October 8, 2020
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Mattel Films Is Developing a Thomas & Friends Live-action Film

Some familiar characters from the Island of Sodor are headed to the big screen. Mattel Inc. and 2Dux² are developing a new live-action/animated feature film inspired by Thomas & Friends. Mattel Films will co-produce with filmmaker Marc Forster (Christopher Robin, Quantum of Solace, Monster’s Ball), who will also direct. Read more…

Additionally, Mattel teamed with Budge Studios to launch a new mobile game, Hot Wheels Unlimited.
Rubie’s Costume Co. Officially Emerges from Bankruptcy Under New Ownership

The company emerges from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as Rubies II LLC, a newly formed entity owned by strategic operator and managing partner Joel Weinshanker, majority owner of Elvis Presley Enterprises; managing partner of Graceland Holdings; and the sole member, chairman, and founder of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association Inc., best-known to those in the toy industry as NECA. Read more…
Toy Fair New York Set to Return in May 2021

The Toy Association will bring the industry back together this spring for Toy Fair New York, taking place May 1-4, 2021 at the Javits Center. In his latest President’s Letter, The Toy Association’s Steve Pasierb says that a window of opportunity was presented for May, and the Association took it. Read more…
Hasbro’s Mr. Potato Head Goes Green

Another classic toy has been reinvented with the future in mind. Hasbro’s Mr. Potato Head Goes Green figure and accessories are made from sustainable plant-based plastic derived from sugarcane. The 15-piece set comes in “virtually plastic-free” Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper packaging. Read more…

Additionally, Hasbro’s eOne is making new broadcast deals for My Little Pony: Pony Life as it preps to build business for other brands in the company portfolio.
MGA Entertainment Debuts Rainbow High Animated Series

Rainbow High brings kids into the halls of the elite arts high school that MGA Entertainment’s Rainbow High Fashion Dolls attend. The series will feature stories, fashions, and challenges. New episodes will drop every other week through May. Read more...
The Real Story of Slinky Is Headed to the Big Screen

As the 75th anniversary of the iconic Slinky brand winds to a close, the true story behind the classic toy is set to be told in theaters everywhere. Filmmaker Tamra Davis (Billy Madison, CB4) will direct the film that will focus on the story of Toy Industry Hall of Famer Betty James’ rise to successful CEO after her husband left the mother of six nearly bankrupt in 1960. Read more…
ZURU Lines Up Crayola, Nickelodeon, WowWee, and More to Toy Mini Brands

Another batch of classic toys has been zapped with the shrink ray for the latest line extension in ZURU‘s popular 5 Surprise Mini Brands series. Toy Mini Brands includes miniature versions of classic and modern toys from licensors including Crayola, Rubik’s, WowWee, and Wham-O alongside brands from ViacomCBS’ Nickelodeon. Even ZURU’s own brands such as Smashers, Bunch O Balloons, X-Shot, Rainbocorns, and Metal Machines are in the mix. Read more…
pocket.watch’s Love, Diana Debuts New Toy Line

The “Princess of Play” is helping all kids feel like they are royalty with a new line of toys. pocket.watch announced the new Love, Diana — Princess of Play consumer product line, which is available exclusively at Walmart. The line is inspired by the widely popular YouTuber Diana, who collected 5 billion views across her 14 channels since August alone. Read more…
Jazwares Adds The Nightmare Before Christmas, X-Men to Zōteki Collectibles Line

Each Zōteki collectible features a 4-inch character (or characters) in an action pose, standing on a detailed base. When fans collect multiple characters, they can snap the bases together to form a diorama-style display. In the case of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the characters recreate the movie’s opening sequence. The new X-Men collectibles will form a scene inspired by the cover of 1991’s “X-Men No. 1.” Read more…
Tamagotchi Starts Preorders for Hello Kitty Collab

Bandai America and Sanrio are teaming up for the ultimate collaboration, due out in December. The Hello Kitty Tamagotchi combines two ‘90s icons in a pocket-sized game. The friendly character helps players raise the Tamagotchi from egg to baby to adult. Read more…
Big G Creative Expands Party Game Offerings with Mega Mouth

Big G Creative just launched a new party game that puts players’ lip-reading skills to the test. Invented by Tim Walsh, Mega Mouth is available now, exclusively from Target (both in stores and online). Read more…
WTHRA Postpones ToyFest West 2021 Amid COVID-19 Concerns

The Western Toy & Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA) has postponed the 2021 edition of ToyFest West. New dates have not yet been announced. The 60th-anniversary trade show was slated to take place at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas from March 1-3. Read more…
Ryan Hamilton of Plus-Plus Talks Toys on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Ryan Hamilton, head of product development at Plus-Plus A/S and head of operations at Plus-Plus USA, makers of open-ended construction toys loved by kids and grownups alike. Listen here...

The Toy Book Podcasts by Adventure Media & Events are available through all of your favorite streaming services, including Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more.
Funko, N3TWORK Launch Funko Pop! Blitz

The puzzle game from N3TWORK, in collaboration with Tic Toc Games, features Funko Pop! Vinyl versions of popular characters from numerous brands and franchises spanning a variety of licensors, including Universal Studios, General Mills, and DreamWorks. Read more…
Super7, Mezco, Sideshow Prep Virtual Conventions

Alongside New York Comic Con’s virtual replacement — NYCC and MCM Comic Con’s Metaverse — a number of top collectibles companies are holding their own virtual conventions to fill the void left by the COVID-related cancelation of the big New York event. Read more…
Toys for Tots Launches 2020 Holiday Giving Campaign

Heading into the holiday season, the challenges of life during the COVID-19 era could prove to be a new obstacle for giving initiatives. The annual Toys for Tots campaign is officially underway as members of the U.S. Marine Corps., corporate partners, and more than 35,000 volunteers begin conducting a total of 810 local toy drives across all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization began this year’s efforts with a deficit of 2 million toys. Read more…
Squishable Unmasks Plague Doctor and Nurse Plush

Two new plush from Squishable were meant to be just for Halloween, but then 2020 happened. Now, The Mysterious Plague Doctor Plush is for families at any time. Medieval medical workers may not have been very good at science, but it turns out their fashion can never go out of style. Read more…
Kohl’s Debuts Holiday Toy Shop

Kohl’s is getting into the holiday spirit with the launch of its expanded seasonal toy department. Kohl’s Toy Shop features curated assortments of toys based on age and interests across categories including dolls, collectibles, vehicles and action figures, arts and crafts, STEM, construction, and gaming. Read more…
NRF Chief Economist Says Holiday Forecasting Is a Puzzle with Missing Pieces

Forecasting Is a Puzzle with Missing Pieces
The holiday shopping season is officially in progress, but forecasting is still a bit of a gamble. Ahead of toy industry Q3 earning season this month, the proverbial Magic 8 Ball says “reply hazy, try again” when it comes to the rest of the year. National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz likens it to attempting to put together a puzzle without all the pieces. Read more…
Step2 Discovery Merges Go Configure, Select Express & Logistics

Ohio-based Step2 Discovery, the parent company of The Step2 Co. and Backyard Discovery merged Go Configure — its consumer delivery, assembly, and installation business unit — with Select Express & Logistics, a New York-based logistics, distribution, and light assembly outfit. Read more…
University Games Acquires Lagoon Group from Asmodee

University Games’ buying spree continues. The company purchased The Lagoon Group from Asmodee and will begin shipping select Lagoon products to retailers in the U.S. and Canada today. The new deal marks the 14th acquisition by University Games and its third in the UK since May 2019. Read more…
The Toy Association Reveals 2021 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Honorees

Members of The Toy Association have chosen four new inductees for The Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The 2021 class includes Philip Bloom: founder and former publisher, The Bloom Report; William C. Killgallon: chairman of the board, The Ohio Art Company; Pleasant T. Rowland: founder, American Girl, a division of Mattel; and Posthumous Inductee Margarete Steiff (1847-1909): founder, Steiff Toys. Read more…
Willie Wilkov Joins HABA USA as CEO, Managing Director

A toy industry vet has taken the helm at the U.S. arm of Germany’s HABA Family of Companies. Willie Wilkov, formerly of TOMY has joined HABA USA as CEO and managing director for North America. In his new role, Wilkov is responsible for driving growth of the company’s core toy and game business while revamping the sales and operations structure to complement the company’s other divisions. Read more…
People of Play Kicks Off 15th Annual Young Inventor Challenge Under New Leadership

3D printing innovator and educator Jazmine Darden, founder of IAMEARHERO assumes the role of program director. Mattel, Magformers, Goliath, and Hasbro are sponsoring the event alongside The United Inventors Association and Female Strong. Read more…
Nickelodeon Names Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson as Vice President of News Programming

Nickelodeon is marking a return to news programming for kids with the appointment of Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning producer Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson as vice president of news programming. Additionally, she will serve as executive producer of Nick News, which was relaunched in June with the Kids Race and Unity special hosted by Alicia Keys. Read more…
Elinor Schops Tapped to Lead ZAG Games, Interactive Experiences

The studio behind Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir is getting into gaming. ZAG appointed game industry vet Elinor Schops as vice president to lead the launch of ZAG Games & Interactive Experiences. The new division will create titles for mobile, PC, consoles, and more based on characters from the ZAG Heroez stable of original properties. Read more…
 
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