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Boat Rocker’s Dino Ranch Lassoed by Disney

The highly rated kids show Dino Ranch from Boat Rocker Studios has been snapped up in a deal with Disney+ that will see the program air in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand starting in April. The show takes dinosaurs from Jurassic Park to a Jurassic farm, with a cute assemblage of dinosaur steeds that has already premiered for audiences on Disney Junior and DisneyNOW in the US and Canada in January. Dino Ranch was an almost instant hit with kids on Disney Junior in the US, ranking as the #1 US cable series among Kids, Boys and Girls 2-5 since launch, notes Boat Rocker. Among Disney Junior repeats, Dino Ranch also ranks #1 with Kids, Boys and Girls 2-5. Also available on DisneyNOW and VOD, Dino Ranch has… . . . read more

Special Report: The Future of Hasbro

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief The ‘Play and Entertainment’ conglomerate Hasbro has for the first time outlined its future plans in a live investor event, and as expected, the news will be game changing for the company and for its licensing partners worldwide. Sit down and grab yourself a coffee or tea, because it’s a LOT. At the core of the announcement, Hasbro has outlined its “strategic growth drivers” for the near and medium term, and has unveiled new product segments aligned to these drivers. In other words, the company is restructuring, and it’s doing so in ways that it feels will better prepare Hasbro for a rapidly changing environment. The new financial reporting segments are: Consumer Products, including toys and games; Wizards of the Coast (Wizards) and… . . . read more

Hasbro Expands License Deal With Epic Games

Toy and entertainment company Hasbro has announced an expansion of its current licensing program with Epic Games for products based on the Fortnite video game. The deal, announced during Hasbro’s Investor Event on Feb. 25, extends the agreement by five years, and expands the deal beyond outdoor play products and tabletop games into item expressions such as collectible action figures, vehicles, and role-play gear. The announcement extends a successful two-year deal brokered by IMG between Hasbro and Epic Games wherein the company was granted license to integrate Fortnite into its NERF and MONOPOLY products. Now, with the growing partnership, Hasbro is excited to bring new products as well as in-game experiences to Fortnite fans of all ages, first with the recent in-game debut of the G.I. JOE character, Snake Eyes…. . . . read more

Disney’s Toy Onslaught For Raya and The Last Dragon

It’s been a while since a Hollywood tentpole movie has inspired a major launch of new toy lines, but Disney is taking a crack at it as Raya and the Last Dragon debuts on March 5. The COVID-19 pandemic has badly stalled releases of major films in theaters, and different studios have reacted with different strategies. Warner famously (or infamously) announced all of its films in 2021 would be made available simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max in the United States, with the long awaited Wonder Woman 1984 premiering on both platforms late last year. Disney has decided its first major release of the year will take a bow on Disney+, and all eyes in the toy licensing sector will be firmly on the film’s success in translating its… . . . read more

YouTube Clones TikTok For March Launch

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then TikTok must be positively blushing right now. The spectacular rise of TikTok as a social media and entertainment phenomenon has inspired Alphabet-owned streamer YouTube to face off directly with the upstart by launching its own version, called Shorts. Shorts is due to arrive in the United States in March, after a successful six-month beta test in India, where the service racked up 3.5 billion daily views. However, it’s worth noting that Chinese-owned TikTok is banned in India, due to ongoing tensions between the world’s two most populous countries. It’s unknown how Shorts will fare in a direct duel with TikTok, but we’ll find out next month when the services go head to head for the first time. Information about the new… . . . read more

LEGO Named World’s Most Popular Kids Entertainment Brand

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief According to a sweeping new report on brands for children, LEGO is now the most popular kids’ entertainment brand in the world, followed by Disney, Marvel, Barbie, and with Paw Patrol rounding out the Top 5.  The data comes via a report from Brand Trends, in which mothers provided answers to a survey on behalf of their children, from ages 0 to 6.  However, it’s worth noting that some brands in the list could be combined, since, for example, Disney also owns Marvel.  And, while Spiderman is now part of the Marvel Universe, it is also so popular as a brand that it places sixth on the list as a separate franchise. Similarly, the Disney property Frozen places seventh.  If the various Disney-owned… . . . read more

Mattel TV Announces Two New Barbie Specials

Mattel has said it will be greatly increasing its film and television production efforts in 2021, and the company this week announced the launch of two new animated Barbie specials for streamers and broadcasters this spring. The first of the two specials is “Barbie & Chelsea The Lost Birthday,” the first dedicated television movie featuring Barbie’s younger sister Chelsea in a starring role. The second special, which follows the success of last year’s “Barbie Princess Adventure,” will be a musical that follows Barbie and her friends to New York City. Directed by Cassi Simonds (“Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures”), “Barbie & Chelsea The Lost Birthday” tells the story of Chelsea, Barbie’s precocious youngest sister, and the rest of the Roberts family as they set sail on an adventure cruise for her seventh birthday…. . . . read more

Hasbro Not Toying Around With Gina Carano

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Talk about a rough week at the office. Toy giant Hasbro says it will no longer produce any toys featuring former Mandalorian star Gina Carano, who plays the part of the popular character Cara Dune. Carano was fired from her role in the hit Disney+ series after posting a series of controversial social media messages, she was dropped by her agents at United Talent Agency, and now licensed toy merchandise is also being discontinued. “The Star Wars Black Cara Dune figure was released in 2020 and sold out not long after the inventory was received,” a spokeswoman for BigBadToyStore told The Hollywood Reporter in a Monday email. “Hasbro planned for another production run and we were accepting preorders from that production run. Due to recent events,… . . . read more

Thinker-Tinker To Launch Trolls Music Stars

Thinker-Tinker, Inc., an innovative kid’s tech startup, has entered into a potentially lucrative deal with Dreamworks Animation to produce a line of interactive, collectible plush toys inspired by the studio’s popular Trolls franchise. The young toy company is now launching Trolls Music Stars, which are toys that interact with a companion mobile app, on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, on Feb. 23, 2021. The designers say the innovative plush characters connect to a companion mobile app and enable users to bring their favorite Trolls characters to life. Fans can create music through the power of rhythm, remixing and endless play. Users can enjoy their favorite songs from the Trolls franchise, unlock different characters, customize their Trolls’ avatar and collect special items in the game. Based in Pasadena, Calif., Thinker-Tinker was launched out of Comcast… . . . read more

Wildbrain Launches Deal For ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Parkour Courses In Saudi Arabia

A deal brokered by WildBrain CPLG on behalf of Ubisoft will allow Assassin’s Creed fans to release their inner Ninja with a blockbuster experiential attraction in Saudi Arabia. Wildbrain, a leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agency, has secured a deal with Osool Entertainment to develop location-based entertainment (LBE) attractions for the blockbuster video game franchise, Assassin’s Creed. The agreement will see Osool Entertainment create three brand new Assassin’s Creed indoor attractions in Saudi Arabia, targeting fans aged 8-40 years. Scheduled to open in Spring 2021, the Assassin’s Creed attractions will be situated within Osool Entertainment’s indoor Fizz Adventure parks and consist of a branded parkour course including a rope and ninja course. The immersive experience will bring to life themes and elements from the video game franchise’s first installment, giving guests… . . . read more


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