August 25 - September 1, , 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin' Friday!
(If you are on mobile, you won't see much of the above image. More images and videos are on our PlayCHIC landing page.)
We are super excited to reignite our PlayCHIC toy-inspired fashion show! In this era of TikTok and other dynamic channels, the PlayCHIC spectacle is now an even more powerful promotional vehicle for your brand! 2012’s Moshi Monsters couture was featured in Italina Vogue, London Fashion Week, and on the cover of the Int'l New York Times! This year PlayCHIC will be the premier influencer event at our Chicago Toy & Game Fair. See your brand on the runway!
Don’t miss our NYTF POP Pub Party Oct. 2nd RSVP NOW
POP Week is November 1st- 5th! Register HERE, and then reserve your hotel room HERE! Join us for one or all of these awesome events: Inventor Pitch and Innovation Conference, Toy & Game Innovation Excellence Awards - the TAGIEs, Young Inventor Challenge, POP Roast of Rich Mazel, Toy Takedown (Inspired by Family Feud) with Brian Turtle, Tom Rushton and Matt Nuccio, PlayCHIC Influencer Event and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!
The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.
“I seriously look forward to each Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation
"TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY
Person of the Week - Ted Fischer
Co-Founder and CEO of Ageless Innovation
Unleashing the Power of Play
Hi Ted, thank you for taking time today to share a bit of your life with us! What is it about the Toy and Game Industry that you love?
TF: My favorite part of the Toy and Game Industry is being surrounded by like-minded individuals with a common goal: to unleash the "power of play” into the lives of kids and adults, regardless of age or ability.
What is your claim to fame?
TF: I have run a marathon with each of my daughters (Boston with Remy in 2016 and New York with Molly in 2023) and I am training to run one with my son Robbie in 2024
Do you have a mantra that you live by?
TF: I have a few mantras but one that I have subscribed to for most of my life is “Never Settle”. I believe in putting 100% of myself in all the things that I do and then making the most of it. That works in business, family, social connections and all of my goal oriented athletic pursuits.
What are you working on now?
TF: Our team recently announced a powerful initiative called “Reach Out and Play”to offer a playful solution to combat the loneliness epidemic and drive meaningful connections among loved ones, young and old. Kicking off just ahead of Grandparent’s Day on September 10, Ageless Innovation teamed up with industry leaders, including AARP, to organize hundreds of Reach Out and Play Board Game Events nationwide. READ MORE...
Person of the Week - Nicole Bortnick, BGN Sales
We invite you to Chicagoland for the Mid-West Game & Kit Day!
A fantastic opportunity for Retailers and their staff to interact with 30+ Manufacturers along with their local Sales Reps in a fun and informal setting.
Sunday, Sept 17th from 10am – 4pm
Friendly competitors come together!
It was one of those dreary January days in Chicago, where I picked up the phone and called my friendly competitor, Barry Wunderlich of WundeReps. A touch stone of sorts to compare notes and brainstorm about our roles as Independent Reps in the Toy & Gift industry. We discussed trends, how the last few years have altered the way we now do our jobs as Sales Reps, but mostly, how we missed having a local show to bring our mid-west customers together.
It has been almost 10 years since the Chicago Merchandise Mart cleared out the wholesale showrooms and the Chicago Gift Show that we all loved eventually dissolved. A month later, several of us Chicago Reps attended Toy Fest at the Las Vegas Merchandise Mart. It was there in the hallway that the discussion evolved: We have over 100 years’ combined sales experience amongst us. Why can’t we work together to create an event that will support our Mid-West customer base? READ MORE
BGN Sales Group ~ WundeReps Inc ~ Specialty Marketing Group ~ Kelly & Crew ~
RocketReps ~ Professional Sales & Marketing Associates ~ Fun D’mentals
POP's Book and Film Reviewer - Julia DeKorte
Film Review: Bumblebee - SPOILER ALERT!!!
Bumblebee (2018), the spinoff prequel to Transformers (2007) was directed by Travis Knight and written by Christina Hodson. Starring Dylan O’Brien as Bumblebee, Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie, and John Cena as colonel Jack Burns, the sci-fi action film explores themes of family, friendship, and grief, all while maintaining a captivating, humorous story. Bumblenee is sent by Optimus Prime to Earth from Cybertron, where the Autobots are fighting a losing battle to the Decepticons. Unfortunately, Bumblebee’s arrival is witnessed by Colonel Jack Burns and is immediately under attack. After being damaged by Burns’ crew, he turns into a VW Beetle, the form in which he is discovered in a junkyard by Charlie, years later.
Charlie gets Bumblebee’s engine up and running, accidentally letting the Decepticons know of his location. While Charlie and Bumblebee form an unlikely friendship, the Decepticons are hunting him down, this time with the help of Jack Burns and his crew, who are lead to believe that Bumblebee is the bad guy.
Charlie is overcome with grief over her father, who passed away not too long ago. She feels disconnected from her family, doesn’t have any friends, and quit the dive team, where she used to excel in competitions. Meanwhile, young, sweet, loyal Bumblebee’s memory is not what it used to be, his voice box is destroyed, and he has no idea where the rest of the Autobots are, or if they’re okay. The two come to depend on one another, coaxing one another through their individual challenges and protecting one another from different enemies. READ MORE...
Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile!
Cartoon of the Week: Thank you, Boaz Coster, for this weeks' cartoon!
Lexophile Lovers: "It’s funny — England doesn’t have a kidney bank, but has a Liverpool." Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers!
"There is no greater joy than seeing the smile on a child's face when they receive a new toy." - Jill Barad, former CEO of Mattel
Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me! Mary
Financial and Legal
Workers at WildBrain’s animation studio in Vancouver, one of Canada’s biggest such facilities, are aiming to form a union. Hundreds of workers (the studio employs more than 800 artists, according to WildBrain) have already signed union support cards, says the Canadian Animation Guild (CAG), IATSE Local 938. CAG announced the move last night on X (formerly Twitter).
The WGA strike has reached the upper echelon of overall deals at Warner Bros. Television Group. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the studio has suspended a number of overall deals for its top creatives including J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot (Duster), Greg Berlanti (Superman & Lois), Chuck Lorre (Bob Hearts Abishola), Bill Lawrence (Shrinking), John Wells (Maid), Mindy Kaling (Sex Lives of College Girls).
SAG-AFTRA, the actor’s union which has been striking film and tv productions since July 14, is now looking at a second strike against video game companies. Its national board has voted unanimously to send a strike authorization vote to its 160,000-person membership in preparation of the union’s forthcoming bargaining dates with signatory video game companies.
China. Country Garden: Property shares jump on debt reprieve. Shares in Chinese property firms have jumped after developer Country Garden reportedly secured an extension to a key debt payment deadline. Major home builders including Country Garden and Evergrande saw their shares rise in HK on Mon. Investors also welcomed moves by Beijing to step up its support for the faltering economy.
***The above posted after tBR ran on September 1st***
OnBuy has unveiled a first of its kind cashback seller referral scheme, open to businesses and individuals who can earn 10% of revenue for 12 mos. In a bold move to enhance its offering and continue its impressive trajectory as Europe’s fastest growing eCommerce business, OnBuy is allowing any individual or business to take advantage of its seller referral scheme which has, until now, been reserved for industry affiliates only.
Vancouver-based private equity firm IVEST Consumer Partners has acquired Cloudco Entertainment and its portfolio of kids brands, including the iconic Care Bears franchise. IVEST doesn’t plan to take over Cloudco’s operations, and will instead trust the existing management and team to drive co. growth, says Cloudco president Sean Gorman. “IVEST has been impressed with both the company’s organic growth over the last...
Report: Awesomenauts developer Ronimo Games has filed for bankruptcy. A former employee at Ronimo Games has claimed the Dutch studio filed for bankruptcy. In a tweet dated back to August 23, Jeroen Stout wrote that the developer is winding down, and lamented that its staff was "getting somewhere good, so it's unfortunate it ended here." Dutch outlets such as Emerce further reveal that the bankruptcy …
Hans Niemann resolves $100m lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com out of court. Hans Niemann, the young chess grandmaster accused of cheating in at least two major tournaments along with online matches, has dropped his $100 million lawsuit against fellow grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, along with online platform and tournament host Chess.com.
VFX workers at Walt Disney Pictures are seeking unionization and filing for an election with the National Labor Relations Board. On August 28, more than 80% of the studio’s 18 in-house crew members signed authorization cards to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. They’re seeking better working conditions, including fair compensation, adequate healthcare and retirement benefits.
Is China's economy a 'ticking time bomb'? The past six months has brought a stream of bad news for China's economy: slow growth, record youth unemployment, low foreign investment, weak exports and currency, and a property sector in crisis. US President Joe Biden described the world's second-largest economy as "a ticking time bomb", predicting growing discontent in the country.
Why India's soaring food inflation is a global problem. Erratic climate conditions - including the driest August in more than a century have sent food prices spiraling above 11% in India. So does India, with its aggressive defence of domestic prices, run the risk of exporting food inflation to the world? The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) believes it does, particularly with rice, sugar and onions.
$300,000 worth of MTG cards stolen from Gen Con 2023 have been recovered. The palette full of expensive Magic: The Gathering cards pilfered from Gen Con 2023 have been successfully recovered, according to Indianapolis local news affiliate WTHR. Indianapolis police expect to press charges soon against the thieves who nicked approximately $300,000 worth of cardboard from the convention floor.
Chevron: Workers at major Australia gas facilities to strike. Workers at two large liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Australia are set to go on strike from 7 September, in a move that could drive up global prices. It follows weeks of negotiations with unions over pay and working conditions. Chevron, the US energy giant which operates the sites, said it would "continue to take steps to maintain safe and reliable operations...
Wilko: New bid emerges for stricken retail chain. A fresh rescue bid for Wilko has emerged as efforts to save the retail chain continue. Private equity firm M2 Capital has confirmed it has made a £90m bid for the business, and has pledged to retain all employees' jobs for two years. The bid by M2, first reported by the Guardian, is one of several offers being considered by administrators. Wilko fell into administration earlier...
US faces more interest rate rises to cool inflation. The US Federal Reserve chairman has said the central bank will continue to raise interest rates "if appropriate" as inflation remains "too high". Jerome Powell told an annual gathering of central bankers that the pace of price rises had fallen from a peak. However, it remains above the Fed's 2% target. In a speech to the Jackson Hole symposium in Wyoming, Mr Powell...
EU safety laws start to bite for TikTok, Instagram and others. Some of the biggest tech organizations and search engines now have to comply with new EU rules designed to protect users. Under the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) rule-breakers can face big fines. Nineteen major platforms, such as Facebook or TikTok, face the most stringent rules which include having plans in place to protect children and stop election interference.
Is YouTube tracking your kids again? Google said it wouldn’t target ads to children anymore, but multiple reports suggest it’s still happening. Google might be facing significant fines for violating children’s privacy through YouTube ads — again. Two recent reports suggest that the company is collecting data from and targeting ads to children, a violation of both the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act...
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Mattel’s Windfall From ‘Barbie’. “Barbie” is close to grossing $1.4 billion and passed one of the “Harry Potter” movies as the top-grossing Warner Bros. film of all time. It could end up near the $2 billion mark. (The record-holder is 2009’s “Avatar,” at $2.9 billion.) Mattel and Warner have jealously guarded their financial arrangements. But people with knowledge of their agreement said Mattel earned 5 percent of the box office revenue, as well as a percentage of eventual profits as a producer of the movie and additional payments as owner of the Barbie intellectual property rights. At $2 billion in box office revenue, that amounts to $100 million. In addition, there are sales of merchandise connected to the movie as well as an expected boost in sales of dolls. Representatives for Mattel and Warner declined to comment on the financial arrangements, though the company’s chief financial officer said at a conference on Thursday that the company would make about $125 million in total billings from the film.
Warner Bros. Discovery Says Ongoing Strikes Will Mean $300M-$500M Hit to 2023 Earnings. "The co. now expects to exceed $1.7 billion in free cash flow for the 3rd qtr of 2023, in part due to the strong performance of 'Barbie' as well as incremental impact from strike-related factors,"
***The above posted after September 1st***
‘Barbie’ Reaches $1.34B, Will Become WB’s Biggest Movie Ever Worldwide On Monday; ‘Oppenheimer’ Nears $800M Global – International Box Office
Lego sees profits fall as pandemic boost fades... Sales up just 1% in the first half of the year. Profits at the toymaker dropped 17.7% to 5.5bn Danish kroner (£634m; $807m).
LEGO Group shows market share growth... for the first six months of 2023. Revenue was up +1% compared with the same period in 2022. Consumer sales grew +3%, outperforming a declining toy market and contributing to strong market share growth. Operating profit was in line with expectations compared with an exceptionally strong H1 2022.
Five Below, Inc. announces second quarter fiscal 2023 financial results. Net sales increased by 13.5% to $759.0 million from $668.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2022; comparable sales increased by 2.7% versus the second quarter of fiscal 2022. The Company opened 40 new stores and ended the quarter with 1,407 stores in 43 states. This represents an increase in stores of 12.4%...
CD Projekt sees small revenue drop ahead of Phantom Liberty release. Regarding the former, the Polish studio saw 325.2 million PLN (or $79.49 million) from January 1 to June 30, 2023.
League of Legends' esports doesn't break even. Viewership has declined for the games...
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
Kidcos are getting all the feels for ASMR. You know those videos where creators whisper to the camera and you get a tingle down your spine? Well, that’s a hot trend with kids, and the industry is tuning in.
TCGPLAYER TOP 25 SEALED PRODUCTS (WITH PRICE SHIFTS) - AUGUST 2023 'Pokemon TCG: Obsidian Flames' Booster Box Wins the Top Slot
***The above posted after September 1st***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
Wild Barbie Theory Suggests 1 Important Human Character Is Actually A Doll. One theory suggests that Will Ferrell's Barbie character, the Mattel CEO, is actually an Allan doll who left Barbieland to live in the real world. This theory is supported by plot details such as the Mattel CEO's familiarity with Barbieland and his manner of climbing over walls. The idea of the Mattel CEO being an Allan doll is a great twist for Barbie 2...
This summer’s blockbuster “Barbie” has made it to Russia despite not being officially released there due to the war in Ukraine, and it seems Barbiemania has infatuated many Russians even as the movie draws condemnation from officials. “Barbie” distributor Warner Bros., which is owned by CNN’s parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, was among the Western studios to pull out of Russia after its full-scale invasion of...
***The above posted after tBR started running on September 1st***
John Baulch, Toy World - All feedback gratefully received (and I really mean that) …it’s the Friday Blog! One of the things I have always been especially proud of when it comes to Toy World and the Friday Blog is that they consistently evoke a reaction from our readers. Having worked in the trade press for over four decades, trust me when I say that you would be surprised how rarely that happens.
Reimagining Retail: TikTok for toys, and how brands are driving toy sales through creative marketing. On today's podcast episode, in our "Retail Me This, Retail Me That" segment, we discuss how toy brands are using TikTok as a marketing channel for children and adults alike, and how brands are making their toy stores more experiential to drive sales. Then, for "Pop-Up Rankings," we rank toy brands whose...
Ike Perlmutter didn't know Spider-Man when he got Marvel's toy rights. Ike Perlmutter had gained the rights to the toy manufacturer Toy Biz as part of one of his liquidation deals, which included the rights to make Marvel toys. "This company had the rights because Marvel had zero value then. No one wanted Marvel; It was worthless. No one wanted to do anything with it. He says to me, "So what do you want to do?"
Netflix: Streamer's expansion into gaming is 'natural extension'. Think of Netflix and a memorable television show or movie will likely pop into your mind. What did you most enjoy? Squid Game? Bridgerton? Stranger Things maybe? Soon, the streaming service wants video games to be competing for a place on that list. Netflix says games are a key part of its proposition to stay relevant with audiences in years to come...
The Dungeons & Dragons players of death row. In prisons across the U.S., there are thousands of people on death row. Decades ago, the average prisoner would wait six years before execution. Now, some languish there for 2 decades. To cope with the isolation, the prisoners spend time in search of escape. Some read books or find religion, others learn chess. But for a group of men on death row in Texas, the fantasy game...
How to Win at Monopoly. Pro tip: Don’t sleep on the red and orange properties. Players land on them the most. When I look back at my child-rearing years, one of the most enduring emotions I felt — besides intense love and sleep deprivation — was absolute dread when my kids brought out the Monopoly set. I didn’t start out that way. Playing with my children was one of the great joys of my life, except when...
The voice actors behind Mickey and Minnie Mouse got married in real life. From Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the entertainment industry is rife with tales of co-stars who fell in love while performing together. Given the sweet feelings their famous characters consistently displayed to one another, it's not surprising that the same fate befell longtime Mickey and Minnie Mouse voice...
Royal Mail celebrates Paddington Bear’s 65th birthday with special stamps. Paddington Bear first appeared as a character in Michael Bond's classic 1958 book 'A Bear Called Paddington'. The bear is adopted by the Brown family in London after arriving at the train station he is named after. In recent times, the ursine has gone on to star in two 2014 and 2017 hit movies, featuring Ben Whishaw as his voice.
Jewelry Based on Childhood Toys. It's Got Diamonds. But Is It Fun? Some fine jewelry makers find inspiration in the toys of their childhood. When the French jewelry designer Marie Lichtenberg was growing up in Paris in the 1990s, she loved playing with the Magic 8 Ball. The toy, when shaken, acts as a kind of fortuneteller, revealing answers to questions in a small window: “Don’t count on it.” “It is certain.” “Ask again later.”
History and Nostalgia
Mind Boggler from Mattel Electronics. In 1978, Mattel Electronics released Mind Boggler, an electronic handheld game inspired by the classic code-breaking game Mastermind. Running on two AA batteries, Mind Boggler challenged players to crack the computer’s secret code — a 3, 4, or 5-digit number. After the secret number was generated by pressing the “?” key, players entered their guess via the keypad...
The Undersea World Game from Cadaco. Released in 1971 by Cadaco, The Undersea World Game encouraged players to look to the sea to stock their aquariums. No reading was required to play the game once players were familiar with the straightforward rules. This made The Undersea World Game a great option for young players who could rely on simple recognition and matching of the ocean life...
Back-to-back online auctions: decorative arts & modern-era toys. Bodnar's Auction will televise two live back-to-back auctions on Wednesday and Thursday featuring decorative arts and modern-era toys. Thursday's sale of modern-era toys is from a single-owner collection of 20,000 pieces that filled the consignor's home and 5 storage units, according to auctioneer Joe Bodnar..
10 iconic toys that need meta movie blockbusters after Barbie. In the wake of Barbie's incredible blockbuster success, the door is now open for other iconic toys of our childhood to get their own chance at a live-action movie, and there are plenty that would be perfect for the job. Greta Gerwig's Barbie quickly became the biggest movie of the year after breaking records with its box office earnings.
Neopets is coming back, so these classic sites should, too. Neopets is coming back. The popular millennial Web 2.0 gaming website is getting a reboot. But why stop there? It’s 2005. You’ve just dropped your schoolbag in your room. The air is a little cooler on the sweat patch left by your bag as you kick off your shoes, head over to the family computer, and open Internet Explorer.
Licensing and Entertainment
Hasbro, and the Natural History Museum have come together to release a new line of clothing and merchandise inspired by “Peppa Pig” – available exclusive to F&F at Tesco supermarkets in the U.K. “As we celebrate Hasbro’s 100th anniversary this year and lead into ‘Peppa Pig’s’ 20th in 2024, we want to bring our littlest fans in on the fun with collaborations that foster creativity, adventure and a love of...
London-based distributor CAKE has partnered with Canadian studio Squeeze Productions to manage sales worldwide for its new CG-animated family series Cracké Family Scramble. Sans dialogue, the 52 x seven-minute comedy based on Squeeze’s short-form series Cracké (52 x one minute) centers on an ostrich taking care of his eight wild kids.
“Goosebumps,” the Disney+ series based on R.L. Stine’s popular book series of the same name, has set a Friday the 13th premiere date for this fall. The adaptation will launch Oct. 13 on both Disney+ and Hulu with the first five episodes of the series running as part of Disney+’s “Hallowstream” and Hulu’s “Huluween” celebrations. Subsequent installments of the 10-episode series will release weekly.
***The above posted after September 1st***
Amazon’s audio service Audible has teamed up with Nickelodeon for the first time to launch the new Are You Afraid of the Dark? The Official Podcast. The six x 15- to 20-minute Audible Original launches September 28 exclusively on the subscription-based platform. Nickelodeon and Paramount Audio are producing the podcast, which tells a series of different scary stories, including one about an evil toy...
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has inked a new deal with Amazon podcast studio Wondery to develop a first-ever slate of original podcasts inspired by the late author’s iconic picture books. Wondery will launch the first title, The Cat in the Hat Cast, on September 18 via its mobile app and the Apple Podcasts’ Wondery Kids+ channel. Aimed at kids ages three and up, this variety-show podcast sees the Cat in the Hat and his ...
Disney+ has scrapped The Spiderwick Chronicles, an upcoming live-actioner from Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television that was first announced in 2021. This six-ep fantasy series is based on the same-name kidlit franchise by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, and follows three children who stumble upon a world of fairies after their family moves to a country estate. Filming on Spiderwick was completed...
To celebrate Back To Hogwarts, on 1st Sept, the Lego Group is inviting both Harry Potter and brick fans to Lego stores across the UK. Fans can purchase the new Lego Gringotts Wizarding Bank – Collectors’ Edition and have the chance to meet the creatives behind the 4083-piece product at the Lego Store Leicester Square. Between 15:00 and 17:00, Lego Group designers, Justin Ramsden, Peter Kjærgaard & George Gilliatt...
Craft Buddy adds DC and Harry Potter to portfolio. Leading international craft company Craft Buddy has announced a new licensing agreement with Warner Bros, which will include the launch of a range of new DC, Friends and Harry Potter arts & crafts products. The new products will launch in early 2024 in multiple territories including the UK, Middle East and Africa.
Disguise collaborates with DC on Batwheels collection. The new collection of costumes and wearable vehicles from Disguise is inspired by DC’s animated pre-school series, Batwheels. Disguise, Inc. and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products have announced a collaboration inspired by DC’s hit pre-school series, Batwheels. Disguise is bringing the vibrant and action-packed world of Batwheels to fans everywhere...
Rubies’ The Traitors cloaks released in time for Halloween. All3Media International and Rubies Masquerade UK have partnered to launch the official dress-up for the BBC hit reality series, The Traitors. The iconic green cloaks worn by The Traitors cast members in the show have been re-created by Rubies technical teams.
The Happiness Lab teams up with Sesame Workshop for special emotional wellbeing mini-series. Starting on September 18th, Dr. Laurie Santos is joined by Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, and Grover for a three-episode series on happiness strategies for parents and kids. Dr. Laurie Santos is teaming up with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, for a special three-episode series on...
Mattel’s Monster High to premiere on Pop. The Monster High free TV premiere takes place on Pop in September, after which the series will air on weekdays and be available on the Pop Player. Mattel’s ‘spooktacular’ animated series, Monster High, will make its UK Free TV premiere exclusively on free-to-air children’s channel Pop, on Monday 4th September. .
Little Tikes and Girl Scouts of the USA announce partnership to create Cookie Booth Playset. The Little Tikes Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MGA Entertainment (MGA), one of the largest and fastest-growing, privately held toy and entertainment companies in the world, has entered into a licensing relationship with Girl Scouts of the USA to introduce the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Girl Scout Cookie Booth playset. .…
Ravensburger released 'Labyrinth: Disney 100th Anniversary' into U.S. hobby retail. Ravensburger released Labyrinth: Disney 100th Anniversary, a new version of the family strategy game, into U.S. hobby retail (release date corrected 8.29.2023). The newest Disney edition of Labyrinth celebrates Disney's 100th anniversary with a variety of classic and new characters attempting to make their way out of the maze. .
Maxx Group partners with Hasbro, MTR Corporation. Maxx Group Global has launched a multi-faceted program to market a special edition of Hasbro’s long-established Monopoly board game as a Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) themed board game. The news comes as Maxx Group announced it has secured a marketing promotions campaign by aligning two of its business units, Maxx Marketing...
Catan Cookbook launched. Fans urged to bring the game to life through food with “Catan: The Official Cookbook.” Ulysses Press has announced a publishing deal with board game, Catan, launching “Catan: The Official Cookbook.” The book, packed with photos, artwork and fan references, enables fans of the Klaus Teuber game to fuel up while roadbuilding and negotiating trades.
Red Planet Group teams up with PMI to release Pudgy Penguin collectible toy line in Canada. The wildly successful NFT collection Pudgy Penguins is getting its own range of collectible figures, plush toys, and accessories. The products will come from a collaboration between Red Planet Group and PMI Kids’ World. Each toy will come with a unique code that grants access to a digital collectible and various customization...
Kingsmen Xperience will bring NERF Action Xperience to Pigeon Forge, TN. Kingsmen Xperience, Inc, under license by leading toy and game company Hasbro, and its strategic partner Bright Play, LLC have announced the NERF Action Xperience, an expansive active play center for families and NERF fans of all ages on the Pigeon Forge Parkway coming in the Fall of 2024.
CBS Studios acquires TV rights to ‘You Don’t Own Me’ Barbie Versus Bratz Book. As Barbie: The Movie becomes Warner Bros. highest grossing movie of all time, CBS Studios has acquired the rights to make a TV series inspired by You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel V. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side. The book, written by law professor Orly Lobel, was originally published in 2018 and follows the parallel...
Cartamundi’s Bicycle Playing Cards debuts Disney collection. Bicycle Playing Cards is commemorating Disney’s 100th anniversary with five new playing card collections. Leading the lineup is the new Disney Black and Gold Mickey Mouse playing card deck, available from September in the UK. “Our Cartamundi brands are founded on the belief that play enriches the world,” said Tricia Bouras, Cartamundi Global...
Visual guide to the MCU coming from DK in October. What happened when, where, and why? It's in there! DK Publishing will publish a new visual reference guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in October 2023. Marvel Studios The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline, by Anthony Breznican, Amy Ratcliffe, and Rebecca Theodore-Vachon, will lay out the complex storyline that underlies the MCU...
'Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter' set to release at U.S. Disney theme parks after U.S. park release date was pushed back. Ravensburger's Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter is set to release at Disneyland and Walt Disney World on August 28, 2023, according to The Direct. The original U.S. theme park release date for Disney Lorcana was August 18, 2023, but it was pushed back. .
Dune: Part Two delayed until 2024 due to ongoing Hollywood strikes. Warner Bros has delayed the planned November release of its big-budget Dune sequel until March 2024. A spokesperson said the movie would not be released whilst the Hollywood actors' strike was ongoing because its stars cannot promote the movie. Dune: Part Two, starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, was one of the most anticipated...
People of Play
Former Paramount Global and Disney exec Mark Kingston has launched an IP management company called Libertas Brands, and its first client is one of Spin Master’s plush properties. Kingston, who has been working as ZAG’s SVP of global consumer products for the last seven months, officially started as the CEO of his new London-based company yesterday.
***The above posted after September 1st***
Schleich has appointed Stefan De Loecker as its new CEO effective Jan. 1, 2024. Dirk Engelhausen, CEO of Schleich for more than eight years, left Schleich on Aug. 15. After a transition period, he will join its Advisory Board. “[De Loecker] has the experience to lead the next phase of growth fueled by brand and product innovation, and an effective organization to sustain it,” says Luisa Delgado, Chair of the Advisory Board.
Canal Toys appoints John Briggs as commercial director. Canal Toys, one of the fastest growing creative play companies in the UK, has announced the appointment of John Briggs as commercial director for the UK and Ireland. Canal Toys’ market leading growth ambitions, combined with many additional distribution opportunities, means that the time has come to supercharge the business by appointing someone of John’s...
A fascination with toys. The way MGA Entertainment Chief Executive Isaac Larian tells it, he got into the toy business because he rarely had toys of his own as a child. Growing up in an impoverished area of Iran, Larian became “fascinated by toys,” and 44 years ago launched Chatsworth-based toymaker MGA. Today, MGA distributes more than 15 toy brands, including household names such as Bratz and Little Tikes.
LeVar Burton might have missed out on the Jeopardy! hosting gig, but he is lined up to front another game show, Trivial Pursuit, which is coming soon to The CW. According to TMZ, Burton and his team are “close to locking in terms” on the new job, which would see him as executive producer and host of the new game show. The publication also reports that the network has already given a 12-episode order for the series ...
Noah Ornstein was concerned that he couldn’t find toys that challenged his son Liam and that would grow with him. (He) has been fascinated with building things since he was a child, decided that he would have to design the kind of toys that he envisioned. Ornstein joined forces with Joe Kelly, a friend he had connected with on a playdate with their children, who always wanted to start a business, and the pair...
Companies and Brands
LA’s pocket.watch has signed a deal with Mattel to sell ad inventory on more than 90 of the toyco’s YouTube and YouTube Kids channels for brands such as Barbie (11 million subscribers) and Hot Wheels (pictured) and Thomas & Friends (three million each). pocket.watch is among a handful of companies to which YouTube has granted rights to sell COPPA-compliant ads on its platforms.
WildBrain CPLG has launched a location-based entertainment (LBE) division to move its portfolio of kids brands further into this global business sector through a mix of new theme parks and entertainment centers. The plan is to focus initially on building out WildBrain’s brands in the APAC region, so former Paramount exec Evi Sari has been recruited to join the agency’s senior leadership team...
Nintendo’s new employee retention rate is 98.8%. Generally, the average employee retention rate for new employees in the Land of the Rising Sun is around 70%, so 98.8% is astounding. It’s hard not to see the benefits of working for Nintendo, which is by far the biggest console manufacturer in Japan at the moment with the Nintendo Switch family of systems.
***The above posted after September 1st***
Inside Wham-O's new Fun Factory: At 75, looking beyond the Frisbee and Hula Hoop. The company sold balls that could bounce over houses, flying discs that looked like UFOs, flexible foam boards for beach acrobatics and a slippery water slide that somehow worked on lawns. But for one 11-year-old boy, playing with these toys was not enough. He needed to know more. When school was out, Todd Richards and a friend...
What Could Possibly Go Rong? Gray Matters Launches New Party Game, Wrong Answers Only! Lots of Leftovers? Licking Old Lollipops? These are answers that will make you LOL in Gray Matters’ new hilarious game of Wrong Answers Only! Wrong Answers Only is Gray Matters Games’ biggest release yet, launching in over 2,500 stores this holiday season, including a major US retailer, at Indigo throughout Canada and...
The Everywhere Group is about to launch a crowdfunding campaign to support 10 exciting new projects in the pipeline. Following the recent announcement that the company is to launch a Peppa Pig: Surprise Party immersive experience, in partnership with Hasbro, The Everywhere Group says it is gearing up to make more waves in the headlines in the upcoming months.
Moose Toys’ Beast Lab is ‘Saved By the Bell’ approved. Two actors from one of your favorite ‘90s shows from your childhood are reuniting to promote Moose Toys’ latest release. Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen, also known as A.C. Slater and Kelly Kapowski from Saved By the Bell, are teaming up to promote Beast Lab, Moose Toys’ latest surprise toy combined with science experiments.
Hunter Price and Crayola unveil collectible erasers ImagiPals. Hunter Price International and Crayola have teamed up to create collectible eraser characters. Crayola ImagiPals can be used to tell stories, act out scenes, and create unique little worlds. The debut collection, Animal Kingdom, includes six mystery animal characters from around the world: a lion, a penguin, a fox, an elephant, a koala, and a panda.
Very Puzzled expands distribution with Hamleys listing. Very Puzzled is managed by dad and daughter team, Patrick and Naima Adom, 11. The genesis of the company came about due to their frustration of not being able to find toys that were diverse and representative of Naima’s heritage and background. Patrick is an immigrant from Ghana in West Africa and was keen to ensure that Naima was aware...
Chicken Vs Hotdog and Dominic Yard hit the road in America. Big Potato’s Chicken Vs Hotdog was played live on air, as the game toured the US to celebrate major US listings and a TOTY nomination. Chicken Vs Hotdog, the flip-it-and-stick-it party game created by Big Potato Games and award-winning inventor Dominic Yard, has completed a whistlestop tour of the US. Local news anchors, from Houston to Seattle...
Golden Bear announces Soccer Bot partnership and LA previews. Golden Bear Toys has announced that it is teaming up with two of the world’s best football freestylers to launch the new high-tech football for AW23: Soccer Bot. F2 Freestyler and YouTube sensation Billy Wingrove and his family The Wingroves are filming exclusive content of the family putting their football skills to the test as they play the brand new...
'Warhammer 40,000: Combat Patrol - Tyranids' heads to preorder. Games Workshop will place Combat Patrol: Tyranids, a new Warhammer 40,000 boxed set, onto preorder on September 2, 2023. Combat Patrol: Tyranids offers players a swarm of units to start out 10E with. This box can be used to pick up games of Combat Patrol at FLGS. .
North Star Game Studio will release 'Eila and Something Shiny' into U.S retail. North Star Game Studio will release Eila and Something Shiny, a new board game, into retail in Fall 2023. In Eila and Something Shiny, an innocent rabbit embarks upon an adventure that changes their life forever. This game is story-driven where a player or players can take on the role of Eila. .
Funrise launches out of home campaign for Fart Ninjas. Funrise will be rolling out an out of home marketing campaign on its Fart Ninjas brand to drive demand once kids are back to school. Fart Ninjas will be visible on the high streets through ad bus shells and in various shopping centers in the form of digital and print billboards. The out of home campaign will run for four weeks, starting from 4th September.
LEGO store to open in Trafford Centre, Manchester. LEGO has unveiled plans to open its second store in Manchester this year as part of its ongoing retail expansion in the UK. Although a Lego store already exists in the city center Arndale Centre, the new store, located inside the Trafford Centre, will have more space to offer LEGO play experiences for all ages alongside a wide range of Lego stock.
25th Century Games will release 'Junk Drawer'. 25th Century Games will release Junk Drawer, a tile placement game, into retail on September 6, 2023. In this game, players will organize a junk drawer by arranging different shaped items into its four sections. The sections each have organizational goals, and one tile must be placed into a section of the drawer each round.
Build up an Edo-era town in 'Micro Dojo'. Prometheus Game Labs will release Micro Dojo, a pocket-sized strategy game, into U.S. retail in Q1 2024. In this game, players take on the roles of one of two Daimyos who have been tasked by the Shogun to build up a small town. On their turn, players will place one of four different meeples (a ninja, a samurai, a sumo wrestler, and a geisha) on a dojo board to gain resources.
R&R Games reveals its 'Secret Identity', new party game; also, 'Time's Up! Family Edition'. R&R Games revealed two new games, Secret Identity and Time's Up! Family Edition, for release into retail. In Secret Identity, players try to guess the identity of opponents while attempting to make them guess their own.
Wizkids unveils 'Heroclix: Single Figure Display Three-Packs'. WizKids unveiled HeroClix: Single Figure Display Three-Packs for release into retail in December 2023. Collectors can now show off the gems their HeroClix collection with these new accessories. They are clear cases that have a 36mm display area that can fit most standard HeroClix figures.
MGA’s Miniverse hits Top 2 spot. MGA’s Miniverse brand continues to showcase its dominance in the UK collectible market, moving to the No.2 spot in New Properties – up from No.5 in June. After celebrating moving to Top 5 positioning in Circana’s roundup of the Top 10 New Properties in the UK market in June, a month later, MGA’s Miniverse has moved to the No.2 spot.
Magicbox brings out golden campaign for SuperThings. Magicbox UK has launched a nationwide marketing initiative for SuperThings, offering fans the chance to redeem one of 1,500 exclusive Golden Professor K figures. The campaign kicked off this week with the official announcement being spread across social media via the @SuperthingsUK platforms and through top parental influencers.
Lookout Games reveals 'Tipperary'. Lookout Games revealed Tipperary, a new family board game, which will hit U.S. retail via Asmodee on September 29, 2023. In this game, players will build up their perfect idea of an Irish county with landscape tiles. A "magical stone circle" decides which of the tiles can be chosen for the build, and players will combine them on the board to collect sheep, castles...
Bandai unveils next 'Digimon CG' booster set 'Animal Colosseum'. Bandai unveiled Animal Colosseum, a new Digimon CG booster set, which will head to retail on January 19, 2024. The set includes Four Sovereigns as ACE cards that can be used as a key cards to build a deck around. Huanglongmon is included in this set as a Digimon card for the first time, and Sayo and Koh from the Digimon Story game also...
'Scholars of the South Tigris' hits preorder. Renegade Games has placed Scholars of the South Tigris, a new standalone game for the South Tigris trilogy from Garphill Games, onto preorder with an expected release date of November 2023. The new South Tigris game is set during the height of the Abbasid Caliphate, around 830 AD, where the Caliph has summoned the players to acquire scientific manuscripts.
Piñata Smashlings coming to toy aisles soon. Piñata Smashlings™, the mega-popular Roblox game by Toikido Entertainment is now coming to life with the newest launch of its Piñata Smashlings™ toy collection by PMI Kids’ World. Launching this fall in a variety of collectible figures, blind pods, and playsets, PMI Kids’ World is jumping ahead of the curve and bringing fun toys and collectibles to a hot new gaming property.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Atari's making a Pong sequel about the ball escaping the paddles. Pong is one of those video games that I don’t need to explain. I say Pong and you can see it in your mind. But what if Pong was more? What if that ball you batted around for decades could escape and see the world? That’s the question asked and answered in Qomp 2, Atari’s upcoming, and odd, sequel to Pong.
Sea of Stars sold 100,000 copies in one day. That's despite launching on Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus.Sea of Stars has sold 100,000 copies in one day, according to developer Sabotage Studio. The turn-based RPG, which is inspired by the classics of yesteryear, debuted on August 29, 2023, across a variety of platforms including PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, Windows PC and Nintendo Switch.
Toikido names Sean Does Magic as ‘Piñata Smashlings’ ambassador. Toikido has named Sean Sotaridona, a magician and influencer also known as Sean Does Magic, as a brand ambassador for its intellectual property (IP) and Roblox game Piñata Smashlings. Sotaridona is joining Piñata Smashlings as an animated character that kids can interact with to unlock prizes. In the video game, kids can collect Smashlings...
PlayStation Plus yearly prices will increase starting next week. Beginning next week, the PlayStation Plus service will see a price increase for 12-month subscriptions. In its newest PlayStation Blog, Sony revealed that starting September 6, yearly memberships across all three tiers will increase by 33-35 percent. The Essential tier's 12-month pricing will go from $60 to $80, Extra's from $100 to $135, and...
Pokemon game that’s all about sleep hits 10 million downloads. Pokemon Go made billions of dollars getting people to roam the great outdoors. Now, the company behind the global game phenomenon is trying to get people to go to bed. Pokemon Sleep records and rewards your sleep with Pokemon that you’d otherwise have to spend many waking hours catching. .
The mobile game funding a revolution in Myanmar. When soldiers in Myanmar arrested Ko Toot's friend and his pregnant wife after the February 2021 coup, he became so angry he decided to join efforts to remove the military from power - by using his IT skills. The app-based mobile game that he developed is based on "real events" in the country and has proved a hit - incensing the ruling junta and raising funds...
Highlighted Press Releases
UNLOCK A SHARED LOVE OF THE GAME WITH FUTURE FANS FOOTBALL LAUNCHING SEPTEMBER 2023. Teach The Concepts Of Football To Young Kids With The Future Fans Storybook-Led Experience. Columbus, OH (September 5, 2023) A Cincinnati Bengals super fan watched alone the night of the 2022 AFC Championship as his team earned their first trip to the Super Bowl in 33 years. In that moment, Mike Schroder, co-founder of Future Fans, wished he could share what he knew would become a lifelong memory with his then 5-year-old daughter. “She knew the players and the fight song, but I couldn’t get her to watch the game with me,” said Schroder.
***The above posted after September 1st***
LINE ’EM UP IF YOU CAN: GRACKLES™ REIMAGINES BIRDS ON TELEPHONE WIRE INTO A CLEVER GAME. An Abstract Thinking Game for Ages 10+ that Looks Simple but Requires Tactical Planning to Build a Line of Birds in a Row. Austin, TX (August 25, 2023) – We’ve all seen the astounding beauty of hundreds of birds perched on the wire between telephone poles. Fireside Games has taken that awe-inspiring feeling and translated it into Grackles™ ($39.95 at https://firesidegames.com/product/grackles/), the fun abstract strategy game that challenges two to four players to face each other for a 30-minute game of plotting and planning to place colored tokens (aka birds) in a row. The rules are simple, but the strategies...
Safety and Counterfeiting
Vaping devices disguised as toys, school supplies. A warning to parents and teachers as kids head back to school, watch out for e-cigarettes that look like things kids might like. The FDA is concerned about these illegal products that look like cartoon, movie, and video game characters, including Spongebob Squarepants and Super Mario; toys and electronic devices, like cameras and handheld games; and even school supplies, like markers, highlighters, and thumb drives. The FDA sent letters to 15 online retailers, warning them to stop selling these products.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Elmo, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch are among the residents of Sesame Street who are packing their bags to go on tour across the US and Canada. Sesame Workshop has partnered with New York-based entertainment specialist Round Room Live to launch a live stage show next year featuring these Muppets. Dates, cities and ticket pricing have not yet been disclosed.
Putting the LBE in BLE. Laura Freedman-Dagg, head of Retail at Global Licensing Group, explains what Brand Licensing Europe’s Location Based Experiences theme means for retailers ahead of this year’s show. Your big theme for BLE 2023 is Location Based Experiences (LBE): what opportunities does this offer retailers in the real world? In the real world of retail, LBE can mean retailtainment or retail pop-ups...
Paramount and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) have announced that global award-winning British star Jessie J will host the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi 2023, taking place on Saturday, September 16, at the Etihad Arena. Moroccan singer-songwriter urban pop artist Manal will also take the stage at the biggest and slimiest party of the year for families.
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed
If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our readers. Archives can be found HERE
Joan Packard Luks, MARCH 14, 1946 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2023, Joan was a former President of Women in Toys and much more. Details to follow.
Fred Held, passed away August 30. Fred was a past Vice President Operations and Marketing at Mattel. More details to follow.
Paul Reubens, the actor best known for portraying Pee-wee Herman, died Sunday night after a private bout of cancer. He was 70.
“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” wrote Reubens in a statement posted to Instagram after his death. “I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”
“Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted generations of children and adults with his positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness,” wrote Reubens’ estate in the caption. “Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit. A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.”
Reubens began his career in the 1970s after joining the Los Angeles live comedy troupe the Groundlings as an improvisational comedian and stage actor. In 1980, he launched “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” a stage production centered on a fictional character he had been developing for years. As Pee-wee became a beloved comic figure, Reubens’ show ran for five sold-out months, and he landed a special at HBO. Reubens also committed to the character in his interviews and public appearances.
In 1985, he teamed with Tim Burton on “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” the character’s feature film debut, which was a critical and commercial success. Reubens returned three years later for a follow-up film, “Big Top Pee-wee,” helmed by Randal Kleiser.
Klash Singh - HTI has been in touch with Toy World to share the sad news about its employee. Klash Singh, who passed away last week, was a popular member of the HTI team and most recently worked as a Sales manager for the company.
In a statement, the company said: “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of Klash, who passed away on Thursday 27th July 2023.
Klash spent over 20 years in the toy industry, being employed by HTI originally back in 2003 and moving on to spend nine years at Kandy Toys before returning to HTI in 2023.
Klash was 59 years old when she passed away. She had an infectious personality, enormous enthusiasm and passion. This was loved and admired by all, not just within the companies where she worked, but by all her customers past and present.
Klash will be sorely missed by all those who knew her. She was a very generous, considerate and kind lady. She leaves behind her partner Kevin, three children and three grandchildren, with another grandson on the way.”
HTI’s owner, John Hutt, commented: “Klash will be missed greatly and remembered dearly.”
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ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)
- Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair' Fall Superdrop 2023
- The $300,000 Worth of Stolen 'Magic: The Gathering' Cards Have Been Recovered
- Wizards of the Coast Announces Return of WPN Play Metrics for 'Magic: The Gathering' Events
- The JDS Perspective -- The Best Cards in 'Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter'
- 'Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter' Set to Release at U.S. Disney Theme Parks
- Provide Ambience for the Dungeon with 'Enhance: Tabletop Potion Light'
- Free League Announces 'The One Ring RPG: Moria – Through the Doors of Durin'
- Trick or Treat Studios Will Release 'Halloween: Miniatures Set'
- WizKids Unveils 'HeroClix: Single Figure Display Three-Packs'
- Ravensburger Will Release 'Labyrinth: Disney 100th Anniversary'
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The Bugg Report (Australia)
News Flash: Secret Identity Announced, Star Wars Villainous Expansion Released
R&R Games has announced a new party game, the first expansion for Star Wars Villainous has been released, and Lookout Games has announced Tipperary.
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PlayCHIC 2012... and we are reimaging for 2023!
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