Big Days for Disney
It’s a wonderful world for Disney Consumer Products as chairman Andy Mooney announced a projected $26 billion in retail sales for 2007 during last week’s Licensing International show.
Among the highlights Mooney outlined for attendees:
• the continued success of Disney Channel properties “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical”
• a projected $1 billion in retail sales for Pirates of the Carribean merchandise in 2007
• the staggering success of Cars merchandise, expected to reach $2 billion this year—even more than its sales following the film’s initial release last year.
Mattel Is Master of Speed Racer and The Dark Knight
Warner Bros. Consumer Products named Mattel global master toy licensee for both Speed Racer (due May 9, 2008) and The Dark Knight (due July 18, 2008) from Warner Bros. Pictures. Mattel will create an assortment of Hot Wheels die-cast vehicles, race sets and track sets based on Speed Racer, while Tyco will come to market with R/C vehicles and racing sets. Games, puzzles, and a special-edition UNO card game, as well as electronic games from Radica, will also hit shelves in late March 2008. Mattel will take elements from The Dark Knight for a product line that features a new Batsuit, a Batpod vehicle, action figures, Tyco R/C vehicles, role play, games and puzzles, and a special-edition UNO card game. Products will arrive on shelves in early June 2008.
NVCP Creates Rockin’ Program
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products have lots of plans in the works with new merchandising programs created for “The Naked Brothers Band”; “The Wonder Pets!”; and “Neopets,” as well as expanded programs for existing properties.
First consumer products for “Naked Brothers Band” head to retail in late 2007, to be followed by a mass-market launch in spring 2008. Initial licensees include Memcorp with consumer electronics; Scholastic with books; and Jerry Leigh doing apparel. Nick Records and Sony BMG will also release the band’s first CD in fall 2007.
Nick Jr. master toy licensee Fisher-Price will launch a full “The Wonder Pets!” toy line at mass market in fall 2008 as well as a range of tween-focused products for “Neopets” in fall 2008.
The company added domestic licensees for its stable of properties with Rubies Costumes doing pet costumes and accessories including characters from “The Backyardigans,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer,” and “Blue’s Clues”; Skechers signed on to create a footwear line for “Dora the Explorer”; Take Two will create handheld and console video games based on Nick Jr. programming; Sport Obermeyer will be launching a line of Obermeyer branded ski outerwear featuring “Dora the Explorer” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
DIC To Rebrand Programming Block with KEWL Results
It’s all about being KEWL over at DIC Entertainment as the company announced it will rebrand its Saturday Morning CBS morning block “KEWLOPOLIS” to broaden its appeal to both girls and boys. The new KEWLOPOLIS programming block (formerly called Secret Slumber Party) will feature Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Horseland, Cake, Sushi Pack and Dino Squad and Kewl branded interstitials. The new TV initiative is part of an overall integrated media plan to create an overall Kewl brand. Currently the Kewl brand has a magazine and a Web community. Other initiatives: Kewl Radio, a new TV review series currently in development and www.kewlstudios.com, a 24/7 video community site where kids can pick their own channels and programming to watch; download and watch offline; kid-safe chatting and community features; games, celebrity videos/interviews from KEWL Magazine; and information about all of DIC's programming. The Kewlopolis initiative follows a slate of news from DIC, including the acquisition of the evergreen Eloise brand; an exclusive partnership with Wal-Mart for a Mommy & Me direct to retail program launching this fall; and the fall 2007 retail launches of “Horseland” and “Cake.”
Joester Loria Drives a Deal
Mercedes-Benz Accessories has signed with Joester Loria Group to manage the licensing opportunities for Smart Car, a new venture that will be launched in the U.S. in 2008. The collection will feature vehicle replicas, luggage, small leather goods, personal accessories, and other lifestyle products.
Paramount Secures Deals for Spiderwick
ITOYS Inc. and 518 Apparel Group Inc. have signed on to the licensing roster for The Spiderwick Chronicles (due February 2008) from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. ITOYS is creating a number of toys, including the “Seeing Stone” featured in the film, motion figures featuring magnetic motion action, and creature electronic puppets. 518 Apparel is creating junior’s and women’s sleepwear, daywear, undergarments, and loungewear emphasizing various characters from the film. The products will be available in multiple channels in early spring 2008.
FOX L&M Positions Simpsons for Universal Appeal
FOX Licensing & Merchandising partnered with Universal Studios Resort on The Simpsons ride due to open at Universal Parks & Resorts in both Orlando and Hollywood in spring 2008.
In other news, Walden Media appointed Fox Licensing & Merchandising its worldwide licensing agent for future properties for both Walden Media and its sister company Bristol Bay Productions, divisions of Anschutz Film Group. Upcoming projects include The Dark Is Rising (due Oct. 5, 2007), Nim’s Island (due April 25, 2008), City of Ember (due Oct. 10, 2008), and The Tortoise & the Hippo. Walden Media films, which have previously been set up at other studios—including future films in the Chronicles of Narnia series at Disney—will not be affected by this agreement.
Ty’s Toy Box Debuts E-Commerce Initiative
Ty’s Toy Box LLC launched TTB Marketplace (www.ttbmarketplace.com), which provides licensees and licensors access to full-suite or a la carte outsourced e-commerce services, including a custom-branded online store, Web site design, online marketing services, real-time sales data and consumer buying analytics, warehousing, logistics and fulfillment, and drop-ship distribution.
Bandai America Takes a Lead Role for “Blue Dragon”
VIZ Media LLC appointed Bandai America Inc. as a key toy licensee for “Blue Dragon,” a new anime series based on the Microsoft Xbox 360 role playing game. The video game has already established itself in Japan as one of Microsoft’s hottest releases in the RPG category and will be released in North America and Europe in August 2007.
Keeping Up with Jones
Lucas Licensing will bring the excitement of the upcoming Indiana Jones film in May 2008 to fans through a global licensing and promotional campaign across a wide range of product categories. Hasbro Inc. will develop a line of action figures, vehicles, and role play as well as games, while LEGO comes on board as the exclusive licensee for building sets. Hallmark joins with greeting cards, party goods, and ornaments and Random House, Scholastic, and DK Publishing will provide the foundation for a robust publishing program. Other initiatives include videogames from LucasArts and promotions with Burger King, MARS North America, and many more to be announced.
Big Tent To Mobilize Crusty Demons Franchise
Big Tent Entertainment signed a deal with VeriSign Inc. to create new mobile content featuring the masters of freestyle motocross, the Crusty Demons. The worldwide agreement, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand, encompasses a variety of mobile content including video, video ringtones, images, wallpapers, and mastertones.
The deal comes on the heels of Big Tent Entertainment naming MediaLINK Entertainment, VDI Entertainment’s U.S. subsidiary, the exclusive home entertainment partner for the Crusty Demons. Additionally, Big Tent is focused on building an extensive Crusty Demons licensing, marketing, and promotional program across all major categories including street wear (apparel, hats, shorts, hoodies, jackets, swimwear, etc.), video games, outdoor sport, and collectibles.
HIT Entertainment Lays Down Strategies for Top Properties
Licensing International served as the perfect forum for HIT Entertainment’s latest news, including the announcement that Barney’s 20th anniversary will be commemorated with a 20-city national Purple Bus Tour, sponsored by JAKKS Pacific and in partnership with Toys ‘R’ Us and Children’s Miracle Network. Other activities: the retail launch of JAKKS’ preschool toy line; “Barney: Dino-Mite Birthday” and a DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The company also laid down plans to support recently acquired girls’ publishing property Rainbow Magic with a line of social expressions, soft lines, and activity kits due this fall. The global merchandising program will expand its reach in support of the animated television series, currently in development.
Fraggle Rock celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2008, with HIT signing on The Emperor’s New Clothes for apparel with vintage Ts due this summer; Koch Records for audio; and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for the third-season box set.
The company also partnered with Imperial Toy LLC for the development of Bob the Builder and Thomas & Friends battery-operated and Dip and Blow Bubble Toys along with sand toys, including sand buckets, watering cans, sand tools, sand sifters, and sand molds due spring 2008.
Fisher-Price Takes Lead on Two Properties
In a deal with Chorion, Fisher-Price will create a line of plush, playsets, figures, musical toys, and vehicles based on “The Mr. Men Show,” which launches in early 2008 on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and on Five in the UK on the Milkshake! morning children’s programming block. The series is based on the Mr. Men and Little Miss books; products will roll out in the UK in 2008 and other territories in 2009.
Fisher-Price will also roll out a line of (not so) Scary Monsters preschool books and plush exclusively at Kohl’s for holiday 2007. The deal was brokered by CopCorp Licensing.
Act III Expands Portfolio with First Brand
Act III Licensing was appointed the exclusive licensing agency for Fandango with a goal of positioning the entertainment brand for toys, apparel, publishing, board games, mobile content, electronic games, casual games, stationery, novelty, and housewares. The program will focus on Fandango’s cast of Bag Puppets, known as Fandango Nation, which are featured in the company’s advertising campaigns and as “puppet avatars” on its Web site.
Pretty Cure Gets Support of Broadcasters
Toei Animation Co. Ltd. and the Spanish brand management company Elastic Rights secured sales with three top broadcasters for seasons one and two of the Pretty Cure. Jetix has acquired pay TV rights for the series, which will run from June 25 through Sept. 8. Cuatro has secured free TV rights for the series and has set early July 2007 as the premiere date for the second run of both seasons. Clan TVE has acquired free dtz rights for the series and will begin broadcast on June 28th.
Execs on the Move
SANRIO Inc. appointed Jennifer Campbell to the newly created position of vice president of licensing, effective immediately. Campbell will be based at the company’s Torrance, Calif., headquarters and will report directly to Bruce Giuliano.
Peter Van Raalte was named to the newly created position of senior vice president, merchandising and licensing at Madison Square Garden.
Bobby Jones, a division of Hickey Freeman Co. Inc, named Christian Arkins menswear director of design.