Los Angeles Times

Barbie, meet Elon: Mattel and SpaceX plan a toy line

The two companies don’t reveal what’s in store. A Musk action figure that tweets?

- BY AMINA NIASSE Niasse writes for Bloomberg.

Mattel Inc. has agreed to make SpaceX-themed toys in partnershi­p with Elon Musk’s rocket company.

In 2023, Mattel, the company that brought the world Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels, will begin launching SpaceX-inspired toys under its Matchbox brand, best known to generation­s of children for its toy cars.

The toymaker also plans to launch SpaceX-related items on Mattel Creations, its online platform for collectors seeking limited-edition products.

Items bought by what the industry terms “kidults” helped U.S. toy sales surge 37% over two years, to $28.6 billion in 2021, according to data tracker NPD Group.

A survey last year by the Toy Assn. trade group found that 58% of adult respondent­s bought toys and games for themselves.

The two companies didn’t reveal what the toys might be. But it raises the question of what’s next: a Musk action figure that tweets?

SpaceX — Musk’s Space Exploratio­n Technologi­es Corp. — makes the Starship rocket ship, which Musk intends to one day fly to Mars, and the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, which ferry astronauts to and from the Internatio­nal Space Station.

“We take pride in our ability to create products and experience­s that honor cultural moments and inspire humankind,” Nick Karamanos, senior vice president for entertainm­ent partnershi­ps at Mattel, said in a statement.

“At SpaceX, we believe that a future in which humanity is out among the stars is fundamenta­lly more exciting than one in which we are not,” said Brian Bjelde, a vice president at SpaceX.

Mattel and SpaceX are almost neighbors. The toy giant’s El Segundo headquarte­rs sits less than five miles from the spacecraft maker in Hawthorne.

Whereas the venture marks SpaceX’s first launch in the toy business, Mattel has made NASA-inspired toys as early as the 1960s.

Its partnershi­p with SpaceX comes just months after the toy giant released an updated Astronaut Barbie on its Mattel Creations site and shipped two dolls to the Internatio­nal Space Station in April.

After reaching the space station, the dolls “received an out-of-this-world tour of the ISS,” Mattel said at the time.

After their return from space, the Barbies will be donated to the Smithsonia­n’s National Air and Space Museum in an effort to “further engage young females on the excitement of space.”

Mattel on Thursday posted second-quarter net income of $66.4 million, after reporting a loss in the same period last year. Revenue rose to $1.24 billion.

On Friday, the stock fell 7.1% amid concerns about falling sales of the American Girl line and a profit margin decline, attributed to higher costs of materials, transporta­tion and royalties.

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