Only Crayola crayon creators Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith will be inducted
into the 2006 Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
LEGO to Construct New Batman Line
LEGO Group will take the lead in the construction toy category for DC Comics?
Batman. The agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products includes the rights
to develop and market construction toys based on the classic Batman brand,
animated TV series The Batman, feature film Batman Begins, and any related
theatrical releases or TV programs produced during the duration of the deal.
LEGO Group will introduce six new Batman products in April 2006 featuring
constructible playsets with a strong vehicle focus, cool functionality,
gadgets, and a library of collectible mini-figures.
Kids on Board at Little Airplane Academy
Little Airplane Productions will expand Little Airplane Academy to include new
programs for kids in January 2006. Little Airplane Academy KIDS! will introduce
children ages 8 to 12 to the craft of character design and animation and will
be taught by animation director Jennifer Oxley (Little Bill). Each course will
culminate with students presenting their original animation during a group
screening. Little Airplane Academy also will offer its flagship five-week
course, ?How To Make a Great Preschool Series,? taught by TV veterans such as
Oxley; Lisa Simon (Sesame Street, Oobi!); Dr. Laura Gussoff Brown (Oobi!);
Howard Leib, Esq. (founder of Braincamp); and Little Airplane Academy founder
A ?Dream? of a Deal
Activision, Inc., and DreamWorks Animation SKG signed a new long-term,
broad-based strategic alliance granting Activision the exclusive video game
rights to upcoming feature films including Bee Movie and Kung Fu Panda, as well
as films currently in development, including Rex Havoc and How to Train Your
Dragon. The deal also extends Activision?s rights beyond Shrek 3 to include
potential future films in the Shrek franchise. Activision also is currently
developing games based on Over the Hedge, due in May 2006, and Shrek 3, due in
2007. The company also holds the rights to develop games based on recently
announced film Madagascar 2, which is slated for release in 2008.
PBS to Get Comfy in Kindergarten Classes
Weekly Reader and The Big Comfy Couch joined forces to bring characters from
the PBS series to the nation?s kindergarten classrooms for the 2006-?07 school
year. The materials will include teacher guides, student activity worksheets,
and a color poster that will feature Big Comfy Couch characters Molly and
Loonette promoting a healthy diet, physical activities, and social and
emotional development. Weekly Reader also will include a letter to parents in
both English and Spanish explaining the benefits of the program.
Classic Game Shows Got Game
FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide inked a deal with Britannia Games to create
and produce board and travel games based on classic game shows Family Fortunes
and Play Your Cards Right. The games will hit shelves in summer 2006.
Publisher Hops on Board with Book Series
HHK Entertainment, LLC, teamed with Grosset & Dunlap, a division of Penguin
Young Readers Group, to create a children?s book series based on the Hip Hop
Kidz dance program for fall 2006. Two paperback titles are due each season and
will carry a continuous storyline. The books will follow seven kids from
different walks of life that band together in a hip-hop performance group and
eventually compete in the World Hip-Hop Competition. Additional projects are in
development, including an original direct-to-DVD series and a TV series.
JAKKs? New Line Is the Cat?s Meow
JAKKS Pacific, Inc., signed a licensing agreement with the Cat Fanciers?
Association and the organization?s worldwide licensing and marketing agent,
4Kids Entertainment, Inc., for a line of pet products marketed under JAKKS? new
JPI pet division. First products will include toys, food, treats, apparel,
carriers, and beds for cats and kittens in 2006.
Mattel Scores Naruto License
VIZ Media, LLC, named Mattel master toy licensee for Shonen Jump?s Naruto by
Masashi Kishimoto. In other news, VIZ Media LLC will release a collection of
fourth-quarter anime titles on DVD for Inuyasha, Naruto, Zatch Bell!, and
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