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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin' Friday!

Young Inventor Challenge regional events are in full summer swing! Retailer Hilary Key shares her enthusiasm about hosting one HERE. My heart leapt because she is proving what we knew would happen - retailers and kids are having a blast! We've got toy stores, camps, schools and after school programs engaging kids to invent toys and games. Many are buying your products for research and to use for parts as they create awesome new toys and games. If you know of an interested organization, send them HERE to join the fun, to discover our Planning Guide, and get loads of resources from Ahren Hoffman, our YIC Director.

Register POP Week! Reserve your hotel rooms! Attend the Inventor Pitch and Innovation Conference, Nominate innovative colleagues for a TAGIE Award, get your Chicago Toy & Game Fair booth and prepare to go POP!

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News FeedPlease support our work by advertising and/or setting up a POP profile.

Mary

  • "Congratulations on the outstanding job that you and your team are doing on producing The Bloom Report. It seems like it is getting better and better almost every week!!! Bravo!!!" -Ron Cantor, Rainbow Concepts, Inc.

  • If you are tired of these quotes, send me yours! 

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Industry Commentary: The Toy Association's Greg Ahearn

Buzz is Building for Toy Fair New York 2025!

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Earlier this week, The Toy Association announced that nearly 600 exhibitors are already registered for Toy Fair 2025, taking place next March 1 to 4 at the Javits Center in New York City. These strong early numbers are a testament to the show’s importance as the largest and most iconic toy marketplace in the Western Hemisphere. We expect to welcome attendees from about 100 countries – from global retail buyers representing outlets of all sizes, to licensors, inventors and designers, media guests, and many more – for a crucial four days of business and networking.

 

To up the excitement at Toy Fair in 2025, we just announced that for the first time ever BOTH Mattel and Hasbro will be exhibiting on-site at Javits, alongside hundreds of other companies, including first-time exhibitors in the Launch Pad section, global companies in the international pavilions, and companies across various product zones throughout the show. Showcasing companies ranging from startups to the biggest in the world, all in one place at one time, creates one of the deepest, most efficient events ever.

 

Toy Fair is undisputably the place where business, networking, collaboration, and the celebration of play merge to create an unforgettable experience for everyone in our industry.  For well over 100 years (119 years, to be exact), Toy Fair has brought together creative and business professionals to build connections and nurture professional growth. New York creates the opportunity for significant business partnerships and has launched countless brands – many of which are now household names – that have brought joy to generations of children.   

READ MORE...

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Person of the Week: The Toy Chest's Hilary Key

Why You Should Get Involved with the Young Inventor Challenge

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

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Cartoon of the Week: Thank you, Graeme Thomson, for the funny cartoon this week! 

Lexophile Humor:  "A dog was charged with littering after giving birth to puppies near the roadside." Thank you to Michael Kohner for this wit and wordplay! 

Memorable Quotes:  "Imagination is the secret and marrow of civilization." - Henry Ward Beecher

Toy Industry Word of Day:  Rabbit Hunt - submitted by Kim Vandenbroucke (thank you!)  If you can think of a toy/game industry word not in our POPDictionary, add it and we will connect it to you POP profile, feature it here in an upcoming week and on POP's homepage! 

People celebrating birthdays this past week - Happy Birthday! Robert FuhrerBryan ScheidlerWilliam AndersonPatti Becker, Frank Müller and Julia Cutajar.

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

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Financial and Legal

 

The Toy Association™ commends the U.S. Senate for passing S.Res.736, which designates the month of July as “National Anti-Counterfeiting and Consumer Education and Awareness Month.” The Toy Association has been a vocal advocate against counterfeit and illicit goods and continues to work tirelessly to educate the public on the dangers of fake toys through initiatives like Toy Safety Awareness Month...

 

Glasgow-based Axis Studios (Scrooge: A Christmas Carol, LEGO: City Adventures) has been put into administration, with all production halted and 162 employees laid off. Administration is the insolvency procedure for UK companies that are unable to pay their debts. Two managing directors from business restructuring firm Interpath Advisory have been brought in to handle creditors and find companies...

A German court has thrown out a case of legal action by the NY Times Company attempting to prevent a local puzzle maker from using the name "Wordle." The publisher acquired Wordle from the original inventor in early 2021 and applied for a European Union trademark. On the same day, Hamburg-based puzzle maker Stefan Heine secured the German rights to the name "Wordle." The court ruled on Thursday that...

A U.S. judge rejected Build-A-Bear Workshop's, opens new tab effort to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that its Skoosherz plush toys were unauthorized knockoffs of Squishmallows, the popular plush toys made by a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, opens new tab. In a decision on Monday, U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton in Los Angeles said it would be "particularly inapt" to dismiss...

*** The above posted after July 12th when tBR circulated ***

 

Pam Walls - Drama in the board games industry (Meeplegate). History of the word “Meeple”, Hans im Glück trademarks Meeple (after widely used), History of the shape of the Meeple, 04 - Hans im Glück sends Cease & Desist letter to small, independent publisher re their game Meeple Inc., Americans apply for US trademark of Meeple, Support the indie publisher’s game Tabletop Inc., The meaning of “Hans im Glück”

 

Pam Wells - Responding to comments from my viral Meeplegate video listed above (drama in the board games industry): Hans im Glück calls Meeple a "household word", New names to replace Meeple, Streisand effect, Publisher's responsibility, Boycott, Other ridiculous trademarks, Patent of "Tapping", Acknowledgements in credits thanking Hans im Glück for use of Meeple, Spiel des Jahres, Future of the Meeple...

14,000 Disneyland Cast Members Will Vote In Next 10 Days On Whether To Authorize A Strike. The largest bargaining unit of Disney workers in California – representing everyone from custodians and ride operators to candy makers and merchandise clerks – today announced that a strike authorization vote is scheduled for Disneyland cast members. The results are expected to be announced by July 20, after votes are tallied...

Random House Publishing Group has entered into an agreement to acquire BOOM! Studios in a blockbuster deal on the eve of San Diego Comic-Con, the companies announced.  The deal is expected to close this summer.  Terms were not disclosed. BOOM!’s brands (BOOM! Studios, BOOM! Box, KaBOOM!, and Archaia) will join Del Rey, Inklore and the Random House Worlds licensed books imprint in the Random House...

Paramount and Skydance agree to merge. Skydance's David Ellison is set to become CEO/chairman, with former NBCUniversal boss Jeff Shell lined up to take over as president of the new company once the deal closes. Skydance Media has officially entered into a definitive merger agreement with Paramount Global for a two-step transaction, following more than 10 months of negotiations.

Language-learning app Duolingo has made its second acquisition in the design space following its 2021 IPO. On Tuesday, the company announced that it has completed a deal to buy the Detroit-based animation and motion design studio Hobbes. The studio had been working with Duolingo for over a year to develop several features, including its newer product, Duolingo Music, and other animation design systems...

VIZ Media has acquired RWBY from Warner Bros. Discovery, the company announced.  RWBY owner Rooster Teeth, which WarnerMedia acquired in 2018 along with Crunchyroll (see "Rooster Teeth Part of Warner Media"), was shut down earlier this year after unsuccessful efforts to sell the division as a unit.  Now Warners is selling off the individual Rooster Teeth properties, of which RWBY was likely the largest.  

Microsoft and Apple back away from OpenAI board amid regulator scrutiny. As OpenAI is getting more focus from regulators like the FTC, Microsoft and Apple are both distancing themselves from the ChatGPT maker. Per Ars Technica, both tech giants have elected not to join OpenAI's board after previously signing their allegiance. 

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Financial Reporting

 

Corus to ‘aggressively cut costs’ and eliminate another 300 positions. The company's Q3 revenue was down by 16% compared to last year, and its board has mandated a right-sizing strategy be implemented quickly.

 

Pokémon Sleep earns $100m in first year revenue. The sleep-tracking app saw 9.8 million downloads during the same period

 

‘Despicable Me 4’ Expands To $230M Global; ‘Inside Out 2’ At $1.217B WW, Now Biggest Movie Of All Time In Mexico – Int'l Box Office

 

Embracer secures €600 million revolving credit facility after brutal restructure

Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

Global box office and global total cinema revenue will surpass pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels in 2026, but admissions won’t do so over the next 5 yrs. Global subscriptions to streaming services will post a ​​5.6 percent compound annual growth rate between 2023 and 2028, outpacing a compound annual gain in streaming revenue of just 4 percent. And advertising revenue will top the $1 trillion milestone in 2026 and be the fastest-growing of the three core revenue categories over the next 5 yrs.

 

Streaming Reaches Record 40.3% of Total TV Usage in June, Boosted by Younger Audiences. Disney+, Netflix, Tubi and Max all notched double-digit gains during the month, according to Nielsen’s latest Gauge report

 

Shoppers gear up for record Prime Day spending. The two-day online sales promotion is expected to generate US$14 billion this year, with 85% of back-to-school shoppers looking to score electronics and clothing for their kids.

JUNE 2024 CIRCANA BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS 

DIRECT MARKET COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVEL SALES MIXED IN SPRING 2024 Marvels, Indies Doing Well, DC Down

 

JUNE 2024 CIRCANA BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS

NORTH AMERICAN COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVEL MARKET DOWN 7% IN 2023

 

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on July 12th ***

 

With ‘Inside Out 2’ and ‘Despicable Me 4’ Propping Up the Summer Box Office, Could 2024 Be the Year of Animation?

 

Marianna Casal, Toy World, spoke with leading suppliers and distributors of Tech toys to find out what’s trending.

Toy World spoke with suppliers within the Stationery space about their current ranges, how they support retailers, their advice on maximising the category and more. 

A new report from Circana shows that US spending on video game hardware, content and accessories declined by 6% in May to US$3.97 billion, a difference of nearly US$300 million compared to the same month last year. 

 

Why capsule toys are so loved in Japan and how producers are looking to spread that love. The Japan Toy Association estimates the capsule toy market was worth 61 billion yen (US$378 million) in the 2022 financial year, up 35.6 per cent in one year, and expects it to grow further.

THE GROWTH OF JAPANESE ANIME IN EUROPE. Italy, Germany, Finland, UK, Poland, Spain, and France have seen 3% to 9% growth 2020-2024. The number of available Japanese titles outside Japan has doubled from around 3000 to 6000 between 2019 and 2023.

TCGPLAYER TOP 25 SEALED PRODUCTS (WITH PRICE SHIFTS) – JUNE 2024  Top Three Spots are All 'Magic: The Gathering,' Again

Gen Alpha is pretty obsessed with e-commerce. A new survey of 500 parents says that 90% of kids ages seven to 14 are making monthly requests for items they've seen online, from the latest video games, to trending apparel and luxury goods.

Kids don’t think about the cinematic experience the way we do. When seven- to 11-year-olds in Europe go to the movies, it's more for the experience than the film, according to research from Will & Agency.

Budgets, reaching kids and fear of an uncertain future are some of the kids media industry’s biggest concerns right now, according to a new report from UK-based researcher The Insights Family. 

Kids brands are targeting young parents with collaborations and influencer campaigns

Generation Media explores the digital evolution in the toy industry.

For some toy sellers, packing shelves with nostalgia pays off.

Comic Store Market Shares - Q2 2024

TOP 20 GRAPHIC NOVELS - JUNE 2024

TOP 50 COMICS - JUNE 2024

 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

Julia Fitzgerald - Today I get to talk with Leslie Sherman, the Director of Growth at WongDoody. It sounds like a word from a Ted Lasso episode, and I ain't gonna lie - I can't stop saying their name. Let's "hush our butts" and hear about this global creative and digital agency! Julia: Leslie, I’m introducing readers to agencies that are great partners for Midsize firms and brands. Can you give us the scoop on Wong Doody?

 

Defeated by A.I., a Legend in the Board Game Go Warns: Get Ready for What’s Next. “I faced the issues of A.I. early, but it will happen for others,” Mr. Lee said recently at a community education fair in Seoul to a crowd of students and parents. “It may not be a happy ending.” Since his loss, Mr. Lee has become an A.I. obsessive of sorts, following with rapt if uneasy attention as artificial intelligence delivers one breakthrough...

Cornell crafts multifaceted game studies program. Thanks to a grant from the Center for Teaching Innovation, the working group also collaborated with Reanna Esmail at the Cornell University Library to create the Game Studies Collection, which includes video games, controllers, board games, role-playing games (RPGs) and game-related materials relevant to courses and faculty research. 

68% of Monopoly players have never read the game’s official rulebook, and 49% are known to just make up their own rules. In case you’re part of that 68%, here are a few oft-overlooked official rules that you can use to your advantage the next time you play the game. First, if a player declines to buy a property, that property must be put up for auction on the spot, with any player — even the one who declined it...

 

*** The above posted after tBR ran July 12th ***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - New life … it’s the Friday Blog! Apart from the ongoing tribulations with the good old British summer weather, things are starting to look up. We have seen some positive economic data from May, when the UK economy grew faster than expected at 0.4%. The election result has been given the seal of approval by the City, with UK markets and sterling both trading up. 

 

DreamFlare AI, a new consumer platform focused exclusively on AI-generated, premium-quality entertainment, officially launched this morning. Led by Josh Liss, a former Google executive, and Rob Bralver, a professional filmmaker who’s made feature documentaries and music videos with big acts like Moby. DreamFlare AI raised $1.65 million in a pre-seed round led by FoundersX and angels. They’ve been in stealth until...

Tony Bug - Report from Down Under. Australia is unique in toys during June and July each year. Since the early 1990’s we have witnessed the Mid-Year Toy promotional sale cycle. Originally launched by Target Australia. K Mart, Big W, Myer, David Jones and others followed. As the years rolled on and the toy landscape changed here Big W is really the only Mass retailer who offers this activation. 

 

The rise and fall (and rise again) of Fidget Toys. At the height of the “pop fidget” craze of the COVID-19 pandemic, supplier High Caliber Line (asi/43442) fulfilled an order of 400,000 poppers – a fidget toy made with silicone bumps that can be pushed in and out like never-ending Bubble Wrap – for a national drugstore chain. “Kids are nervous when they go to these places,” says CEO and Founder Dan Oas.

Oregon cops, $200K LEGO theft ring bust!!! Police in Oregon put the case together, piece by piece ... all leading to a massive LEGO bust where a toy store owner's accused of buying LEGOs stolen from his competitors. Here's the deal ... the Springfield Police Department says a 3-month investigation uncovered evidence Ammon Henrikson, the owner of Brick Builders toy store in Eugene, was knowingly purchasing...

 

India's toy industry gears up for global collaboration. At the second Toy CEO Meet 2024, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Jitin Prasada, gave a speech and encouraged the toy industry to collaborate and promote creativity and innovation through toys. The meet was organized by the Toy Association of India along with DPIIT and Invest India.

5 children’s toys that were invented by government scientists. The phrase “government scientist” doesn’t exactly bring peaceful imagery to mind. It’s more likely to inspire thoughts of chemical weapons, guided missiles and strange super soldier human-animal hybrids floating in brackish green tanks. 

 

Love for the Rubik’s Cube continues to grow. The year of 2024 officially marks the 50th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube, which was originally created by Professor Erno Rubik in the 1970s. The professor had always been intrigued by problem-solving games such as chess and wanted to solve something new. His curiosity eventually led to the creation of the Rubik’s Cube, and the first solve took about a month.

The return of Beyblade – how spinning tops could become an Olympic sport. Competitive spinning tops may sound absurd but it’s one of the most popular toy brands in the world and it’s about to make a big comeback. From Rubik’s Cube to Tamagotchi, history is not short of peculiar toys that you would’ve sworn kids would never be interested in… until they become a multi-million dollar empire.

Meta wants to expand the VR experience for kids beyond immersive gameplay and into social engagement. Later this year, the techco is planning to roll out a new feature for its Meta Quest headsets that will let parents add approved contacts that their 10- to 12-year-old kids can call and play VR games with. This builds on the parent-managed family accounts that Meta launched in September 2023...

Mixing Business and Politics: What Companies Can Learn from Tractor Supply. Tractor Supply Company is an 85-year-old retail chain, based in Brentwood, Tenn., that employs more than 50,000 people across its 2,250 stores. The company sells products for home improvement, agriculture, lawn and garden and pet care. The company announced in late June that it would make several drastic changes to its company...

New book details history, impact of beloved children’s series ‘Reading Rainbow’. The book’s co-author, Dr. Barbara Irwin, said the goal of the show all those years ago was to address a problem we still see today: the “summer loss phenomena.” She added that fans of the series will discover a new side to the show and learn about its Buffalo roots.

Pinball is cool again—and these stunning machines are why. Take a look inside the tech and creativity fueling the current golden age of pinball, with Stern Pinball game designer Keith Elwin and chief creative officer George Gomez. The game has had something of a renaissance recently, with the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, and other outlets declaring a full-on pinball boom.

Julia Fitzgerald: In today’s Midsize Match Up interview, we go to Detroit, Motor City, to talk with Toby Barlow , CEO and Founder Lafayette American. This agency has been named by both ADWEEK and Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing agencies, so I’m excited to hear more. Julia: Toby, I’m looking to give my readers insights to agencies who are great partners for Midsize firms and brands. 

Rick Derr – Letter from America. In this month’s Toy World issue, Rick Derr reports back from ASTRA’s 2024 trade show and discusses the role of mid-year trade events. “As you read this in early July, I’m sure the festive holiday season is furthest from your mind,” said Rick Derr. “The 3rd and 4th qrts represent 60% of our sales and having the right mix of product is critical to maximising those sales.” In his opinion, the most...

 

John Baulch, Toy world - Wipeout… it’s the Friday Blog! It seems surreal writing a Blog about the toy market on such a momentous day, when all the talk will be dominated by the election result which saw a Tory wipeout across the UK. In 1997, the last time Labour toppled a Conservative government, The Charlatans and The Spice Girls topped the album charts. Anita had got up in the middle of the night to feed our youngest...

 

 

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History and Nostalgia

 

Slime Monster Game from Mattel (1977). In Mattel’s Slime Monster, players competed to defeat a creature that invaded a town and oozed the green, viscous compound. Mattel introduced Slime in 1976, packaging the non-toxic, water-soluble combination of guar gum and borax in trashcan-shaped packaging. The Slime Monster game represented the company’s first attempt to “gamify” the toy. .

 

Talking Pictures Schoolhouse from Mattel (1972). Released in 1972 by Mattel Preschool, Talking Pictures Schoolhouse was a sight and sound system that taught children about themselves and the world around them. The toy encouraged children’s emotional intelligence through listening, visual recognition, and self-reflection. The scenarios presented related to a child’s experiences in their physical and emotional environments. 

 

Beatrice Alexander: Creating an Industry. Beatrice Alexander elevated the craft of doll making in the United States and around the world. Crowned the “First Lady of Dolls” by FAO Schwarz, her dolls are highly valued by collectors and museums alike. Born Bertha “Beatrice” Alexander Behrman in New York City in 1895 and died at her home in Palm Beach, Florida, in October 1990. 

 

77 Sunset Strip from Lowell Toy Mfg. (1960). Released in 1960 by Lowell Toy Mfg., the 77 Sunset Strip board game was based on the TV series of the same name. With box art that featured the show’s three stars, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, and Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, the roll-and-move game was positioned as a hipper version of Clue. It also reflected the TV series’ swinging, martini-drinking, sports car-driving style. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

 

Mattel Gives Lightning McQueen Some NASCAR-Inspired Die-Cast Competition. Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace get the Disney Pixar treatment. On Monday, Mattel and NASCAR announced the release of a die-cast set of six cars that includes the latest version of Lightning McQueen—from the Pixar Cars movie franchise—along with five cars with a distinctive NASCAR flavor.

 

London-based distributor CAKE has inked a deal with Toikido to develop an animated PeaKeeBoo series. This new format will build on a package of 30 x one-minute shorts that Moonbug Entertainment is launching on its Moonbug Kids YouTube channel later this year. 

CAKE is in the early stages of development on its five-minute series treatment and hasn’t locked down an animation style yet. 

 

The Ryan’s World movie soundtrack from Republic Records: Kids & Family has been unveiled. The centerpiece of the soundtrack for Ryan’s World The Movie: Titan Universe Adventure is a cover of Imagine Dragons’ song “Thunder,” executed by the Grammy-winning vocal group Pentatonix. Other musicians and musical groups featured on the soundtrack include Qai Qai, Miles Music Kid, and The Rock and Roll Play...

 

Purrfect comedy abound in Exploding Kittens, the hilarious new animated series from creators Shane Kosakowski and Matthew Inman, the cartoonist/card game inventor/genius who spawned the Exploding Kittens and Throw Throw Burrito games, among other things. The laugh-out-loud new series has a groovy premise: God sucks at his job. He's fired and his “body” is shoved into a chubby cat on Earth as...

Amazon MGM Studios is developing a new live-action/CG-animated film adaptation of Beverly Cleary’s book The Mouse and the Motorcycle. David Guion and Michael Handelman, who both served as writers on Slumberland and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, are writing the script for this new family film. HarperCollins first published The Mouse and the Motorcycle in 1965, and it has sold more than 20 mill...

KessCo has revealed details about its new Sonic the Hedgehog tabletop game. Sonic Speed Battle, inspired by the video game Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, is officially licensed by Sega of America. The game is KessCo’s second Sonic-themed tabletop game, and the company plans to expand its licensed Sonic the Hedgehog product range.

Board game company Mastro Media is collaborating with Oni Press to produce board games based on Oni comics titles, with three titles revealed in the initial announcement.  The games will be developed in close coordination with the creators of each title.  The titles announced are: The Sixth Gun, the Eisner Award-nominated series by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, is set in 1866 with a rebel general searching for...

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on July 12th ***

 

Hasbro has launched Peppa Pig’s Play-A-Long Podcast, the first release as part of an exclusive podcasting deal with Audible, which is now streaming on the platform. Pre-schoolers and families can join Peppa’s world with a mix of fun interactive games, outdoor adventures and catchy sing-alongs with Peppa’s new band, The Piggy-Wigs.

Stevie Nicks has once again been celebrated by Mattel, makers of Barbie, with a limited re-release of her much sought-after doll, based on Nicks around the time of Fleetwood Mac‘s classic 1977 album Rumours. The doll sold out immediately on its worldwide re-release on Monday with fans hoping the toy manufacturer will announce another run.

Capitalizing on the surging popularity of Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir in the Middle East, India, Greece, Turkey, and Africa, Miraculous Corp. has cross-category plans for growth across the region. As such, Miraculous Corp. has renewed its licensing agreement with Spacetoon Events to bring themed events and live shows to the MENA region, beginning with events such as the Qatar Toy Festival and the...

 

Shrek 5 is officially in the DreamWorks Animation pipeline for a 2026 release. Key voice actors Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz are confirmed for this long-awaited sequel to the franchise that has collectively grossed US$4 billion. Gina Shay (Shrek Forever After) and Chris Meledandri (Despicable Me) are attached to produce the pic, and director Walt Dohrn (Trolls)—who worked on previous Shrek films...

The Pinkfong Company has inked two new deals to expand the presence of its animated preschool series Bebefinn at home in South Korea, and they could establish a blueprint for some interesting global brand extensions. First up, Pinkfong is operating a Bebefinn theater in the Popo Cinema just outside of Seoul in Gimpo-si (July 20 to August 18).

UK broadcaster Sky Kids is beefing up its programming lineup for the year ahead by commissioning three brand-new series concepts and renewing another three shows that are already on air. Jaime’s Yoga Adventures, Emerald and Ten Little…who? have been greenlit as Sky Originals, and all three titles are slated to launch in 2025 (although a sneak preview of Ten Little…who? will drop this Christmas).

McFarlane Toys has signed on with SEGA to develop action figures inspired by the Persona 3 Reload video game. The new 7-inch-tall articulated figures will feature characters from Persona 3 Reload. They’ll join other collectibles McFarlane Toys offers that feature popular video games, including Diablo IV, the Mortal Kombat series, Batman: Arkham City, and more. 

 

Warner Bros. Discovery is rolling out a package of Looney Tunes sports-themed content for kids this summer to tap into buzz building around the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. The studio has just launched a six-pack of 90-second Looney Tunes Presents: Sports Made Simple animated clips featuring the Looney Tunes characters explaining sports including tennis, gymnastics and breakdancing  to kids. 

Disney’s ‘Primos’ Creator and First Trailer Reveal New Animated Series Celebrating Her Diverse Multicultural Family. Natasha Kline also responds to the knee-jerk reaction when the series was first announced: "I really hope people give it a chance." Primos creator Natasha Kline has known since she was little that she wanted to make her own show. “I was five years old and I was like, “I want to be an animator,’” she recalls. 

Lena Dunham is officially out of pocket—Polly Pocket, that is. In an interview with The New Yorker, the Girls creator and star revealed that she is no longer writing and directing toy company Mattel’s Polly Pocket feature film: “I don’t think I have that in me.”  In the wake of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, it was announced that Dunham had been tapped to write and direct a movie based on another piece of beloved Mattel IP.

Canadian broadcasters TVOKids, Knowledge Kids, Société Radio-Canada and TFO have banded together to order a new 2D-animated short series that will be co-produced by Milkcow Media and Big Jump Entertainment. Created by Milkcow founder and Emmy-winning showrunner Alexander Bar (Mike the Knight, Ricky Zoom), Polly Can Do centers around a resilient five-year-old girl living with cerebral palsy...

Nickelodeon has teamed up with Channel 5’s Milkshake! block to produce a new 2D-animated preschool series called Tim Rex in Space, their first global co-production together. Tim Rex will launch on Nick’s US and international channels in 2025, with Milkshake! premiering it in the UK. 

Cypress Hill to Perform with the London Symphony Orchestra as The Simpsons Prediction Comes True 28 Years Later. The performance comes 28 years after The Simpsons joked about Cypress Hill accidentally ordering the LSO "possibly while high" during the 1996 "Homerpalooza" episode. They ended up joining forces to perform the band's 1993 hit, "Insane in the Brain."

The LEGO Technic McLaren P1 is the ultimate model car. With nearly 4,000 pieces and tons of cool tricks, this special McLaren set is sure to delight collectors and enthusiasts alike. LEGO and McLaren have already teamed up on a range of epic collaborations, bringing several of the storied British marque’s cars to life as scale models for LEGO’s Speed Champions, Icons, and Technic product lines.

 

MGA’s Miniverse welcomes Harry Potter and LOTR. Extending its partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products (WBDGCP), MGA Entertainment has announced new collections coming soon from MGA’s Miniverse. The new lines are inspired by some of the most popular films from Warner Bros. Discovery, adding to the existing portfolio of licensed WBDGCP products.

 

‘Terrifier’ – Funko unleashes a wave of Art the Clown POP! Vinyl Toys! Just in time for the release of Terrifier 3 in theaters nationwide on October 11, we’ve learned this week that Funko will be releasing an official wave of Art the Clown POP! vinyl toys. Five different Terrifier toys have been previewed by Funko this week, including a standard version of Art the Clown, a blood-soaked variant, and the “Art the Clown With Bike” toy. 

 

Wow! Stuff partners with WWE for new collection.  Wow! Stuff, in partnership with WWEcollection, has announced the launch of new Thumb Wars toys, alongside other gifts, toys and novelties, in a deal facilitated by WWE’s licensing agency, IMG. The new collection launches with thumb caps featuring highly detailed sculpted heads of WWE Superstars, elevating Thumb Wars in school playgrounds around the world. 

 

Hunter Price announces first collaboration with food brands. With food and beverage licensing at an all time high, Hunter Price International has announced the first of its signings in this exciting category space for the business. The consumer product developer has teamed up with award winning licensing agency, Pink Key Licensing, to create products for Kellogg’s and Pringles across various categories. 

 

McFarlane Toys upscales Adam West Batman to match the rest. One of the biggest frustrations felt by Batman fans over McFarlane Toys‘ action figures has been the fact that the 1966 TV show-inspired line comes in a 6-inch scale, while every other McFarlane Batman and DC superhero figure is 7-inch scale. 

 

LEGO unveils the LEGO Ideas Jaws set. LEGO has unveiled the latest addition to its licensed line-up – the 1,497-piece Lego Ideas Jaws set. Suitable for AFOLs aged 18 and over, the set pays homage to what is arguably Steven Spielberg’s greatest movie masterpiece. The film, about a giant man-eating great white shark that terrorises swimmers in the tourist hotspot of Amity Island, was released in 1975...

 

Spin Master reveals first toys and collectibles for PlayStation Studios Games from Sony Interactive Entertainment. Spin Master has revealed the first of its collection as a global toy licensee for Sony Interactive Entertainment including “God of War,” “Horizon Forbidden West” and “Ghost of Tsushima.” Spin Master’s detailed figures and collectibles deliver the interactive storytelling of Sony Interactive's immersive PlayStation...

McFarlane, SEGA ink licensing deal for ‘Persona 3 Reload’ action figures. McFarlane Toys has signed on with SEGA to develop action figures inspired by the Persona 3 Reload video game. The new 7-inch-tall articulated figures will feature characters from Persona 3 Reload. They’ll join other collectibles McFarlane Toys offers that feature popular video games, including Diablo IV, the Mortal Kombat series...

Wow! Stuff’s Real FX Disney Stitch First Edition sells out. Wow! StuffStitch‘s Real FX Disney Stitch First Edition has launched with what the innovative toy company is calling ‘unprecedented success’. Timed to coincide with International Stitch Day, which was celebrated globally on 26th June, the launch marked a significant milestone in toy retail this year. 

 

Ravensburger errata's 'Disney Lorcana's' menacing squirrel: Bucky, Squirrel Squeak Tutor gets tweaked. Ravenburger announced an errata to Bucky, Squirrel Squeak Tutor, a card in Disney Lorcana, which will go into effect on August 9, 2024. Bucky is an uncommon from Rise of the Floodborn that had been giving an unbalancing advantage to Emerald decks since the release of Ursula's Return. 

 

Kids Preferred launches ‘Sesame Street’ infant toys. Kids Preferred has a fresh line of baby toys featuring beloved Sesame Street characters. Elmo and Cookie Monster are joining the Kids Preferred portfolio of products. The new collection includes plush, a teether toy, blankets, and more. Several of the new goods are available on Amazon now, with additional releases on the way. 

 

Sony Music, Aniplex, Pocketpair pfor ‘Palworld’ Products. The three companies are partnering to form a new joint venture: Palworld Entertainment. Following an impressive breakout launch, Pocketpair’s Palworld video game plans to expand its reach even further, partnering with Sony Music Entertainment and its group subsidiary Aniplex. Sony Music, Aniplex, and Pocketpair are coming together...

 

Jelly Belly, Wilder team up for BeanBoozled Taste the Truth Game. Jelly Belly Candy Company has joined forces with the game makers at Wilder to gamify the infamous BeanBoozled jelly beans. BeanBoozled Taste the Truth, created by Wilder, features the new 7th Edition BeanBoozled Collection and its two new flavors from Jelly Belly – Wet Dog and Burnt Rubber – and their counterparts – Top Banana and Licorice. 

 

Aldi launches Squishmallows Slides in stores. Supermarket giant Aldi has new footwear on the way, featuring the fan-favorite Squishmallows brand from Jazwares. Aldi is known for its stores with small layouts of rotating products and good deals. Now, Squishmallows will join that product portfolio, with Squishmallows Slides making their way to Aldi shelves July 17.

 

Flyos Games announces 'Rayman the Board Game': Based on the Ubisoft video game. Flyos Games announced Rayman the Board Game, which is based off the Ubisoft video game. This game will be headed to Kickstarter soon. Rayman was a series of video games, created by Michael Ancel, that first appeared in 1995 on Atari Jaguar, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC platforms.

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People of Play

 

Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks talks to 'Entrepreneur' about his philosophies on leadership and innovation at Collision conference in Toronto. Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks reveals how the century-old toy company he helms remains innovative. He teases several upcoming releases that he is most excited about. Cocks shares his biggest piece of advice for anyone trying to break into the toy industry.

 

Learning Resources  proudly announces the promotion of Director of Product Development Tom Runtz to VP of Product Development. Runtz succeeds longtime Vice President of Product Development Barb Plain upon her recent retirement. “Tom has been instrumental in shaping our product strategy and delivering ideas that resonate with our customers,” stated Rick Woldenberg, CEO of Learning Resources. 

Hasbro is naming 3 new sr execs as the company continues its digital transformation. Dan Shull is joining Hasbro as Chief Digital Information Officer. Shull previously served as CTO at REI, along with executive positions at Signet, Nike, and Borders. Stephanie Beal, who has been with Hasbro since 2022, is promoted to Chief Supply Chain Officer. Dan Rawson, Global Play Lead for Dungeons & Dragons and RPGs, is...

*** The above posted after tBR circulated July 12th ***

 

The Playground Podcast: Greg Ahearn & The Toy Association. BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE. We talked to Greg Ahearn, the new president and CEO of the Toy Association about his new role. We talked about continuing the work of the 108-year-old organization and Greg’s bold vision for the future and serving a dynamic industry. It’s a great conversation you won’t want to miss. Be sure to listen here.

Tim Kilpin – President of Toys, Board Games, Licensing & Entertainment at Hasbro – on how insights fuel innovation. “We’re in an industry that turns on serial creativity”: Hasbro’s Tim Kilpin discusses cultivating creative cultures. “Tim, it’s always great to catch up. This is our first interview with you since you joined Hasbro last year. What appealed about the company?” “Two big reasons. 

 

Kerry Novick, VP of global distribution at The Jim Henson Company, is retiring after a 30-year career in international sales for some of the industry’s biggest producers/distributors. This is Novick’s last week of full-time work, but she’ll remain involved in an advisory capacity until Henson hires her replacement.

 

WBD reshapes its international kids team. LatAm GM Pablo Zuccarino has taken on an expanded role, and APAC VP of kids content Chris Ho is leaving the company.  The announcements were made today in an internal staff memo from Vanessa Brookman, GM of kids, global streaming and international networks.

 

Following his recent departure from Paramount International, Adam Bailey is back in action at BBC Studios Kids & Family as a development producer for animation. Bailey shared the news in a LinkedIn post on Friday (July 5), announcing that he had just wrapped up his first week in the new role. Based in Salford, he is responsible for working with a broad range of creators/talent to develop new animation...

Toys "R" Us Asia's Flora Tsui steps up as VP of marketing and digital strategy. Toys ”R” Us Asia’s Flora Tsui has taken on an expanded role as vice president of marketing and digital strategy. Within her new role, Tsui oversees the brand’s marketing, consumer engagement and eCommerce functions across all eight markets in Asia, including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and China, and reports directly to Leo Tsoi...

Darren Robinson promoted to Finance director at Toymaster. Toymaster has announced that former head of Finance Darren Robinson has been promoted to Finance director and company secretary. Darren’s role will cover the day-to-day accounting and financial reporting at Toymaster. Additionally, his role will also encompass supporting Toymaster members with financial advice including cash flow aid, investment help...

 

Gen Con owner Peter Adkison launches new crowd-funding project: 'The Chaldea Gazetteer'. Peter Adkison, Gen Con Owner and former Wizards of the Coast CEO, launched The Chaldea Gazetteer crowd-funding project, which will go live on July 9, 2024. Adkison is wading back into the RPG publishing pool with his new project, The Chaldea Gazetteer. 

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Companies and Brands

A brand new Build-A-Bear Workshop location will open at The Wrigley Building on Saturday, July 13. The new location is positioned in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on the Chicago River, and is a notable retail destination in the U.S. To celebrate the grand opening, Build-A-Bear will give away free Lil Cub teddy bears to the first 50 visitors. 

Moose Games Makes Its Gen Con Debut With New Launches for 2024. Make sure to stop by booth 371 to meet the team and check out some of our favorite new game launches this year: Wild Flowers, Crash the Party, and Pickleball Blast. Wild Flowers. One of the games they are most excited to bring to Gen Con is Wild Flowers, a new light strategy game designed by Peggy Brown. Players will “grow” a community garden...

 

Ty Warner unveiled Beanie Bouncers, his fresh take on the #1 selling toy of all time: the ball. A brand-new product from the maker of Beanie Babies, the Bouncers bounce sky-high and are totally wrapped in the softness of plush. The result is a toy with maximum play value – unveiled today for the first time at the Atlanta Market trade show.

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on July 12th ***

 

Hasbro announced the launch of ‘Furby Wuz Here,’ an immersive campaign and activation invading NYC. Celebrating one year since the iconic toy’s return, the activation invites consumers to experience the world of Furby, featuring a delightful hunt for mischievous moments and “furbified” objects across the city. Starting today, these moments will appear in the form of giant Furby footprints left in wet cement, paint...

 

Tsuburaya Productions is unveiling the Ultraman Card Game following the successful launch of Ultraman: Rising on Netflix last month. 

The Ultraman Card Game is a trading card game featuring art from the new movie along with designs from Ultraman Tiga illustrator Hiroshi Maruyama and Ultraman production designer Masayuki Goto. 

University Games Points Out It’s New Game: Give ‘Em The Finger. Call it as it is. University Games flips off the formalities and names its new game for its primary play element. “It’s a sassy title game with an easy family fun play pattern. Give ‘Em The Finger grabs your attention and points to one of our best new family board games this year,” Craig Hendrickson, SVP Product Development at University Games, explained.

PlayMonster Group and Diverse Marketing, announced a 3-year open-ended agreement for Diverse Marketing and Diverse Brands to represent PlayMonster across the majority of the company’s retail accounts nationwide. Effective immediately, the partnership aims to streamline representation and enhance service for PlayMonster partners spanning mass retail, specialty toy, and independent retailers.

 

Hasbro’s early adoption of Prime Video ads helps reel in new buyers. Peppa Pig and Play-Doh were able to reach new customers and grow brand favorability by tapping into Amazon’s first-party data and video capabilities. Hasbro saw a 21% lift in branded searches and an 18% increase in sales for Peppa Pig while Play-Doh received a 14% bump in ad recall and 4% boost to brand favorability.  

Nintendo is choosing human creativity over AI. In a recent call with investors, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said that while the video game industry has had a long relationship with AI, technology alone cannot create great games. “In the game industry, AI-like technologies have long been used—for example, to control the movements of opponent characters—so I believe that game development and AI technology...

 

Following an 18-month pitch — which included incumbent agency Initiative — The LEGO Group has appointed Publicis One as its new global media agency. The new agency will focus on strengthening The LEGO Group’s current connection to families and builders, as well as the company’s stance on the importance of play. Publicis One, which is powered by Starcom, will navigate the evolving digital landscape...

Pickle Everything Games, founded by toy and game industry veterans Jeffrey Breslow and Frank Adler, today announced the retail launch of Pickle Everything Foodie Deck, the first expansion pack to its original game, which launched earlier this year – Pickle Everything. Just like the original, the new Foodie Deck features foods starting with the letter “p” as the latest clues. Players can look forward to guessing culinary...

Toys ‘R’ Us launches worldwide holiday ‘Play Day’. Toys “R” Us has plans to celebrate a new holiday at locations across the globe, one it has dubbed Play Day, on July 20. The holiday will primarily consist of two activations and initiatives. This first is the Pledge to Play, which is a form customers can fill out and sign asserting their commitment to “make play a priority” and to “vow to create space for joy no matter how busy”...

 

How Barbie plans to approach the next ‘big thing’ for the brand. Mattel’s senior vice-president of Barbie and global head of dolls, Krista Berger. says she knows the “power” of the Barbie brand, something the business will be leaning on as it celebrates its 65th anniversary. It’s been almost a year since the Barbie film hit cinemas and turned the world pink with branded content. 

 

Epoch’s arts & crafts brand Pati-School off to a sweet start. Epoch Making Toys has been delighted with how well-received new award-winning arts and crafts brand Pati-School has been since its recent launch. Currently rolling-out across all major retailers, the brand got off to a great start in January with the Party Creations Starter Kit named as a Hero Toy at Toy Fair. 

 

Gamewright reveals 'Wrath of Fire Mountain': New strategy game by Paul Walker-Harding and Eric Lang. Gamewright revealed Wrath of Fire Mountain, new strategy game, which will release in August 2024. Paul Walker-Harding and Eric Lang have teamed up to create new strategy game with a prehistoric flare. In this game, players take charge of a cohort of cave people living around Fire Mountain, a giant volcano. 

 

Enter 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' 'Speed Duel: Battle City Finals'. New TCG Boxed set chock full of Prismatic Secret Rares. Konami Digital Entertainment unveiled Speed Duel: Battle City Finals, a new boxed set for Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, which will hit stores on November 22, 2024. The newest Speed Duel set offers players pre-constructed decks for Yami Yugi, Seto Kaiba, Joey Wheeler, Mai Valentine, Yami Bakura, Odion, Ishizu Ishtar, and Yami Marik.

 

Bandai Will Release 'Digimon CG: Chain of Liberation' new booster set. Bandai will release Digimon CG: Chain of Liberation, a new booster set, into retail on January 1, 2025. This new set features several characters from the webcomic Digimon Liberator.  It will have a new trump card for Shoto Kazama, Medieval Gallantmon, as well as new Tamers and their partner Digimon. 

 

Wyncor to launch Miraball line at Carrefour Stores in Europe. Recently launched toy company Wyncor has inked an agreement with Carrefour to see its Miraball brand in stores across Europe this September. Wyncor established itself this past January and has since continued development on several product offerings, including patented toys such as Miraball. 

 

'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Quarter Century Bonanza' booster packs unveiled. Each pack comes with Platinum or Quarter Century Secret Rare. Konami Digital Entertainment unveiled Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Quarter Century Bonanza booster packs, which will hit retail on November 8, 2024. The Quarter Century Bonanza booster packs picks up where the Rarity Collection left off offering collectors cards from a 200-card nostalgia card pool.

 

Corvus Belli announces the launch of 'Warcrow': New miniatures combat game heads to retail. Corvus Belli will release Warcrow, a new combat miniatures game, into retail on July 15, 2024. Warcrow was first unveiled back in 2022, and originally slated to come out in fall 2022.  This is a two-player miniatures game set in a fantasy universe with different nations that are vying for power. 

Good Games Publishing unveils 'Curses & Covens': A new social deduction card game. Good Games Publishing unveiled Curses & Covens, a new social deducation card game, which will release in fall 2024. In this game, players either assume the roles of townsfolk, who are trying to hide friendly witches or a witch hunter.

Toys“R”Us launches Asia’s first ‘Playful Living’ concept store in Hong Kong. Toys“R”Us has launched its first ‘Playful Living’ concept store in Asia at K11 Art Mall at Tsim Sha Tsui, aiming to make consumers regain their pure childhood happiness through their favorite characters’ decorations and treasured toys. Having classic and trendy toys, Toys“R”Us’ new store shares a sense of kindness and warmth providing...

 

Dire Wolf Digital reveals new 'Clank! Catacombs' expansion: 'Lairs & Lost Chambers'. Dire Wolf Digital revealed Clank! Catacombs: Lairs & Lost Chambers, a new expansion, which will hit retail in September 2024. Lairs & Lost Chambers introduces the enigmatic Sphinx, a Medusa, and Living Statues to Clank! Catacombs. It also adds lost chambers to the dungeon, which hold mysterious powers.

 

SDCC: Tsuburaya Productions to preview Ultraman Trading Card Game at the Con. Tsuburaya Productions is unveiling the Ultraman Card Game following the successful launch of Ultraman: Rising on Netflix last month.The Ultraman Card Game is a trading card game featuring art from the new movie along with designs from Ultraman Tiga illustrator Hiroshi Maruyama and Ultraman production designer Masayuki Goto. 

 

Quimbley's Toys & Games is new publisher of Petersen Games and future publisher of Frazetta titles. New Company Quimbley's Toys & Games is taking over as publisher of Petersen Games titles and plans a slate of products tied to the work of Frank Frazetta, the company announced. Petersen Games, publisher of games designed by famed designer Sandy Petersen, especially titles tied to the Cthulhu mythos...

'Tekken 8' Clash Decks incoming from UVS Games. UVS Games will release Tekken 8 Clash Decks, for UniVersus CCG, into retail on October 24, 2024. The two new Clash decks were the result of a licensing deal with Bandai Namco and focus on Jin Kazama and Jun Kazama. These pre-constructed 61-card decks come ready to play right out of the box and are intended as entry level products for the UniVersus line.

SmartGames unveils Gnome Sweet Gnome. Gnome Sweet Gnome stimulates hand-eye coordination, language and deduction skills while children use problem solving skills to reunite gnomes with their homes. SmartGamesGnome Sweet Gnome, a worldwide leader in multi-level logic games, has presented its latest one player puzzle game, Gnome Sweet Gnome, a charming new pre-school wooden puzzle game...

 

Play as artificial intelligences processing the world in 'Compile: Main 1': New card game by greater than games. Greater Than Games will release Compile: Main 1, a new card game, which will hit retail on August 1, 2024. In this game, players assume the roles of competing artificial intelligences that are attempting to comprehend the world around them.

Playtime PR achieves B Corp certification. The B Corp certification means the award-winning agency Playtime PR is now counted among businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. Playtime PRB Corp, the award-winning agency on a mission to make lives more playful, today announces that it is officially a certified B Corporation (B Corp). 

 

Deep Print Games unveils 'Intarsia': New tile-laying game by Michael Kiesling. Deep Print Games unveiled Intarsia, a new tile-laying game, for release into retail in September 2024. In this game, by Azul designer Michael Kiesling (see "Azul"), players take the roles of craftspeople that create Intarsia, a form of woodworking the makes parquet flooring.

In Toy World's July issue, Wicked Vision’s Kevin Langstaff spoke about how the company and its product range have evolved over the years, as well as its latest launches and how Wicked Vision supports its retail partners. Wicked Vision has now been trading for 24 years, and Kevin Langstaff told Toy World how its product offering has changed over that time. “Wicked, long known for products like boomerangs, discs...

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

 

Mattel announced Barbie Project Friendship, an adventure game that follows Barbie “Brooklyn” Roberts, Barbie “Malibu” Roberts, and friends as they restore a run-down community center. Featuring the original voice cast of Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures and developed with support from the show’s head writer Ann Austen, Barbie Project Friendship is headed to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5...

 

Kendrick Lamar’s “Not Like Us” momentum cannot be stopped. The Drake-dissing anthem has officially received the video game treatment and is now available for those looking to smack around some owls. Game designer Richie Branson unveiled Not Like Us: The Game on Monday (July 15), which appears to find users playing as Kendrick Lamar wielding a wooden baseball bat, tasked with hitting owls...

FarSight Studios, a video-game company founded by Congressman Jay Obernolte, has introduced what it says is the first officially licensed pickleball title. PPA Pickleball Tour 2025 costs $50 and is available on PC, Xbox and PlayStation, with a Nintendo Switch release to follow, the company said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The studio worked with the Professional Pickleball Association, one of several...

*** The above posted after tBR ran on July 12th ***

 

Microsoft hiking Xbox Game Pass prices by up to 25%. Microsoft has announced big price rises for Game Pass, its Netflix-style subscription service for games. The gaming giant, which purchased studio Activision Blizzard for a record $69bn (then £56bn) in 2023, says monthly charges for PC Game Pass will rise by £2 to £9.99, while its premium service, Ultimate, will go up by £2 to £14.99 per month.

Bandai Namco to launch second Gundam Base Mobile Tour. Event-exclusive figures will also be available. Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America (BNTCA) has revealed the tour dates and locations for the 2024 Gundam Base Mobile Tour. This marks the second Gundam Base Mobile Tour to travel within the U.S. The tour begins on Aug. 7 and ends on Oct. 27.

 

Gen-Z's video craze: 65% identified as content creators in YouTube's latest report. Every year, YouTube releases a "Culture & Trends Report" that examines user behavior and is mostly meant for marketers. Although encouraging advertising expenditure is the report's main objective, it also offers insightful statistics. 

 

Monster Hunter Stories 2 tops 2 million sales in three years. Capcom's Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is now three years old and has sold over 2 million copies. The spinoff for the RPG series first released on PC and Nintendo Switch on July 9, 2021. It only recently came to PlayStation 4 this past June.

 

Swedish game industry wants video games recognized as 'cultural canon'. Swedish video game trade association, Dataspelsbranschen, has selected 15 titles it believes should be added to the country's "cultural canon" to improve recognition of the artform. The list includes classic and contemporary titles such as Stugan, BackPacker, Ground Control, Minecraft, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, It Takes Two...

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Highlighted Press Releases

PUNCHKINS PUTS NEW SPIN ON PLUSH BY GIVING PLUSHIES PUNNY PERSONALITIES. Glastonbury, CT (July 9, 2024) – When Punchkins says their collection of plush, such as the giant grilled cheese pillow, are nacho average plushies, the pun is intended – everywhere and always! It would look grate on any dorm bed as kidults are the biggest buyers of these punny personalities. If it’s sassy, cute, snarky or relatable, it’s likely embroidered on Punchkins (https://punchkins.com/).

WATCH EYES LIGHT UP AS KIDS GET THEIR GLOW ON WITH DARK ARTS TOP 8 BEST SELLERS. Nurture Little Ones’ Left And Right Brains With Art Materials That Glow In The Dark Priced $4.49 To $19.99 That Are Innovative, Fascinating & Educational. Melbourne, Australia (July 10, 2024) – Preschoolers may not be able to pronounce phosphorescent, but they’ll know it when they see it thanks to an exciting brand from Micador, Australia’s favorite art, craft, toys and DIY products. Micador Dark Arts (https://micador.com.au/dark-arts) is a collection of glow in the dark art and craft activities and materials featuring phosphorescent and fluorescent properties. 

 

ENGAGE BABY WITH SOFT FIRST BOOK, ON-THE-GO TOY, PLUSH & BLANKY FEATURING SESAME STREET’S ELMO OR COOKIE MONSTER. ME WANT COOKIE! East Windsor, NJ (July 9, 2024) – Kids Preferred is introducing an adorable new line of Sesame Street licensed infant playthings. The perfect baby shower gift or welcome-home-baby present are stocked and ready at Amazon. The Sesame Street collection boasts almost a dozen baby accessories, from a soft book with sensory materials and tabs to an Elmo activity toy with teething rings, crinkle sounds, and on the go clip. Each of the baby-first toys entice imaginative play and are ultra-soft.  Some may help with growing pains such as teething.

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

Pediatricians with young children share the pool toys and flotation devices they won't let their kids use because they increase the risk of drowning. As more kids go into the water to stay cool this summer, a pediatrician recently went viral on social media with a warning about pool toys and flotation devices that increase the risk of drowning in small children.

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Associations, Foundations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

Nominations are Now Open for the 2025 Toy of the Year® Awards. Is your toy, game, or property a contender for the toy industry’s most prestigious awards? Nominations are officially open for the 25th Toy of the Year® (TOTY®) Awards, taking place February 28, 2025 at Cipriani’s 42nd Street in New York City. Toy companies, inventors, and other industry representatives are invited to submit their top products and...

 

TA President’s Letter: The LA Fall Preview is Officially Sold Out! As the toy industry gets ready for fall previews in Los Angeles, we’re excited to announce that The Toy Association’s first-ever LA fall marketplace is officially sold out, with 78 toy companies securing space at 2250 East Imperial Highway in El Segundo, the heart of LA’s “toy district.” The building will be open all of September to accommodate...

 

DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon, Disney+, Paramount+ and Warner Bros. Animation are among the studios showcasing new kids projects at this year's fan fest. With Comic-Con 2024’s July 25 start date quickly approaching, attendees can now dig into the panel lineup and plan their week around must-attend sessions. Adult- and teen-focused franchises are likely to generate the most buzz...

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially struck a 12-year partnership with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Saudi Arabia to host the first-ever Olympic eSports Games in 2025. This collaboration will be formally presented at the next general assembly of IOC members (IOC Session) on July 25, a day before the opening of the 2025 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. 

The Children's Media Conference (CMC), recently held in Sheffield (9-11 July) is the UK's leading children's content conference, providing keynotes, sessions, workshops and valuable networking opportunities for those involved in the development and distribution of kids' titles, across multiple platforms. The 2024 edition attracted around 1000 delegates and 200 speakers and hosts. 

Disney unveils its programming lineup for D23. The sold-out show will feature panels for Inside Out 2, an Avatar-themed interactive experience, and a dealer's hall filled with merch from partners such as LEGO and Spin Master. In anticipation of its return to the Anaheim Convention Center next month, Disney has revealed a packed lineup of more than 230 programs for this year’s D23 fandom event. 

 

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on July 12th ***

 

The Model Car Hall of Fame (MCHOF) from the USA is coming to the next Spielwarenmesse, which takes place in Nuremberg from 28th January to 1st February 2025. “We are delighted at this new arrival, which will be a splendid addition to our Model Railways and Model Construction product group,” said Christian Ulrich, spokesperson of the executive board at Spielwarenmesse. 

Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots is continuing its annual Christmas in July initiative. This summer, Toys for Tots is working with local nonprofits in the U.S. to bring new toys and Christmas cheer to underprivileged kids for the fourth consecutive year. The initiative supports Toys for Tots’ mission to bring joy to struggling kids year-round, especially as inflation and financial circumstances impact families.

 

Kids’ Choice Awards viewers will be transported into the world of Bikini Bottom during this year’s show. Nickelodeon has designed the stage based on the undersea home of SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star, who are hosting the 2024 KCAs on Saturday from Los Angeles — just a few days ahead of the date of SpongeBob SquarePants’ 25th anniversary (it premiered on July 17, 1999). To celebrate that milestone...

 

The Asian Animation Summit, an annual event run by Kidscreen to showcase the Asia Pacific region’s best new toons in development for children, is offering a new Wild Card program this year that’s open to creators not represented by trade agencies that are AAS partners. Project submissions for this new fee-based pathway will be accepted online until Friday, August 16.

 

Pony Canyon USA arrives, and Kinnikuman returns. On Independence Day eve 2024, Japan gave talents to Los Angeles. They rode into town on horseback of sorts. The Pony Canyon press extravaganza took place at Japan House, the permanent Nipponese cultural hub that sits steps away from Dolby Theatre. Under the halo effect of annual Oscar ceremonies, high level Pony Canyon co-workers — from overseas and...

 

Paramount Animation and Hasbro Entertainment are bringing “Transformers: One” to San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H, the studio announced on Tuesday. The panel discussion and exclusive footage presentation from the movie will also have Chris Hemsworth, Brian Tyree Henry, Keegan-Michael Key, along with the Director Josh Cooley, and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura in attendeance.

 

Nominations Open for 2024 Canadian Toy Association Hall of Fame & Rising Star Awards. The toy community is invited to submit nominees for induction into the 2024 Canadian Toy Association (CTA) Hall of Fame. Consideration for the Hall of Fame is open to individuals, living or posthumous, who have made outstanding contributions to the toy industry in Canada throughout their careers, while the Rising Star Awards...

 

Game & Toy Conventions 2024 by Craig Carpenter. Here’s a list of many of the conferences I will be attending this year plus a few extras I think others may be interested in. If you’re going to be at any of these please let me know and I’ll hope to connect with you in person!

 

GAMA OPENS UP APPLICATIONS FOR 2024 HORIZONS FELLOWSHIP. Selected Participants Receive $1000 Grant for Operational Expenses and More. The Horizons Fellowship program is accelerator fund earmarked for underrepresented communities in the games industry that was established in 2021 (see "Horizons Fellowship).  The fund is open to businesses that are at least 51% owned and/or operated...

 

The Games Manufacturers Association reported the attendance numbers for Origins Game Fair 2024. Origins 2024, which happened on June 19-23, 2024, had 17,706 attendees.  This is up over 9% from 2023's attendance total, which was 16,082 people, but still down around 14% from the last pre-pandemic show in 2019, where Origins drew 20,642 people (see "Origins Attendance Up 11%").  

Paying tribute to the year’s finest work in children’s television and digital media, the 16th annual Kidscreen Awards program is officially accepting entries. Winners will be announced and celebrated at a prestigious awards ceremony held during Kidscreen Summit 2025 (February 9-12, San Diego), the year’s largest gathering of the global kids entertainment industry. 

FabLab sponsors Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards. PlayMonsterFabLab is set to sponsor the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (KCAs) with FabLab, the best-selling styling brand for tweens. The event, which honours the biggest names and titles of the year in television, film, music, social media and sports, will air on Monday 15th July on Nickelodeon UK.

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design inducts five into Hall of Fame. The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design inducted five new members into their Hall of Fame at Origins Game Fair, as announced by The Game Manufacturers Association. This year, the Academy honored two game designers and three artists. On the design side, Matt Leacock, designer of Pandemic, Forbidden Island...

Dad’s Choice Awards 2024 opens for entries. Now in its 12th year, the Dad’s Choice Awards 2024 invites entries in 20 different categories to be tried out by Dad testers and their children. Entries are now open for the Dad’s Choice Awards 2024, and the closing date is 27th September. These are the only UK awards dedicated to dads and their children and are now in their 12th year. 

 

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

 

Rob Ramash - Tribute from Kim Carter:  Today we are saddened to learn that our friend, and former business associate, Rob Romash died suddenly on June 9th. Rob was a larger than life talented individual. 
Rob had a passion for flying toys as a kid and he extended this into his business career, building his business, Eclipse toys on the numerous flying toys he designed.
A native of New Jersey, Rob started out in toys with Larami, moved on to Tyco / Mattel (where he worked on Matchbox) and subsequently joined Estes Rockets before setting up Eclipse toys. 
Beyond toys Rob was well known in model flying circles, was a talented artist, crafted wooden furniture and even designed his wife Nida’s wedding ring.

 

Eugene “Gene” Hendel passed away on June 30, 2024. Gene was a man who was anything but ordinary, and it makes no sense to write a generic obituary for a legend such as him. He’s probably shaking his head right now, saying, “I asked for simple!”
Gene spent 50 years in the toy industry, working with giants like Kenner, Mattel, Hasbro, and Tiger Electronics. His family was so proud when he decided to launch his own company, Gene Hendel Associates, as a manufacturer’s rep. It was a huge leap of faith with a wife, two kids, and a dog to care for, but given his stellar reputation and work ethic, he thrived and became more successful than ever.

 

Joshua "Rod, Rodimus, Josh" Carter passed away on June 11, 2024, in Savannah, Georgia, at the age of 40. Born on February 29, 1984, in Charleston, South Carolina, Joshua was a cherished member of the community and a vibrant presence in the lives of those who knew him.

Joshua was the beloved owner of Rodimus Toys, a haven for collectors of vintage toys and action figures, which mirrored his personal passion. From his early childhood, Joshua was captivated by the world of action figures, a love that he carried and cultivated into adulthood. His business was not just a career but a reflection of his personal joy and enthusiasm for collectibles.

 

Chris Wiggs, the inventor of Polly Pocket, died peacefully on June 20 at his home in France surrounded by love and family, The Post can exclusively reveal. He was 74. Wiggs had been recently diagnosed with a rare form of neurological cancer.

The East London native dreamed up the portable dreamhouse in 1983, while in New York on business.

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Some Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

 

Toyworld (UK)

  1. Wipeout… it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Paramount Global to merge with Skydance Media

  3. Wow! Stuff partners with WWE for new collection

  4. David Adams joins Curious Universe

  5. Epoch’s arts & crafts brand Pati-School off to a sweet start

  6. MGA’s Miniverse welcomes Harry Potter and LOTR

  7. Wow! Stuff’s Real FX Disney Stitch First Edition sells out

  8. FabLab sponsors Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards

  9. Hippychick celebrates 25 years with charity walk

  10. Exclusive: Wicked Vision’s evolution

Licensing.biz Powered by Toyworld

  1. Paramount Global to merge with Skydance Media

  2. Exclusive: Magic Light’s Alex Sanson speaks about BLE 2024

  3. Brand Licensing Europe launches Event Planner

  4. Wow! Stuff partners with WWE for new collection

  5. Hunter Price announces first collaboration with food brands

  6. MGA’s Miniverse welcomes Harry Potter and LOTR

  7. Wow! Stuff’s Real FX Disney Stitch First Edition sells out

  8. Royal Mail celebrates 50 years of Dungeons & Dragons

  9. Heathside unveils collector-worthy model of The Nebuchadnezzar

  10. Lego and McLaren unveil the Lego Technic McLaren P1

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

​- Corvus Belli Announces the Launch of 'Warcrow'
'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Quarter Century Bonanza' Booster Packs Unveiled
Enter 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' 'Speed Duel: Battle City Finals'
TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed Products (with Price Shifts) – June 2024
'Magic: The Gathering' Crushes Chart; 'Pokemon TCG' Summer Malaise Cause for Concern?
Flyos Games Announces 'Rayman the Board Game'
Rolling for Initiative -- Are Wizards Accounts the Future of EventLink?
Gen Con Owner Peter Adkison Launches New Crowd-funding Project
Quimbley's Toys & Games Is New Publisher of Petersen Games
Mesmerize Party Members with Plush 'D&D' Mind Flayer Gamer Pouch

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)​​

Global Toy News

The Bugg Report (Australia)

The Toy Universe (Australia)

hobbyDB

Casual Game Revolution

​News Flash: Hit People with Swords or Make Wordy Predictions
Exploding Kittens has announced a sword hitting based game, The Op has released a new party game, and Board Game Geek has launched their annual SPIEL Essen games list.

Video of the Week 

The Magic of Disney & Lego on Hidden Role Podcast with Karri Bean

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Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know...

we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Do you have news to share? Send us a note! mary@chitag.com 

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