio. The animated Time Warp Trio property is based on the best-selling books of the same name. Our Time Family Entertainment will distribute the home videos and manage the brand.
Marvel Fights for Internet Safety
Marvel Enterprises Inc. teamed up with Internet safety and education organization Wired Safety for a program designed to help parents and kids use the Internet safely. The primary elements of the multitiered, grassroots initiative include: live stage shows starring the Marvel Super Heroes that will travel to community centers, malls, schools, state fairs, and other destinations across the country; a new Website, InternetSuperheroes.org; an in-school Internet safety curriculum program; and a series of custom comic books, each tackling a specific topic related to safe and responsible Internet use.
Van Raalte Elected LIMA Chairman
Peter Van Raalte, vice president of consumer products at Scholastic Entertainment, was elected chairman of the board of the International Licensing Merchandisers Association (LIMA). Van Raalte moves into his new post after spending two years as vice chairman of the association and as a member of its executive board.
Parents Magazine Expands Toy Line
Parents magazine is adding Imagine+Learn and Play+Store to its Play+Learn toy line currently on shelves at Target stores. The Imagine+Learn line is targeted at children ages 2 and up and includes items such as the Classic Cash Register, which combines colorful buttons, pop-up characters, and play money for younger children with a real solar-powered calculator for older youngsters. Play+Store combines classic toys with furniture and built-in storage space. Designed for children ages 1 and up, Play+Store offers an assortment of brilliantly colored, creatively conceived products, including Busy Bonanza, a multipurpose, multifaceted, and multicolored bench that does double duty as a toy chest and activity center. The Joester Loria Group represents the brand; Battat is master toy licensee.
Dinnerware for Max & Lucy
Max & Lucy signed a deal with Gibson USA for a line of 16-piece mix-and-match dinnerware due for holiday 2004. Expansion plans in 2005 will include mugs, kitchen and grill items, coffee accessories, kids’ sets, and pet care.
Wal-Mart Launches Apparel Online
Wal-Mart will offer more than 15 apparel brands on its Website,
including exclusive brands such as George, Faded Glory, and White Stag, along with national brands including the mary-kateandashley brand, Wrangler, and Rider. The new online initiative will offer a complete assortment of apparel for women, men, juniors, girls, boys, and plus sizes.
Cartoon Network Teams with DC Comics
Cartoon Network and DC Comics are partnering on a line of collectibles featuring characters from the network’s library of animated programs. As part of the deal, DC Direct will produce, market, and distribute cold-cast porcelain statues featuring Ed, Edd n Eddy, Megas XLR, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends due in 2005. The initial wave of developmental concepts for the statues debuted at last week’s Comic-Con International, where collectors were able to view varying stages of creating a statue from concept drawings to painted prototype.
CopCorp Appoints Licensees
CopCorp Licensing reached agreements with the first six licensees for Seikodo Corporation’s Barcode Kitties, the girls’ character-branded property from Japan. Accessory Network will produce handbags, stationery, and novelty socks; Handcraft Manufacturing, girls’ underwear and hosiery; Kids Headquarters, girls’ coordinated sportswear and sleepwear; H.E.R. Accessories, costume jewelry and hair accessories; Sandylion Sticker Design, stickers; Vandale Industries, junior/missy loungewear, sleepwear, and daywear.
In other news, CopCorp Licensing announced the anchor licensees for Jim Benton’s Franny K. Stein property. Basic Fun will do dolls, select stationery items, activity sets, flashlight key chains, tattoos, magnetic bookmarks, and novelty items, while Black Jack will create T-shirts; E.S. Originals, footwear, backpacks, luggage, and small leather goods; and H.E.R. Accessories, hair accessories, costume jewelry, and belts.
Nicknames Are Foundation of New Line
BabyUniverse Inc. will support itty bittees, a property created by artist Steve Walker that celebrates the many different nicknames parents call their babies. Designs based on the most popular nicknames include Sweet Pea, Little Peanut, and Little Monkey. Walker also illustrated 11 additional monikers that capture the personality of babies such as Party Girl, Spitting Image, and Little Stinker. The apparel line also will include hangtags with humorous write-ups that explain why a parent or caregiver may choose to give a child such a name. The line is due in third quarter 2004. Licensing agent RJM Licensing, Inc., has additional categories available including books and stationery, bedding, room décor, and gift items.
Dr. Seuss Inspires DVD, VHS Line
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment readies the release of The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: The Cat’s Musical Tales August 3 on both DVD and VHS. Three-D computer animation and the puppetry of The Jim Henson Company come alive in tales inspired by Dr. Seuss. The DVD also features QuickStart, a new child-friendly feature that plays DVDs automatically. The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: The Cat’s Musical Tales is co-produced by Jim Henson Home Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television Family Entertainment. The DVD (suggested retail, $14.95) features three adventures, while the VHS (suggested retail, $9.95) features two episodes.
Enter the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge
Organized in partnership with License! magazine, the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge will take place during MIPCOM Jr., October 2-3 in Cannes, France. If you are a producer or creator of children’s entertainment, we invite you to submit and pitch new properties. Entries must be received by License! and/or MIPCOM Jr. no later than August 31. For more information, guidelines, and an application, visit
Following preselection (executed by License! editors), five properties will move to the next stage of the challenge. At MIPCOM Jr., in front of a live audience, finalists will have the opportunity to “pitch” their properties (and ultimately learn the potential for their property) to an international jury, chaired by Warren Kornblum, chief marketing officer, Toys “R” Us.
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In September, License!’s automotive feature transports you to the lap of luxury. In addition, September focuses on back-to-school/SHOPA, celebrity chefs, and entertainment/broadcasting trends in advance of MIPCOM—a perfect editorial environment for character, brand, and entertainment properties. Contact your account managers,
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