The Toy Industry Association's 110th American International Toy Fair, which took place last week in New York City, served as the staging ground for the upcoming year in toy licensing.
Here are some top headlines from this year’s event:
Disney Unveils Monsters U Plans
Disney unveiled plans for its upcoming film Monsters University, which will feature more than 1,000 products from 125 licensees, led by toy companies Spin Master and Fisher-Price.
The planned line includes action figures, vehicles, play sets, plush, preschool toys and remote control items, as well product in categories beyond toys including stationery, apparel and accessories, home décor, publishing, food, and health and beauty, all of which will begin hitting shelves this spring.
Spin Master is planning a full toy range that will be highlighted by interactive toys and Fisher-Price is planning a full line of toys and play sets for preschoolers. The Disney Store will also feature an exclusive collection of toys, action figures, luggage and apparel.
Saban Fetes Power Rangers’ 20th
Saban Brands and its licensing partners used the New York Toy Fair to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Power Rangers with the masked heroes making appearances all over New York City and product showing up in abundance on the show floor.
Partners that showcased Power Rangers product included Bandai America (role play action figures and builder toys), Basic Fun (key chains), Bluefin Distribution (20th anniversary collectibles imported from Bandai Japan's collectors brand Tamashii Nations), BrainStorm Products (kites), The Bridge Direct (plush), Cardinal Industries (puzzles and card games), CDI/Jakks Pacific (31-inch Megaforce Red Power Ranger), Funko (Pop! Vinyl figures), Jada Toys (radio control vehicles), Jazwares (Power Rangers-inspired electronics including Megaforce walkie talkies), Mega Brands (construction toys), Pressman Toy (games), Tech 4 Kids (items for fun in the dark such as night lights), Trends International (posters), USAopoly (20th anniversary editions of Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit).
LEGO Takes Home Top TOTY Prize
The Lego Group’s LEGO Friends took home the top prize, Overall Toy of the Year, at the Toy of the Year awards and the Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony held Feb. 10.
Other winners included LeapFrog’s LeapPad2 for the inaugural People’s Choice award; LEGO Friends for Activity Toy of the Year; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraisers from Playmates Toys for Boy Toy of the Year; Activision Publishing’s Skylanders Giants for E-connected Toy of the Year; LEGO Friends for Girl Toy of the Year; Just Play’s Doc McStuffins Time for Your Check-Up doll for Preschool Toy of the Year; and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Property of the Year.
Marvel, Vans Team for Shoes
Vans and Marvel Entertainment revealed a footwear collection that will feature Marvel Super Heroes on limited edition sneakers at Journeys stores in the U.S.
The collection is set to launch this month with Iron Man and Spider-Man styles for adults, kids and toddlers. A second release featuring The Avengers will arrive in March.
Sanrio, NECA Partner for Toys
NECA (the National Entertainment Collectibles Association) unveiled its new line of toys featuring Hello Kitty, part of a licensing agreement between the two companies to create games, collectibles, toys and novelty items for popular Sanrio characters, the first of which will be Hello Kitty.
NECA’s new Hello Kitty line will cater to long-time collectors with action figures and statues, lamps, calendars, tea sets and vintage carrying cases, as well as tabletop games and a HeroClix miniature gaming collection from NECA's games subsidiary, WizKids. Product will begin launching in North America this summer.
Mattel Launches Barbie Events
After announcing that Barbie had put her Dreamhouse up for sale, Mattel revealed plans for a yearlong global campaign for the doll brand.
The campaign will feature a series of live events, online engagement and retail touch points that will include a newly designed 2013 Dreamhouse.
The new live event “Barbie The Dreamhouse Experience,” an interactive installation that lets fans take a look inside Barbie’s pink palace, will debut this March in Florida and Berlin. Also in March, Royal Caribbean International will launch Barbie Premium cruise experiences fleetwide.
Nick, Activision Plan Turtles Games
Nickelodeon and Activision Publishing announced a new multi-year deal to create video games inspired by the series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” The agreement gives Activision global rights to produce interactive games based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property and Nickelodeon’s new CGI reboot series.
Vivid Preps for Walking with Dinosaurs
Vivid Toy Group unveiled the first toys in its new line for the upcoming film Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie, created by BBC Earth.
Inspired by BBC’s TV documentary mini-series from 1999, Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie will launch in theaters worldwide this December. As worldwide master toy and game partner for the brand, Vivid is planning a full range of product that will include collectibles, toys, plush, role play, games and puzzles.
The full line is set to launch in the fourth quarter of this year in conjunction with the film release, but Vivid unveiled one of its hero toys during New York Toy Fair–dinosaur stomping feet.
Saban Names ‘Julius Jr.’ Master Toy
Saban Brands appointed Fisher-Price as the global master toy licensee for its upcoming animated series “Julius Jr.” Set to air on Nick Jr. this year, the new preschool series is inspired by the Paul Frank family of characters and its iconic monkey, Julius. Fisher-Price is planning a full range of products including play sets, plush and role play toys for the global marketplace.
JLG Expands Eric Carle
The Joester Loria Group renewed deals with long-time The World of Eric Carle partners Kids Preferred and University Games, and signed new licensee Trends International to create stickers for the classic publishing brand.
Kids Preferred was renewed as master toy partner for The World of Eric Carle for another four years. The current toy line for the brand includes plush and plastic and wood developmental toys.
New partner Trends International is developing a line of sticker formats that will debut this summer.
Disney Launches Oz Line
Disney Consumer Products released a new collection based on its upcoming film Oz The Great and Powerful, set to hit theaters March 8.
The line spans couture fashions, apparel, designer shoes, accessories, limited edition costumes and toys inspired by the film.
Toys planned for the film include girls’ dress up and role play items, costumes and a doll collection.
Ripple Junction Extends Beyond Apparel
Ripple Junction made its first foray outside of apparel licensing with a robust product lineup that included toys, accessories, home goods, headwear, loungewear, footwear, outerwear, holiday items and costumes for the company’s 100-plus pop culture properties such as CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” Comedy Central’s “Workaholics” and Warner Bros.’ The Goonies.
Bandai Launches Pac-Man Toys
Namco Bandai Games and Bandai America revealed their new line of Pac-Man toys based on the upcoming 3D animated series, “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.” The toy line, which includes action figures, battle spinners, a chomping plush toy and the Gooage Spewing Gigantic Pac-Man, will hit retail this fall. “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures” premieres Sept. 7 on Disney XD.
CNE Amps Up Adventure Time
Cartoon Network Enterprises and its licensing partners showed off a range of new and expanded product lines for Adventures Time that will debut throughout the year beginning this spring.
New Adventure Time products include two new games from USAopoly–Monopoly: Adventure Time Collector’s Edition and Memory Challenge Adventure Time–this spring; Jazwares adds role play figures, comic book packs and consumer electronics to its existing line; Funko created Adventure Time Pop! series figures for Hot Topic stores across the U.S.; and new partner Briarpatch debuted Adventure Time-themed games and puzzles that will roll out throughout the year.
Om Nom Takes A Bite Out of Toy Fair
ZeptoLab revealed new product for Cut the Rope and its star character Om Nom, led by the augmented reality app “Om Nom: Candy Flick” that brings Om Nom to life when used in conjunction with Round 5’s new line of plush toys, which will be available in the U.S. and Canada this March.
Additional licensees include Mega Brands Puzzles with a range of puzzles; Toy Galaxy with a novelty line of toy, game and activity products; Sakar with ear buds, headphones, cases/skins and consumer electronics; and Kellytoy with amusement toys and crane plush.
Mezco Displays Breaking Bad Collectibles
Mezco Toyz unveiled its 2013 offerings, which included collectibles for Man of Steel and “Breaking Bad.”
The Breaking Bad line, based on the AMC series, features ultra realistic figures and accessories of Walter White/Heisenberg as well as plush figures, bobbleheads, money clips and stash boxes.
Superman joins the company’s Mez-Itz line of designer vinyl figures in a Man of Steel range that will also include Zod and Jor El.
Nick to Air Lalaloopsy Series
Nickelodeon and MGA Entertainment announced plans to launch a new animated preschool series this spring based on MGA’s Lalaloopsy doll line.
The half-hour series, which will air on Nickelodeon, will feature all eight original Lalaloopsy characters, each with personalities based on the fabrics that were used to make them. The TV series will be co-produced by MGA Entertainment and Moonscoop Productions.