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Marketing the Muppets, One Joke at a Time

The Muppets movie doesn’t hit theaters until November 23, but Disney is making sure everyone is aware that The Muppets are coming. The Muppets’ official trailer even declares: “Get ready for Muppet domination.” While four months away from release, the movie’s promotion relies on spoof marketing.

Coinciding with the July 22 release of Captain America, The Muppets’ marketing team rolled out a poster of Sam the Eagle as Captain America. We’ve also seen two other promotional posters this month, showing the whole Muppets gang back together. Enjoyable as those posters may be—who doesn’t smile from seeing a Muppet? —Captain America in Muppet form and Green Lantern Kermit have greater potential for retweets.

Disney released a Muppets teaser trailer parodying the Green Lantern film the day it hit theaters in June. Even if you’re weirded out by seeing Muppet feet, you have to admit Kermit makes a captivating Green Lantern in the accompanying poster.

Aside from the spoofs, plans have begun to roll out for the merchandise program. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will launch a new Muppets publishing program this fall in conjunction with the film. The Muppets book program will comprise seven titles in an array of formats featuring Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and other favorite characters. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ launch consists of a junior novel that features eight pages of full-color photos from the film, two early readers, a giant sticker book, and a punch-out-and-play Muppet theater. The line also features a hardcover joke book perfect for holiday gift giving and the first in an original illustrated middle-grade series about a boy who wakes up as a Muppet.

Beginning August 23, Starbucks will have The Muppets: The Green Album available for purchase. Described as a tribute to the music of the Muppets, the album includes “Muppet Show Theme Song” recorded by OK Go, “Mahna Mahna” by The Fray, and “Bein’ Green” by Andrew Bird, among its 12 tracks. The album cover uses the artists’ names to form an image of Kermit’s face.

For those in New York City, the Museum of the Moving Image launched an exhibition and film screenings from July 16-January 16. Muppet fans can reminisce by watching the classic Muppets films dating back to 1979 and 1980s and the concept Muppet films of the 1990s—perfect preparation for Jason Segel’s approach to creating the upcoming film.

“I’ve just grown a little disappointed with ‘Muppets in the Old West,’ ‘Muppets Under Water,’ and all these weird concept movies,” Segel told MTV. “I just want to go take it back to the early ‘80s, when it was about the Muppets trying to put on a show. That’s what I’m trying to bring back.”

The Awl’s Elizabeth Stevens looks further at the evolution of The Muppets. And see The Licensing Blog’s roundup of The Muppets trailers.

Judge Rules Marvel Owns Copyright to Comics
In other licensing news, a federal judge in New York granted a summary judgment to Marvel Entertainment and its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, regarding their dispute with the heirs to comic book artist Jack Kirby, according to Michael Cieply’s article in The New York Times. The judge denied the Kirbys’ request for judgment against the two companies.

The ruling rejects the Kirby family’s claim to comics and characters, including the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and the X-Men, created by Jack Kirby, and instead declares them as works for hire.

Fox Partners with Santa Cruz Skateboards

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products signed Santa Cruz Skateboards to produce a line featuring characters and iconography from The Simpsons. Available this fall, board designs include a custom Bart Simpson skateboard with his spiky-hared skull and cross bones on the base plate, and a board shaped like a can of Duff Beer. The line is geared toward the hardcore skater or collector.

Melissa Tinklepaugh

The Smurfs Are Ready for their Close-Up

In less than 24, the Smurfs will make their big-screen debut, showing up in Neil Patrick Harris’s New York City apartment in The Smurfs.

Getting to this point was not easy, and almost everyone is thanking a trio of striped squirrels by the names of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal both have articles today detailing how The Smurfs’ jump to the big-screen was a direct consequence of Alvin & The Chipmunks’ $45 million opening in 2007.

The Daily Beast’s Ramin Setoodeh spoke with The Smurfs’ producer Jordan Kerner, who said that a stalled movie project with Paramount intended for the 50th anniversary of the Smurfs’ first appearance in print was immediately revived by Alvin’s success. “On Monday morning after Chipmunks grossed $45 million,” Kerner told Setoodeh, “every studio chair called me and said ‘We want to do the Smurfs.’” Sony soon obtained the rights from Paramount, and the project was underway.

The Smurfs have been a licensing juggernaut, even as the property was dormant: $8 billion over 15 years, according to William Auriol, the head of IMPS, the Belgian company that owns the brand. (Auriol also spoke to The Daily Beast.) The Wall Street Journal’s Michelle Kung said that the licensing and promotional opportunities “played a significant part of Sony’s decision to pick up the film from Viacom’s Paramount Pictures,” because “the partnerships helped the studio limit its marketing costs.” Licensing!

The Journal notes that Sony is hoping for a $30 million opening weekend to satisfy its more than 200 business partners and the movie’s $110 million budget. Sony has marketing partnerships with Post Cereal, Kids Foot Locker, Renault, and others, Kung reports.

Meanwhile, Kung’s colleague at the WSJ, Marshall Heyman, reports on how the Smurfs are taking over New York City as promotion for the movie. The Empire State Building is bathed in blue (for UNICEF, but the Smurfs ran with it), the Smurfs have hung out in Columbus Circle, and FAO Schwarz opened a “blue-tique” to honor the little guys (and gal). Just as long as they don’t start riding the subway. We have enough trouble getting seats as it is.

—Bryan Joiner

New Licensing Director for NBCUniversal; Purina Gear Comes to Walmart

NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products Group has brought Kerry O’Donnell on board as the director of global licensing. She will focus on sales and product development for NBC and USA Network properties.

O’Donnell previously served as director of merchandising and licensing for ABC Entertainment Group, where she managed consumer products and licensing for properties including Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, and Wipeout. O’Donnell led financial analysis, deal recommendations, and contract negotiations for license opportunities, including e-commerce, video games, books, action figures, trading cards, toys, greeting cards, and apparel, according to NBCUniversal’s announcement.

Purina Pet Gear Products Launch at Walmart

Under a license with Nestle Purina PetCare Company to use the Purina brand, the oneCARE Company’s line of Purina Pet Gear products is now available in Walmart stores throughout the United States. The new line, which includes training pads and household cleaners, can be seen in its entirety at its recently launched Facebook page.

Harry Potter Film Boosts Orders of Kymera Magic Wand

Sales for the Kymera Magic Wand, by the Dragon’s Den, have increased 350 percent since the July 15 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, according to the UK’s ToyNews. Developed in the UK, the Kymera Magic Wand is a motion-sensitive, button-less universal remote control for iPods and TVs, using high-tech gesture recognition and a standard infrared signal.

M!KE Licensing Signs Licensee for Yak Pak Bedding

M!KE Licensing appointed Cody Direct as the exclusive licensee for Yak Pak bedding. The Yak Pak domestics lifestyle collection will consist of decorative bedding, blankets, throws, indoor slumber bags, sheeting in all thread counts and fabric constructions, soft storage, novelty pillows/cushions, and accent rugs, according to the release.

M!KE Licensing is seeking licensees for Yak Pak in categories including party paper goods, eyewear, pajamas/underwear, fleece, hosiery, and sporting goods.

—Melissa Tinklepaugh

Men in Black is Back; Comic-Con Roundup

We love Men in Black. We love Men in Black 2. If the pattern holds, we’ll love Men in Black 3, and licensees are starting to line up for the May 2012 Sony release. Jakks Pacific announced this morning that it has signed a master toy licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of toys and products based on the film.

The agreement covers the Men in Black franchise and includes action figures, accessories, playsets, role play, youth electronics, novelties, games and puzzles, and Halloween costumes. The line is planned to be released in spring 2012.

Men in Black 3 stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (which you knew), along with Josh Brolin.

Comic-Con Winners and Losers

Advertising Age’s Andrew Hampp has a big article up on Comic-Con winners and losers that we suggest you check out. Some winners include Warner Bros. Television and Sony Pictures, which plugged The Amazing Spider-Man and next summer’s Total Recall reboot. (Man, there’s a lot of Sony in the blog today.) Losers include Jon Favreau, director of Cowboys and Aliens, whose panel was overshadowed by a Game of Thrones panel… and whose Cowboys and Aliens ranked only No. 6 in the WebTrends analysis of movie buzz.

Mattel Co-Founder Dies

Elliot Handler, co-founder of Mattel, passed away last week at the age of 95.

The New York Times and others reported Handler’s death, which was due to heart failure. Handler and his wife, Ruth, started Mattel in 1945 and stayed there until they were forced out in 1975, the Times‘ Charles Duhigg reports.

It was Ruth Handler who pushed for Mattel to create a doll that looked like a “mature woman,” Duhigg writes, and thus Barbie was born, and named after the Handlers’ daughter. When Barbie’s male counterpart was created, he was named Ken, after the couple’s son.

—Bryan Joiner

Angry Birds’ Back-to-School Push; New Street Fighter Movie

CNNMoney.com’s Parija Kavilanz wrote a story on Angry Birds back to school items, calling it the hot new trend. And: of course it is! The introduction of Angry Birds licensed merchandise dovetails perfectly with back to school. (Angry Birds back to school merchandise is available to preorder.) According to the story, sales of Angry Birds-related goods have risen 500 percent in the past five months.

As we’ve written before, while back-to-school spending will likely ebb this year, licensed products are the natural exception. Licensing is a stable industry because it has the tendency to break the curve when consumers are pinching their pennies. The entire children’s television industry is built upon this foundation, and its dominance is unquestioned as a supplier of licensed product. Angry Birds, which we covered extensively in our spring issue, has fought its way into a fairly prestigious club. It’s a brand for people of all ages, the Super Mario Bros. of its time.

Will it have the staying power of Super Mario Bros.? Only time will tell. It’s one thing to reach the mountaintop, but it’s another thing to stay there. Survival is tough, and no one survives by accident. Angry Birds netted $42 million in March on the strength of the game’s performance—do they have a Super Mario Bros. 2 up their sleeve? We’re not talking about Angry Birds Rio. We’re talking about a game that builds upon the gameplay and themes of the original to create something entirely new and exciting.

This back-to-school season figures to be Angry Birds’ moment, and the property is still exploding. Last week, TCC signed a deal to undertake worldwide retail loyalty promotions for the property in supermarkets, hypermarkets, drug stores, health and beauty chains, and more.

New Street Fighter Animated Film Set for September Release

A new Street Fighter animated film, Street Fighter: The New Challengers, will be released September 6, Pacific Entertainment Corp. announced.

The film will be released as a standalone DVD or offered in a special collector bundle package that includes Capcom’s Street Fighter IV PC Game.

—Bryan Joiner

Full Coverage of Comic-Con; Walmart and NHL News

Comic-Con International has brought franchises including Voltron, Captain America, and Star Trek, to the estimated 125,000 comic fans gathered in San Diego July 21-24, while toymakers have embraced the opportunity to funnel exclusive licensed merchandise to collectors.

Toy companies like Mattel and Hasbro offer exclusive merchandise presented in unique packaging that committed collectors would appreciate, according to Gregory Schmidt’s New York Times article about toymakers at Comic-Con. “Packaging is not just something to hold the figure,” said Frank Varela, an art director for Mattel, in the article. “Packaging enhances the experience of having the toy. It harkens to nostalgia for the fan boys.”

Along with Swamp Thing and Voltron toys, Mattel comes to Comic-Con with a 20-inch replica of the Stay-Puft Marshamallow Man from Ghostbusters, with a city diorama and packaged inside a box resembling a suitcase. Mattel also brings two Hot Wheels vehicles, including the DeLorean from Back to the Future with a movie diorama.

Hasbro brings a Star Wars set that includes 12 action figures in a box designed to look like the Death Star. The company will also display Ultimate Optimus Prime, Marvel Universe Sentinel, Transformers, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, and the new Kre-O brand, which is making its Comic-Con debut with 12 building sets featuring Transformers characters.

Despite the current temperatures this week (96º in NYC), Comic-Con isn’t always so hot for film studios.

Comic-Con attendees can generate negative buzz that hurts a film, said Tim Palen, Lionsgate’s president for theatrical marketing, in an AdAge.com article by Andrew Hampp.

“If the fans don’t think something is cool, they will let you know—instantly, and passionately,” Palen told Ad Age. “So if you come to Comic-Con, you’d better have the goods, because there are other opportunities to launch, and it’s very hard to recover from bad Comic-Con buzz.”

Mid-sized studios Lionsgate and Relativity Media are presenting at least four movies each, showing screenings or selected content from their upcoming releases, while Warner Bros., Disney, and DreamWorks stayed home this year.

Relativity announced at Comic-Con that it has optioned the feature film rights for Voltron from World Event Productions. The studio will adapt the live-action big screen version from the 1984 animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Comic-Con is big for Voltron this year, as the franchise made it Comic-Con panel debut Thursday with a presentation of new and classic Voltron content.

Dissenting from the worry of other big studios, Sony has a panel for 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man movie and is advertising the Ghost Rider sequel. Comic-Con also scored participation from Summit Entertainment with a panel for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Universal with a Cowboys and Aliens premiere, and Paramount with a Captain America: The First Avenger screening and a panel for The Adventures of Tintin. Audience members of Captain America will receive RealD 3D Collector’s custom red, white, and blue Captain America glasses, a limited-edition poster, and a grand prize package of Captain America merchandise and other Marvel items given away to an audience member at each screening.

Television properties have a presence at Comic-Con as well. Nickelodeon, Toynami, and vinyl toy brand Unkl partnered to create co-branded SpongeBob SquarePants urban vinyl toys, modeled after Unkl’s UniPo figures, available this fall. Toynami unveiled working prototypes of the first wave of figures at Comic-Con, which will include SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and The Flying Dutchman. Nickelodeon Consumer Products also unveiled a new lineup of toys from Jazwares for Fanboy and Chum Chum, available in August from Toys “R” Us.

CBS has come to the convention with exclusive sneak peeks, signings, and limited-edition products based on its television brands, including Star Trek, CSI, NCIS, Dexter, Charmed, Cheers, and The Twilight Zone. Since these TV properties have been long-established and don’t face the same need movies have to garner buzz and then box office sales, TV shows seem to cater to the collector in a similar way as the toy companies. CBS attends Comic-Con to reach its audience directly, said Liz Kalodner, executive vice president and general manager of CBS Consumer Products. “By offering these exclusive items we can reward our greatest fans with products that can’t be found anywhere else.”

—Melissa Tinklepaugh

Walmart Will Share Sales Data

Big news from the retail front, where Walmart has agreed to share sales data with research organizations through Nielson & Co.

Walmart previously kept sales data to itself, leading research firms to use consumer panel data and advanced modeling to estimate the mega-retailer’s packaged-good sales totals.

Nielsen’s Niffer Frighetto told Advertising Age‘s Jack Neff that sales data will be available in a “few months,” and that the data will cover sales from U.S. Walmart stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club, and will include some historical data.

NHL Announces A Good Number of Deals

The National Hockey League, of which the Boston Bruins are champions, announced 23 new licensees at its annual licensing and trade show Wednesday and Thursday.

New licensees include A&E Group for outerwear; Coveroo for cell phone covers; and Levelwear for apparel and outerwear in Canada. Franklin Sports also signed a renewal agreement for its two-decade partnership to create NHL Street Hockey Gear.

Did we mention that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup?

—Bryan Joiner

Comic-Con Kicks Off

Comic-Con kicks off today in San Diego. It’s kind of a big deal. We’ll have full coverage tomorrow, but until then here’s a New York Times article by Gregory Schmidt about how toymakers including Mattel and Hasbro are using the convention as a launching pad for new and limited-edition toys.

The big news from yesterday was Disney signing a deal with the National Hockey League for co-branded Phineas and Ferb merchandise for the 2011-12 season. We and others have talked about how Disney is actively using Phineas and Ferb to make inroads into the boys 6-11 market. We’ve also talked about how sports labor issues in the NFL (though that seems on its way to a resolution) and NBA might affect licensed product sales, but we haven’t talked about how it could affect deals and dealmaking. If there’s no NBA season next year, which seems like a real possibility, the value of Disney’s deal with the NHL would increase—perhaps not dramatically, but increased nonetheless. Sports-hungry eyeballs have to go somewhere when football isn’t on.

Warner Bros. announced that it has teamed with Lego to create Lego DC Universe Super Heroes. Lego has access to the entire library of DC Comics characters (including Batman, Robin, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, and more) and stories. And not to step on our Comic-Con coverage, but 3,000 exclusive Batman and Green Lantern minifigures will be distributed to kick off a five-month promotion for the launch.

Finally, big news from WME Licensing, where The Little Prince has been sold as an animated series with 54 half-hour episodes in more than 72 countries, with a motion picture now in development. Licensing for the classic storytime book and the animation series is now underway, and interested parties should contact Rob Stone, president of WME Licensing, at rstone@wmeentertainment.com.

—Bryan Joiner

Top News for July 20: All the World’s a Stage

Today we’re bursting with news about new feature films, television series, and stage shows—entertainment as you like it.

FremantleMedia Enterprises will launch the animated franchise Monsuno, targeting boys ages 6-11, on Nicktoons in the U.S. in Spring 2012. The show will be supported with a toy line from Jakks Pacific. Nickelodeon will launch the series on its channels in Latin America, the U.K., “key” European and Eastern European territories, Australia and New Zealand, India, Southeast Asia, Russia, and Africa. Darn near everywhere, basically.

This is just another salvo in the battle for boys ages 6-11 using animated programs, a battle the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Chozick covered quite well last week.

On the actual stage, Warner Bros. kicked off a four-year Batman Live! world tour in the UK with a performance in the Manchester Evening News Arena. Two and a half years in the making, and without the overblown drama of the Spider-Man musical, the show (which is not a musical) kicked off without a hitch. Batman Live! is the origin story of Robin, and how he becomes Batman’s crime-fighting partner.

The show will cross the UK and Ireland and then mainland Europe before landing in North America in 2012.

Anthony Van Laast, the show’s creative director, was happy the show went off without a hitch after its long journey from concept to reality. “I think the best moment was one child came up to me and said it was like watching a movie live in 3-D,” he told Sky News’s Jane Witherspoon.

In other stage show news, M!ke Licensing has been appointed as the exclusive licensee for StinkyKids to create StinkyKids The Musical.

The musical (which will not stink) is slated to launch in early 2012, and will be geared toward boys, girls, and families. M!KE Licensing is currently seeking licensees in categories including toys/games, coloring books, jewelry, stickers, keychains, puzzles, gift and novelty, party paper products, apparel and accessories.

Finally, there’s big screen news from Cartoon Network, which announced that it has hired Transformers producer Don Murphy to develop a live-action movie based on Captain Planet, the 1990s animated superhero/environmentalist.

—Bryan Joiner

Top News for July 19: Back-to-School is Earlier, Target gets Funky, J-Lo and Marc Antony are Still On (Kind of)

An article by New York Times reporter Stuart Elliott confirmed what any parent or consumer of press releases knows: back-to-school is starting earlier as retailers adjust to the rules of the new economy. Under these rules, consumers seem to make fewer trips to stores, so retailers have every incentive to get them to come to their store or find them online. Walmart announced today that it is slashing prices on back-to-school and back-to-college items, going as far to specifically note that Toy Story and Cars licensed backpack/lunch sets would be available on Walmart.com.

Elliott’s report mentions retailers, including Kmart, boasting “Christmas in July” sales, which dovetails with a reporter in yesterday’s Times by Stephanie Clifford which found grocery chains offering bulk deals to consumers in order to maximize in-store revenue. Clifford said grocery chain executives found that “in this economy, with people visiting stores less frequently, spending less per trip and sticking to their shopping lists more closely, the competition to offer more compelling deals is stronger than ever.” And that’s for food!

In this context, it makes sense that Walmart would offer its licensed back-to-school product cheap online while advertising cheap in-store goods. It’s easy to justify the purchase of a Toy Story or Cars item for slightly more money than a generic item when you’re at home, and haven’t spent the time or money to go to the store. Once a consumer is in the store, the inclination to buy generic could take over—the idea of saving a lot of money all at once is appealing, as grocers have discovered.

A Dow Jones Newswires article by Karen Talley hinted that retailers walk a knife-edge while trying to entice consumers to spend money for back-to-school items when those same consumers are used to dirt-cheap promotions around BTS time. In the article, Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology at Golden Gate University, says that “Parents are going to be shocked and disappointed by the price of goods. They’re going to make sure their kids are outfitted, but won’t go beyond their budgets like they have in the past.

Of course, the entire licensing industry is predicated on the notion that parents will, in fact, go beyond their budgets, if only a little bit. And there’s proof that it’s happening, even now, with Mattel’s Cars 2 merchandise sales pushing company earnings up 56 percent from Q2 last year, which is proof that consumers are rational even in tough times: Even while cutting back on food, it’s worth spending the extra few dollars on a Mater backpack. Retailers might take a hit on BTS merchandise sales, and consumers might spend less, but the best licensors will remain resilient as always.

Target’s Funky New Partnership

Target has teamed with the Hamilton Wood & Type museum of Two Rivers, Wisc., for an apparel line.

Wait… what?

According to an article in The Atlantic by Steven Heller, Target’s Michael Alexin “fell in love” with the museum after seeing a film about it, and set out to create a partnership. The campaign is based around the tagline “Cool Never Fades” and is banking that consumers will know and love old typography enough to see it as a funky retro brand. The line debuted last week, and is perfect for, as Alexin says (wait for it)… Target’s back-to-school collection.

J-Lo and Marc Anthony: Off, but Still On at Kohl’s

Horrors! Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony may have split, but their clothing line at Kohl’s will move ahead as scheduled.

In a Daily Mail article by Tamara Abraham, LF USA’s Rick Darling (LIMA 2011 keynote speaker) says that the launch will remain unaffected. “‘We have two separate agreements with Jennifer and Marc and always intended to have separate lines. [Their split] doesn’t impact the agreements in any way.” LF USA sublicenses the brands to Kohl’s.

You may rest easy.

LIMA Elects Six New Reps to Board of Directors

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association has added six members to its Board of Directors.

Joining the LIMA Board are:

• Susie Lecker, SVP of Fisher-Price Friends, FP Brands
• Marty Malysz, President, Dependable Solutions, Inc.
• Carla Peyton, SVP, Licensed Consumer Products – The Americas, BBC Worldwide America
• Jennifer Richmond, Managing Director, Richmond Management Group
• James Slifer, VP, Business Development – The Joester Loria Group
• Cheryl Stoebenau, President, CAS Marketing

Leaving the board are Spin Master’s Adam Beder; Making Connections’ Rick Mallow; Marketing on Demand’s Stu Seltzer; Mattel’s Holly Stein; Strand IP’s Robert Strand; and Konami Digital Entertainment’s Careen Yapp.

—Bryan Joiner

Top News for July 18: Ark Music Factory Teams with WowWee; Round 2 expands relationship with KISS; CBS, Willy Wonka News

Ark Music Factory’s New Star, Lexi St. George, Signs Deal

Ark Music Factory has announced that its newest star, Lexi St. George, will appear in TV ads for WowWee’s Paper Jamz Pro Jam Series Microphone. The ads will feature St. George and her debut single and video “Dancing to the Rhythm.”

The Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone helps kids sing like a pro by allowing them to transfer their favorite songs onto the microphone, and letting them adjust to their “perfect pitch” with chorus, harmony, vibrato and other vocal controls. The microphone is $29.99 and available at Wal-Mart, with distribution in Target, Toys “R” Us, and KMart later this month.

New KISS Models Bring Destroyer Album Cover to Life

Round 2 is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the KISS album Destroyer by creating model kits based on the album’s cover art. The kits are pre-painted in minute detail, from the iconic black-and-white makeup to the traditional hairstyles and monstrously tall platform boots. Fully assembled on the base, each figure—Starchild, Demon, Spaceman, and Catman—stands nearly a foot tall.

Each kit is packaged with one of four mini posters, which, when assembled together, form a 2.5-by-2.5 foot poster of the Destroyer album art.

The deal was brokered by Live Nation, KISS’ worldwide licensing agent. For information on Live Nation licensing, email Steve Senk, VP of Licensing, at stevesenk@livenation.com, and visit Live Nation licensing online.

CBS Reveals Exclusive Merchandise at Comic-Con

CBS Consumer Products announced that it will debut new products for Star Trek, CSI, NCIS, Dexter, Charmed, Cheers, and The Twilight Zone, at San Diego Comic-Con, beginning July 21.

Star Trek is annually one of Comic-Con’s biggest draws, and will have 11 licensees on hand exhibiting products, including Diamond Comics (Booth #2607), which will show Star Trek Mr. Potato Heads from PPW featuring characters from The Original Series. At the CBS booth (#4129), StarTrek.com will offer free limited-edition Enterprise Bottle Opener Keychains and wristbands to fans.

New Willy Wonka Contest for 40th Anniversary DVD Release

Warner Home Video will release a special 40th anniversary edition of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, complete with a Wonka Bar and Golden Ticket Instant Win Piece for a chance to enter and win a trip for two to Los Angeles.

The three-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray/DVD combo will cost $64.99, while a single-DVD version will retail for $12.97. The film will be available On Demand and through online retailers including Amazon on Demand and iTunes.

The releases will come in October, no matter how much Veruca wants them now.

—Charlie Bucket

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