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COMMENTARY: Nightmare Before Christmas Products for Freaky Fans

While my folks are tuning into the Hallmark channel for the sappy Christmas movies that make them cry year after year, and my niece and nephew obsess over Buddy from Elf, I’m still stuck on a classic Christmas favorite that is often misappropriated by Halloween: The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie isn’t called A Dream Before Halloween. For me, that’s enough reasoning to say it is, in fact—no matter how creepy—a Christmas movie.

Nightmare Before Christmas MonopolyUSAopoly will bring this cult classic into homes this holiday season in a whole new way with Monopoly: The Nightmare Before Christmas Collector’s Edition. Players can buy, sell, and trade iconic movie locations, such as Jack’s Tower, Oogie Boogie’s Casino, Sally’s Alley, Dr. Finkelstein’s Laboratory, Town Square Fountain, and (my favorite) Spiral Hill. This completely customized game features imagery of all the greatest characters from the film, with Jack and Sally front and center, as well as six collectible pewter tokens, including Jack’s Skull, Sally, the Mayor’s Hearse, Oogie Boogi, Zombie Duck, and Evil Teddy. Just like the classic, this game is designed for two to six players ages 8 and up and is sure to please all Nightmare fans.

Nightmare Before Christmas YahtzeeUSAopoly has also fused the creepy-cool Christmas favorite with another household board game: Yahtzee. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that if you love Jack, you can never have too much of him: and this game has A LOT of Jack. This travel-sized edition of Yahtzee includes a customized dice cup in the shape of Jack Skellington’s head, which also serves as a storage container for all of the game pieces. The days of one through six are over, as the included custom dice feature the frightful movie characters, including the Mayor, Oogie Boogie, Sally, and, of course, Jack. The fun doesn’t stop just there—the Pumpkin King can even be found in silhouette form on the score sheets. The Tim Burton classic has infiltrated every inch of this old school game. All of the classic rules still apply, and the game is designed for one or more players ages 8 and up.

Nightmare Before Christmas Santa Jack Skellington Pop! VinylFor those not-so-into board games (if such people exist), there are other great options that will delight come Christmas morning (as long as no skeleton man or green furry beast comes slinking down the chimney to steal them). There’s only one thing greater than Jack Skellington—and that’s Jack Skellington dressed as Santa. While it’s unfortunate that the spindly white beard covers the amazing oversized bat bowtie we’ve come to love, a skeleton in a Santa suit is still just awesome. Funko has transformed Santa Jack into a collectible figure in the Pop! Vinyl style. Fans will love his enormous gap-toothed smile, and he even holds a little present!

Nightmare Before Christmas Zero Pop! VinylWhere would the Grinch be without Max? Well, where would the Pumpkin King be without Zero, his loyal, faithful, adorably dead ghost pup? Zero has never looked cuter than in Pop! Vinyl format. Standing 3.75 inches tall, Zero features his iconic jack-o-lantern nose and the most precious dead puppy smile I’ve ever seen. Both figures are suitable for kids ages 5 and up. Sure to creep-up any Christmas décor, these figures are perfect for Nightmare fans.

So, get yourself some black wrapping paper and a shiny bow adorned with skulls and think outside the box this Christmas with these Nightmare Before Christmas collectibles. After all, some kids and adults would prefer classic darkness and creepiness to sappiness, prettiness, and/or sparkly shine.

For more commentary from Marissa, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Licensing Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Icing Introduces Exclusive Monopoly-Inspired Collection

Icing

Icing has teamed up with Hasbro to design a capsule collection of jewelry and accessories inspired by Hasbro’s Monopoly game. The collection will be trendy, fashionable, and affordable, and targeted at customers in their 20s. The line is designed in metallic gold and bedazzled jewels, featuring chain link, beading, and glitter details on pieces including a charm bracelet, stud earrings, iPhone cases, wallets, makeup compacts, T-shirts, and rings. Pieces from are available on icing.com.

To celebrate the launch of the collection and encourage shoppers to showcase their gaming spirit, Icing has also launched an InstagramGlam Game” promotional sweepstakes with a grand prize of a seven-day cruise for two on Carnival Cruise Lines. The sweepstakes encourages fans to express their unique sense of style by snapping and uploading a photo of themselves. Official Rules for the “Glam Game” sweepstakes can be found on Facebook.com. No purchase is necessary to enter or win.

Icing’s exclusive collection is available in-store.

COMMENTARY: The Zombie Apocalypse is All Fun and Games (‘Til Somebody Gets Bit)

Along with more than 16 million other Americans, I’ve taken to spending my Sunday nights biting my nails watching Rick, Carl, Daryl, and Michonne slice through zombie skulls on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Needless to say, thoughts of the zombie apocalypse have now pretty much overrun my life. I’m dubbing this obsession #zombiebrain. If, like me, you or someone you love suffers from #zombiebrain, here are some awesome toys and games to feed your addiction.

Monopoly.WalkingDead.USAopMonopoly: The Walking Dead Survival Edition, from USAopoly brings everyone’s favorite board game into the world of the (un)dead. Based on The Walking Dead comic from Robert Kirkman, the game challenges players to fight for their own property and avoid zombies at all costs. Monopoly: The Walking Dead Survival Edition delivers classic Monopoly wheeling and dealing game play—but this time, players must fight for their survival. Everything about the game screams “WALKERS!” Properties correspond with the series landmarks, such as the prison cells, the Greene Family farm house, and Woodbury, while game tokens resemble key items from the series such as Rick’s sheriff hat, a bucket of body parts, the telephone, Dale’s R.V. (RIP Dale!), the Katana (aka Michonne’s awesome sword), and Lucille (aka a ridiculously effective baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire). Instead of using money to purchase property, players must trade essential supplies, such as food, ammo, and fuel to gain more territory on the board or to place a guard tower or wall (instead of the standard houses and hotels) to secure their safe haven from Walker attacks. The game is recommended for two to six players ages 13 and up and is now available at comic book specialty shops. Read the rest of this entry »

Hasbro Introduces New Telepods and Jenga Gaming Based on Angry Birds Go! Mobile Game from Rovio Entertainment

Hasbro Inc. has introduced the Angry Birds Go! Telepods and Jenga product lines, launching in support of Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds Go! mobile game. The Telepods platform allows more physical characters into the mobile gaming and allows players to teleport their physical Angry Birds Go! karts into the digital game using their mobile devices.

Hasbro’s Angry Birds Go! Jenga gaming line offers face-to-face play based on the mobile game. Kids can take on the pigs with kart racing, bird launching, and Jenga block toppling. Both product lines are available at major retail locations beginning on October 1 with the mobile game following later.

Skylanders Monopoly Now Available

Characters from the Skylanders franchise, including Kaos and Chompie, are taking over the property-trading game Monopoly with new Skylands locations, tokens, and game pieces. Produced by USAopoly, under license from Hasbro, and in conjunction with Activision, Skylanders Monopoly lets players vie for control of real estate, allowing them to buy, sell, and trade 22 Skylands locations, such as Stealth Elf’s Ninja Dojo, Trigger Happy’s Bank Vault, and Spyro’s Chompy Diner. Players must also steer clear of Auric’s Traveling Store Taxes and Persephone’s Gem Shop Tax as they battle for Thumpback’s Thundering Tide Pool and Zap’s Lightning Race. The game is now available on Amazon.com and at specialty retailers in North America. Skylanders Monopoly is designed for players ages 8 and up.

COMMENTARY: Spanning Generations: Modern Takes on Classic Brands

Nostalgia is a growing trend in the toy and licensing industry, but recently many classic brands have been given a modern reboot. The modernized take on classic brands offer fun for consumers both young and old, spanning generations and providing licensees with multiple new opportunities. Today, some modernized takes on old favorites live along side their predecessors.

PlaymatesToys.BasicMutagenOozeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), for example, launched in the 1980s. A huge, revolutionary boys’ property, the brand was given a reboot last year when a new TMNT animated series launched in September on Nickelodeon. The brand has seen massive success in the toy industry, with partners including Playmates Toys with a full line of figures and play setsbubbles and water toys from Little Kids, and awesome electronics from Sakar International, including adorable TMNT earbuds. In addition to producing toys based on the new animated series, Playmates Toys also offers a classic collection including all four turtles, which reflects the look of the characters in the original series.

PacMan.BandaiPac-Man debuted in 1980, and has since become the highest-grossing video game in history. Namco Bandai Games Inc. continues to sign new licensees for the classic brand, including UK apparel specialist Poetic Gem with a line of nightwear and USAopoly with Yahtzee: Pac-Man Collector’s Edition and a 550-piece Pac-Man Collector’s Puzzle featuring an iconic maze from the game. In addition to the classic Pac-Man brand, the iconic figure will launch to a new generation of kids this fall, with the September 7 premiere of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, a stereoscopic, 3-D animated series airing on Disney XD41 Entertainment is the worldwide master agent for the new series, with nearly 50 licensees signed on for a full range of kid-targeted products, including master toy partner Bandai America with action figures, play sets, and plushK’nex Brands with building systems; and Pressman Toy Corp. with checkers, tic-tac-toe, bingo, dominos, and cardboard puzzles in boxes and tins.

SMurfette.MegaBloksThe Smurfs made their first appearance in North America in 1981, with a Saturday morning cartoon series, The Smurfs.  Still relevant today, many licensees continue to churn out products featuring the classic look of the iconic characters. USAopoly has Monopoly: The Smurfs Collector’s Edition, while Jakks Pacific has 1-inch figures and play sets based on the classic characters. In 2011, the Smurfs experienced a makeover with the release of The Smurfs, a 3-D, CGI-animated live-action hybrid film produced by Sony Pictures Animation. The sequel, The Smurfs 2, will debut in July. Jakks Pacific will celebrate the film’s release with collectible figures, plush, fashion dolls, and play sets featuring the latest versions of Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and others. Mega Bloks has construction sets featuring the Smurfs, and Tech 4 Kids has The Smurfs Mash’Ems.

In all of these cases, the new versions of the classic brands feature similar-looking characters of the same names and a modernized logo. By placing the updated versions alongside the originals, licensors are practically doubling their licensing opportunities. TMNT, Pac-Man, and the Smurfs now appeal not only to kids, but to their parents as well, who are more likely to recognize the brands, leading them to purchase the licensed toys for their children. With new, original properties consistently popping up in the toy and licensing industries, sometimes it’s nice to be able to share nostalgic experiences with the next generation.

For more commentary from Marissa, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Licensing Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Merriam-Webster and Word Winder In Promotional Partnership

In a multi-year agreement, Merriam-Webster and Word Winder Inc. are partnering for a national program that cross promotes Merriam-Webster with Word Winder, a new brand of board games, mobile apps and puzzles books developed by David L. Hoyt, Steve Bullock, and Graeme Thomson.

As part of the deal, visitors to Merriam-Webster’s official websites can play Word Winder CrossWinder.  In addition, all Word Winder board games and mobile apps feature Merriam-Webster as the official dictionary.  In Word Winder, players attempt to create a continuous winding line of words creating a path from one side of the board/screen to the other.  Through the partnership, players are encouraged to visit www.Merriam-Webster.com to confirm spelling, definitions, and language use while playing.

Barnes & Noble and Word Winder Give Café Customers a Sneak Peek

Starting this week, Barnes & Noble customers will be able to play free, unique Word Winder booklets from David L. Hoyt, “The Man Who Puzzles America,” in the store’s cafés. Hoyt is also the author of popular puzzles and games such as Jumble and Word Roundup.

It’s part of an exclusive partnership that Word Winder and Nook have formed for Barnes & Noble cafés. Some 155,000 miniature Puzzle Sampler booklets are being distributed at cafés, until supplies are gone. The booklets give the consumer a sneak peak at playing the best-selling Word Winder App for Nook Tablet and Nook Color, as well as the board game and puzzle book. All three products are available at Barnes & Noble’s almost 700 stores nationwide and, while supplies last, all the board games are hand-signed Hoyt himself.

In Word Winder, players create a continuous winding line of words from one side of the game board to the other. Words can be spelled in any direction— left to right, right to left, up, down, diagonally, or any combination of these.

The Word Winder Nook App is available for $1.99 and features six uniquely challenging games to play alone or with others.  The Word Winder board game, for 2-6 players ages 8 and up, is available for $19.99 and includes rules for two games – SideWinder and RaceWinder. The Word Winder puzzle book is available for $6.95.

Moonscoop Announces New Products for Properties

Golden Bear is preparing the launch of Chloe’s Closet products, which will include collectible figurines, character play sets, accessories, small soft toys, talking soft toys and plush sets. The line will launch in UK at the end of 2012, with the global roll out following in 2013. The new property in the young girls market, which is heavily pink in color, is accessible, learning-based, and full of positive messages, stories, and songs. In addition, the property has been licensed in France in key categories, such as apparel, publishing, back to school, and digital entertainment.

Code Lyoko Evolution, the new installment in the Code Lyoko franch, featuring a mix of live action and CGI animation for the first time, will offer a new line of games and toys for fans. The Code Lyoko Social Online Game, developed by Moonscoop with 3D DUO as a Facebook application, launched at the end of April 2012 in France. Moonscoop is set to expand the game with English, Spanish, and Italian versions of the game launching this month. Code Lyoko toys will also be available in Russia for the first time. The toys, from master toy partner Simba, will be launched in the market via local agent Icon Promotion.

Fans Geronimo Stilton, a television and publishing success, will be able to take the fun home in game form. Geronimo Stilton Kingdom of Fantasy, developed by Identity Games, won the Best Board game award in the Netherlands by ORNES, the Dutch Toy and Games industry.  Puzzles and games have also been launched in the region by Clementoni. Sony has also recently signed a deal for pan-Europe and will launch Geronimo Stilton The Kingdom of Fantasy: The Video Game, this fall.

Hasbro to Bring Candy Land and Stretch Armstrong to the Big Screen

Columbia Pictures, Happy Madison, and Hasbro, Inc. are in final talks to develop Candy Land, a live-action movie based on the Hasbro board game, with Adam Sandler attached to star.

Relativity Media has partnered with Hasbro to develop and produce a live-action tent-pole film based on Stretch Armstrong, the action hero figure launched in the 1970s. Relativity will be the domestic distributor, and will release the film internationally through its network of foreign output partners. The film is targeted for an April 11, 2014, release date.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Hasbro’s deal with Universal Pictures has ended. Universal Pictures has no plans for any more movies based on Hasbro toys beyond the May release of Battleship. The deal with Hasbro, signed four years ago, included at least four films based on seven games and toys: Battleship, Candy Land, Clue, Magic: The Gathering, Monopoly, Ouija, and Stretch Armstrong.

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