A Conversation with Mattel’s PJ Lewis

PJ Lewis, senior vice president, global head, action figures and Fisher-Price Entertainment, Mattel, and License Global discuss one of the top toy and entertainment company’s latest and greatest.

McKenna Morgan, Content Editor

June 3, 2024

4 Min Read
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Mattel logoMattel

At Licensing Expo, held May 21-23, in Las Vegas, the biggest names in licensing gathered to show off their latest product offerings. PJ Lewis, senior vice president, global head, action figures and Fisher-Price Entertainment, Mattel, sat down with License Global to outline its newest product offerings, upcoming launches and more.

“My mandate is our action figure category, of which most is licensed brands,” says Lewis. “Some big news while we’re here at Licensing Expo is the ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Minecraft’ product lines for the films coming next year. We have WWE, coming off one of the biggest Wrestlemanias we’ve ever had. Other areas include Pixar. They have a fair amount of noise next year with Toy Story’s 30th anniversary. In the preschool entertainment business, we have a lot of the same licenses, but we’ve brought ‘Star Wars’ to ImaginEXT, our inter-preschool action figure. We have an item called the Vader Bot, which I believe is the top version of Vader any kid could ever want coming out this fall. It has a lot of features. We have Superman coming out next year in our ImaginEXT portfolio.”

Along with these launches, Mattel is focusing on its relaunch of “Barney” and its upcoming “Master of the Universe” film, which just cast Nicholas Galitzine as He-Man.

Related:‘Minecraft:’ Badge of Honor

“Barney is a whole other side to how we think about our preschool entertainment world,” says Lewis. “It’s one of the first franchises that we’ve launched with preschool. Barney is beloved. There is a generation of new parents where Barney was one of the first great properties that they learned from. We’re looking forward to bringing that ‘new-stalgia’ to a whole-new audience. It’s fun to be a part of the relaunch. The ‘Masters of the Universe’ film comes out on June 5, 2026. We expect an absolutely transformational moment for the brand, and for any 80’s nostalgia action figure fan that grew up. I’ve been at Mattel a long time, and it’s been great to see how we can bring this massive brand to pop-culture fans, young and old.”

But that’s not all – there’s also the Mattel Adventure Parks in Arizona and Kansas City, which Lewis says is sure to impress the licensing industry.

Mattel Adventure Park opened fourth quarter in Arizona, and they just signed on a new version of the park in Kansas City,” says Lewis. “What I think is exciting about that is the orientation of our IPs and that experience. They’re very hot, and they’re taking it to neighborhoods where we can create destinations around Hot Wheels, Barbie, Masters of the Universe, Barney and other IPs, experiencing Mattel’s rich world. I think we’re going to wow some people in our industry.”

As Mattel nears its 80th birthday, Lewis and the Mattel team used Licensing Expo to continue to expand the Mattel portfolio of brands, solidifying it as a leader in both toys and entertainment.

“Every year, there’s new things to see, new conversations to have and new partnerships,” says Lewis. “We have meetings with our retailers about a lot of the programs we have in place and their progress. We hope to have meetings to bring new IP into our portfolio, but we also hope to move forward on some of the IP we already have, to make sure we have the best, most robust launches from Mattel possible.”

“Mattel has so much going on,” Lewis continues. “I’m always amazed at seeing the energy at our booth for both licensing in and licensing out. I get to see a little bit of both from where I am. Things are pretty fantastic when you look at how some of our brands have resonated in pop culture. When you look at something like “Barbie” or the “Hot Wheels: Let’s Race” show, I can’t wait for next year to see where these conversations go. There’s also Mattel’s 80th. I’ve been with Mattel for 18 years, which is about a quarter of our company, which is pretty wild to me. I think about all of the things our company has done and how our brands still resonate today in context with many of the IPs that are here. We’re as competitive, big and robust as any of the big portfolios at Licensing Expo.”

About the Author(s)

McKenna Morgan

Content Editor, License Global

McKenna Morgan is Content Editor for License Global. Based in the Santa Monica office, McKenna specializes in coverage involving non-profits, beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, new and social media and entertainment licensing.

When McKenna isn’t covering the latest licensing news, she spends her time attending live music shows and finding her next travel destination.

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