Meet the Brands
The 2014 Licensing Expo, taking place June 17-19 at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Convention Center, is a great place to spot the latest goodies sporting your toon heroes’ mugs and the soon-to-be hot properties of 2014 and beyond. Here is just a taste of the Expo’s offerings. Universal Pictures has an exciting slate of animated and vfx-heavy projects lined up for the next couple years, and plans to snowball licensees for these fresh and familiar brands. Top priority is LAIKA’s neo-Victorian stop-motion flick The Boxtrolls (September 26) — so far, Chronicle Books, Little Brown, Funko, Hybrid JEM, Rubie’s Costume Company and Toy Factory on board to bring orphan Eggs and his troll family to shelves. Also on the docket are Jurassic World (June 12, 2015) — Thinkway Toys is master toy licensee, with Hasbro and Hybrid JEM — and “Untitled Pets Project”, the upcoming CG comedy adventure from their animation partner Illumination Entertainment. Nickelodeon’s perennial, super-absorbent star SpongeBob SquarePants could be coming to a putting green near you: the hyperactive yellow fellow has been picked by Loudmouth Golf to grace their new line of golf attire. On offer are mini-shorts, shorts, skorts and capris for women as well as pants and shorts for men, ranging in price from $85 to $395 — which is quite a few clams for the casual fan. SpongeBob true believers can also opt to deck themselves out in a made-to-order Bikini Bottom-ready sportcoat.
For the tykes, Toys ‘R’ Us is the exclusive retailer of a new line of toys inspired by preschool hit Paw Patrol. Expanding to additional retailers in late June, the product range includes a number of collectible items featuring Ryder and his fourfooted cohorts Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma and Skye, including figures, vehicles, plush, talking plush and play sets for kids ages three and up.
After nearly six decades in the pop culture spotlight, good ol’ Dave Seville and his mischievous singing rodents will be undergoing yet another update in 2015 when the new animated series Alvinnn!!! and The Chipmunks arrives. In anticipation of a global ‘munk takeover, Bagdasarian Productions has built on its relationship with PGS Entertainment, assigning the distribution partner worldwide (excluding North America) licensing stewardship. Commissioned by France’s M6, the CG series will be the first small screen outing for the cuddly characters in 20 years and will present a fresh take dreamed up by Janice Karman, plus new original songs from Ross Bagdasarian Jr. Disney Consumer Products is already cashing in big time on its newly released live-action anti-fairytale Maleficent, which retells the story of Sleeping Beauty from the dark fairy’s perspective and features stunning visual effects and CG creature work. Key collectibles inspired by the film include Maleficent and Aurora fashion dolls and Maleficent’s Glow Horns from Jakks Pacific and Pop! vinyl figures from Funko fashioned after the two heroines. Further licensees include Stella McCartney Kids (apparel and shoes), Crow’s Nest (jewelry), David Lerner (apparel), MAC (cosmetics), HSN (Naeem Khan apparel, Heidi Daus jewelry) and Hot Topic (fashion).
The Mouse House also continues to rack up partners for its box-office smash hit, Academy Award winning CG feature Frozen. The film and its acclaimed music have been leveraged into a variety of product lines from top licensees like Mattel, Jakks Pacific, Franco, Northwest and Just Play, maker of the addictive and adorable Pull Apart Talking Olaf plush. DCP plans to expand lines this fall and is looking into additional categories that will take advantage of the film’s iconic music. DCP will likely be auditioning partners for its upcoming animated features Planes: Fire & Rescue and Big Hero 6 as well as its Marvel and Star Wars properties at this year’s event.
Look at this Talking PuppyCat Plush inspired by Natasha Allegri’s awesome webtoon Bee & PuppyCat. Just look at it and try not to fall in love, we dare you. Exclusive to the “by fans, for fans” e-tailer WeLoveFine, the 10” toy features a real metal jingle bell on the collar, and speaks and sings when you squeeze its ear. Paying $23 for a plush toy may sound steep, but the Internet disagrees — Talking PuppyCat is often sold out, so get yours ASAP!
And while you’re on WeLoveFine’s site, you may as well preorder the talking Catbug Vinyl Figure, another exclusive that will ship in July. The 8½ -inch tall figure is priced at about $40, and in addition to being adorable (only Pendleton Ward s Bravest Warriors style could make a crazy feline-insect chimera look cute), Catbug has a built-in motion-sensor which triggers eight different phrases.