The Licensing Blog

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New Disney•Pixar Toy Story Video Short and Toy Line

Mattel is releasing a space-themed toy line inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story. The line includes a Toy Story Buzz Lightyear Spaceship Command Center and character action figures. To introduce the line, Mattel and Disney Consumer Products released a “toymation” video that uses stop-motion animation. The video stars Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Rex as they travel into outer space.

A crew of eight people worked more than 1,300 hours during a span of four weeks to complete the toymation, according to Mattel and DCP. The companies also reported that every second needed 12 frames of pictures, and every shot needed at least three takes, many of which had to be done separately with each toy and composited together later.

Other toymation facts include:

• Each toy had to be taken apart and reassembled with wire and museum putty to be rigged properly to animate.
• The dust bunnies were created from an old carpet the team almost threw out right before production on the toymation project began.
• The crew made five trips to the supermarket to clear out its asparagus, big broccoli heads, and artichokes to build the vegetable forest set.

Big Tent Entertainment Signs International Licensing Partners for Domo

The international retail presence for Domo continues to thrive as Big Tent Entertainment announced new products designed to further establish the brand on a global scale. International licensing agencies, including Brand and Licensing Group (BLG), Carmen Ariza Licensing, CTM Concept TV & Merchandising GmbH, Stella Projects, and Televisa Consumer Products, have brokered new agreements on behalf of Domo and Big Tent in Latin America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Product ranging from apparel to accessories will roll out across these territories throughout 2011 and beyond.

BLG signed Cordez to launch fashion and travel bags and accessories across Brazil. Carmen Ariza Licensing signed Sunset International bv to introduce apparel and accessories across Eastern and Western Europe. CTM Concept TV & Merchandising GmbH tapped Tex-ass Textilvertriebs GmbH to release apparel for men and women throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Stella Projects partnered with Impact Rock Pty Ltd to release posters across Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. For retail in Mexico, Televisa Consumer Products signed Barcel to develop a line of chewing gum available; Best Trading S.A. de C.V. to release back-to-school stationery, supplies, and school kits available; Bienes de Consumo Internacional S.A. de C.V. to release notebooks, binders, and journals; Granmark S.A de C.V to release a line of stationery and gift items; and Musul to launch a line of gift bags.

Skechers and McDonald’s Launch Licensing Agreement

Skechers USA, Inc. is working with McDonald’s to launch a three-week Happy Meal promotion with Twinkle Toes by Skechers, starting today (August 26) in the United States and Canada.

During the promotion, Happy Meal customers can receive one of six clip-on miniature Twinkle Toes by Skechers toy shoes, while supplies last. Each toy shoe comes in two different color combinations. Decorated with an image of the popular animated character Twinkle Toes from the best-selling Skechers Kids footwear line for girls, the shoe features a button on the sole, which lights up the sneaker, a signature feature of the Twinkle Toes collection.

In addition to McDonald’s, Skechers has partnered with numerous global licensees to produce a wide range of products including sporting goods, children’s apparel, bags, electronics, sunglasses, legwear, and luggage.

The Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Return to Comics

IDW Publishing and Nickelodeon has released the debut issue of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic series, featuring the beloved “Heroes in a Half Shell,” now available in comic stores throughout North America. TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman leads the creative team for the comic series. In addition to this new series, IDW will offer Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection. Beginning in October with volume 1, The Ultimate Collection offers more than 300 pages of the best of the Turtles’ underground roots.

IDW and Nickelodeon have stated a long-term commitment to revitalize the universe of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and graphic novels It’s all part of a larger initiative to bring Turtles to a new generation of fans, starting with these new story lines that recapture the magic of the original Turtles comics and continuing in 2012, when Nickelodeon will premiere a new CG-animated version of the wildly popular Turtles franchise.

If the Turtle franchise is being revitalized and will hit the small screen soon, then I bet that a new Turtles movie won’t be far behind.

Melissa Tinklepaugh

Disney Eliminates Marvel’s Marketing Department; Nickelodeon Will Handle Canadian Licensing In-House

Walt Disney Co. will absorb Marvel Studios’ marketing into Disney’s film studio, eliminating Marvel’s marketing department. Disney reported a 60 percent drop in film-unit earnings in its most recent quarter and seeks ways to lower film costs, according to Ronald Grover reporting for Bloomberg.com.

Disney bought Marvel in 2009, but Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures released Marvel’s Thor and Captain America in a deal that ended this year. Disney will release Marvel’s The Avengers next spring.

Nickelodeon Consumer Products (NCP) also announced company changes this week. NCP, a division of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), plans to take its Canadian licensing and merchandising business in-house as of October 1. NCP Canada’s Toronto-based office will exclusively represent VIMN’s portfolio of properties and brands, including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central, and manage all operations and retail and licensee relationships for NCP.

Warner Bros. Partners with Natures Mistake and Blayne Siegel

Natures Mistake, under a license agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is developing Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry apparel collections. Natures Mistake and lead designer Leftyjoe, an LA-based artist, collaborated to design the collections’ graphics. The new collections include T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, and hats featuring Looney Tunes characters and Tom and Jerry, which will appeal to a diverse youth culture. The collections will be available on the Natures Mistake website (www.naturesmistake.net) and at high-end boutiques across the nation starting in October.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, has partnered with fashion designer Blayne Siegel to develop a collection of men’s and women’s premium casual apparel by Kinetix, inspired by Batman. This collection will include a line inspired by Warner Bros. Pictures’ highly anticipated theatrical release The Dark Knight Rises. Items will include tanks, basic tees, hoodies, and textile differentia. The Batman-themed collection will be available at high-end department stores and specialty boutiques throughout the U.S.

Discovery Debuts Tech Program; The Annoying Orange Heads to Retail

Discovery Communications Launches Technology Program for Kids

This back-to-school season, Discovery Communications, Inc. is helping empower tech-savvy kids with the launch of Discovery Kids Puterbugs, a technology-based program that teaches kids age 8 and under to use technology to solve problems and build important skills. Discovery Kids Puterbugs is presented by Discovery Kids and Imagine Tomorrow, the leading provider of computer classes for young children. The deal was brokered on behalf of Discovery Communications by Big Tent Entertainment, the North American licensing agent for the Discovery Kids brand.

A first-of-its-kind program, Discovery Kids Puterbugs is the only interactive experience available that teaches kids, in a fun and age-appropriate way, the full scope of technology skills in today’s digital world. In a safe environment that promotes a healthy foundation and proper tech etiquette, the program helps kids master skills that range from basic file navigation, Internet, and keyboarding skills to an understanding of the latest technology, such as mobile apps and cloud computing. The classes are currently being offered across the country in more than 700 locations, including a rollout of schools through a national partnership with early childhood education provider, Learning Care Group.

The Collective Debuts Licensing Program for The Annoying Orange

Viral sensation The Annoying Orange will break out of the virtual kitchen with the launch of the property’s first licensed program, led by The Collective. Foundation apparel and accessory partners for the juicy brand include Hybrid Apparel and Accessory Innovations, who have signed on to develop collections targeted to young men and juniors. The Hybrid Apparel and Accessory Innovations deals were brokered on behalf of The Collective by The Joester Loria Group (TJLG), the licensing agent for The Annoying Orange brand.

Created by Dane Boedingheimer, The Annoying Orange features an endearingly annoying and highly entertaining Orange that playfully heckles other fruits, vegetables, or nearby objects with puns and jokes. Product designs for the new line will feature the zany fruit stars and “puntastic” content straight from the series. Hybrid Apparel will develop a variety of Annoying Orange apparel including young men’s and junior’s tees and fleece that will be available at key specialty retailers such as Hot Topic and Rue 21 in the fall, and JC Penney, where it will launch as a mid-tier exclusive in October. In addition, Accessory Innovations will introduce a line of headwear and cold weather accessories in time for the holiday season.  Bags and accessories will debut next spring.

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Disney Announces Merchandise at D23 Expo

Disney Consumer Products debuted exclusive merchandise at its D23 Expo held inside the Disney Living Pavilion in Anaheim, Calif., August 19-21.

DCP and Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc., introduced the new Rock Star Mickey interactive feature plush with a concert by Constantine Maroulis, star of Rock of Ages and former finalist on American Idol. The rocker jammed on stage with Mickey Mouse to show kids and Disney fans classic rock star moves featured in the interactive plush. The two have also teamed up for the Rock Star Mickey TV commercial, which is set to air September 6. With strong pre-sales currently underway, Rock Star Mickey is expected to be a fan favorite this holiday season, and will be available September 6 at retailers nationwide.

Mickey will show little rock stars how to jam along with the “Rock Star 101!” mode, with rock songs including “You Really Got Me.” Mickey sings, bobs his head, kick-steps, and finishes with his signature move, the Mickety-Split, where he plays the guitar with his nose.

 

John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, and Ronald Stroman, deputy postmaster general, unveiled the USPS Send a Hello Forever stamp series, featuring the characters of five films created by Disney·Pixar Animation Studios. Available now at usps.com, the series includes Buzz Lightyear and two of the green, three-eyed aliens from Toy Story; Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars; Remy the rat and Linguini from Ratatouille; the robot Wall·E from Wall·E; and Carl Fredricksen and Dug from Up.

 

Disney Store announced the worldwide debut of the Disney Princess Designer Doll Collection on August 19. Each of the 10 classic dolls are dressed in a glamorous runway inspired gown that comes in its own special collector case with a sleeve that showcases the beautiful sketch art created for each one. Disney expects the collection to be one of the most sought after items this holiday season. Starting today, one new Disney Princess Designer Doll will arrive in stores each week for 10 weeks in a random order not to be revealed to guests until each Monday when they go on sale.

Caption: Disney Store debuted its Princess Designer Doll collection in a private ceremony prior to the Legends of Disney Awards. The honorees, whose voices brought to life many of the modern-day Disney Princesses, were presented with one of the dolls by a child dressed up as the princess they honored. Honorees included Jodi Benson (Ariel from The Little Mermaid), Paige O’Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast), Lea Salonga (singing voices of Jasmine from Aladdin and Mulan from Mulan), Linda Larkin (speaking voice of Jasmine from Aladdin), and Anika Noni Rose (Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog).

Hogwarts to Open to Muggles Next Year

While fans don’t have another Harry Potter film to look forward to next year, they will have the chance to walk Hogwarts’ Great Hall themselves. The film studio will open its Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter next spring at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, the production home of the eight Harry Potter films for more than 10 years.

Warner Bros. announced this week that tickets go on sale October 13 and must be booked in advance. The 150,000-square-foot-facility would require three hours to completely tour, bringing fans to Hogwarts’ Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, and Hagrid’s hut. The tour also includes the Creature Effects workshop to see Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Aragog the giant spider, Fawkes the phoenix, and the Basilisk head.

Visitors to the studio will see firsthand the scale and detail of sets, costumes, animatronics, special effects, and props from the films. Rupert Grint said in a press release, “The sets all have tiny little details that you may not always notice in the films, but when you actually walk through them, you can see all the work that’s gone into it. It’s really amazing.”

The final battle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 left the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in ruin, according to previous press material from Warner Bros. “It wasn’t just a question of knocking some walls down; the silhouette was as significant as a piece of sculpture,” said production designer Stuart Craig. “The Great Hall, for example, was the spine of Hogwarts, so in demolishing that, we knew it had to be an image that would leave a lasting impression.”

So after the destruction of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, will Warner Bros. have rebuilt the castle sets, bringing tourists into a pristine castle, like that of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Launching new Harry Potter attractions is a way to keep interest alive, of course, and signals possible future growth for the franchise, instead of memorializing its end with a ruined Hogwarts castle.

Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson had said, “The idea of everything being taken down permanently felt a bit tragic. I guess I imagined they would always be there.”

As of next spring, Hogwarts will stand again.

Melissa Tinklepaugh

Brand Licensing Europe: Call For Editorial Submissions

There’s still time to contribute to The Licensing Book’s Brand Licensing Europe issue! TLB is covering BLE, to be held at the Olympia in London from October 18-20. Michael Acton Smith, the CEO of Mind Candy and the inventor of Moshi Monsters, will be the keynote speaker.

Please send editorial info to Bryan Joiner (that’s me) at bjoiner@licensingbook.com and Melissa Tinklepaugh at mtinklepaugh@licensingbook.com. All editorial information will be embargoed until the first day of the show. We love pictures! Please include 300 dpi artwork with your submissions. The deadline for submissions is September 1.

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