Licensees Announced for Upcoming Animated Film Rango
Paramount Licensing has signed a slew of deals for Paramount’s upcoming action-adventure animated film Rango, which stars Johnny Depp. Rango is the story of a lonely chameleon (Depp) who can play any role but doesn’t know who he really is. So Rango goes on a journey, from a terrarium to a Mojave desert town, to discover the hero within himself. The movie is directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), and is slated for release March 4.
The current licensing roster for the film includes American Greetings for greeting cards; The Canadian Group for puzzles, games, magnetic colorform product, and tattoos; Artbox for trading cards; Eaglemoss for a mini-magazine and figurine collection; Hot Toys for collectible figures; Rubie’s Costume Co., Inc. for costumes; Sterling Publishing for children’s book formats; Palace Press Intl. for an art book; and more. Additional partnerships will be announced shortly.
Toy Story 3 Becomes the First Animated Film to Gross $1 Billion
Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3 crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office, joining The Walt Disney Studios’ Alice in Wonderland as the second $1 billion film this year, a first for a studio. Toy Story 3 is the only animated film to reach the $1 billion mark and the seventh title in industry history. Earlier this month, Toy Story 3 became the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
As of August 26, the film had grossed more than $592.9 million internationally, Disney’s largest international animated release. Toy Story 3 currently ranks No. 7 in global box office history and domestically ranks No. 9. Disney first crossed the $1 billion threshold with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest in 2006.
The Hub Adds Pop Culture Show to Its Lineup
The Hub has added Hubworld, a new weekly, half-hour series hosted by Justin Willman, to its lineup. Willman hosts the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Produced by Hasbro Studios, in association with Natural 9 Entertainment, Hubworld will feature highlights of Hub animated and live-action series; updates in the world of entertainment, music, sports, and more; and segments featuring kids’ service and volunteerism in their local communities and around the world. Kathy Samuels (Rachael Ray, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood) serves as the executive producer of the show.
New cable network The Hub, a joint venture between Discovery Communications and Hasbro, Inc., will launch on October 10 (10-10-10).
Twenga Reports 150 Percent Increase in Children’s Costume Searches
Shopping search engine Twenga is reporting that children’s costumes have become the fifth most popular item on its website. According to the site, searches for children’s costumes have increased steadily over the past few months and July reported a 150 percent increase. The website reports that the most popular theme searches for children’s costumes, from July 17 to August 16, 2010, were (in ranked order): Viking, Bullfighter, Jockey, Wolf, Musketeer, Zebra, Greek, Chinese, Pop Star, and Monkey. The top 10 children’s character costumes for that period were Donald Duck, Pocahontas, Snow White, Bambi, Bleach, Smurfs, Zelda, Muppets, Michael Jackson, and Totally Spies.
Adams Media to Release Kidz Bop Book Line
Publisher Adams Media will release a new book line starting next May based on the kids’ music brand Kidz Bop. The Kidz Bop line will feature both fiction and nonfiction books, including a fill-in-the-blank story, a junior novelization chronicling the life of the Kidz Bop Kids, and a rock star’s guide to starting a band. Each Kidz Bop book will be packaged with a special code that will be redeemable for a free Kidz Bop MP3 download. The books will range in price from $4.99 to $8.99, and e-books will be released simultaneously. Readers will also be able to log on to www.kidzbop.com and vote on story lines, upload original videos for e-book inclusion, and access bonus promotional content.
Nelvana Secures Deals for New Babar Series, Beyblade
German broadcaster KI.KA has purchased the first 26 episodes of Nelvana Enterprises' new animated series, Babar and the Adventures of Badou. The series will launch on the channel in spring 2011. Babar and the Adventures of Badou is an updated version of the classic Babar series and introduces King Babar's 8-year-old grandson Badou.
In the CGI series, Badou and his friends Chiku the monkey, Zawadi the zebra, and others explore the exotic world of Celestville. The show, for kids ages 4 to 7, is a co-production by Nelvana Studio and TeamTO, in association with The Clifford Ross Company. The series will premiere on YTV in Canada this November and is set to air on TFI in France, Playhouse Disney Japan, Disney Channel in Italy and Spain, and ABC TV in Australia, among others.
Additionally, Nelvana Enterprises has signed a North American licensing agreement with Vivendi Entertainment for home entertainment and digital downloading for its new animated series Beyblade: Metal Fusion. Vivendi will release seven DVDs that will include an initial 51 episodes. Volume 1 will be available on November 9 in English, French, and Spanish.
Beyblade: Metal Fusion, from Nelvana and d-rights Inc., features a mix of 2-D animation and battle scenes with the tops spinning in CGI animation. Hasbro is the master toy licensee for the companion toy line in most international markets outside of Asia.
Maya & Miguel Move It
Scholastic Media and PBS Kids Go! is asking kids to get up and start exercising as a part the “Move It with Maya & Miguel” campaign, to be held the week of September 20-28. As the national spokeskids for First Lady Michelle Obama's national “Let's Move” campaign against childhood obesity, Maya and Miguel will be encouraging kids to start eating and playing healthy in the seven episodes that will air on PBS Kids Go! that week. The episodes will include decorating, school activities, playing soccer and other games, helping neighbors, spending time with friends, and planning parties.
Earlier this year, Scholastic partnered with the Ad Council, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, to launch a series of public service advertisements addressing childhood obesity. One series of PSAs features Maya and Miguel telling children to the “Take the Maya & Miguel Challenge” to become more physically active and to eat healthier.
Maya & Miguel debuted in 2004 and is now in its sixth season on PBS KIDS GO! The series aims to promote a culturally diverse society and help support English-language learners.
Pretty Ugly Releases Exclusive Uglydoll at Learning Express
Pretty Ugly, LLC has released a limited-edition Uglydoll character that is available exclusively at Learning Express stores nationwide, while supplies last. The Learning Express Nandy Bear is bright blue with pale pink eyes, and is available in classic, two-foot oversized, and key chain miniature sizes. To find a Learning Express store, visit www.learningexpress.com.
TIA Calls for Participants to Review Tricycle Safety Standard
In accordance with procedures established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), every approved American National Standard must be reviewed every five years. The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is calling on its members to participate in a review group that will consider updating ANSI Z315.1-2006, American National Standard for Tricycles—Safety Requirements, which is the nationally recognized safety requirement for tricycles.
Participants of the review group will include those “directly and materially affected interests in the subject covered by the scope of the standard," including producers (e.g. manufacturers), users (e.g. consumers and/or consumer representative organizations, and general interest (e.g. all others). Those not affiliated with the toy manufacturing process are encouraged to participate, in compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act. The deadline to register as a participant of the review group is October 8. For more information, contact TIA's Lorca Hjortsberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
K’NEX Holds Contest for NASCAR Fans
K'NEX is celebrating the introduction of its new, officially licensed, NASCAR building sets, available at Target, with a new contest. Fans who purchase a K’NEX NASCAR building set at Target will be eligible to win a grand prize trip to their favorite NASCAR-sanctioned race in 2011, including four tickets, round trip transportation, a two-night stay in a hotel, and a NASCAR prize pack. In addition to the grand-prize winner, 88 other fans will win a $24 Target gift card. Entry forms must by postmarked before midnight on September 17. In July, K’NEX expanded its officially licensed NASCAR building toy line with new pit crews, garages, transporter rigs, and additional drivers and cars.