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Unless I happen to be in Los Angeles for a premiere, I tend to skip the advance screenings of upcoming films. In large part it's due to being 50 miles outside of Chicago proper, which makes attending the advances logistically difficult - but there are exceptions. Star Wars is the one franchise that I consciously avoid attending press screenings for, even though it's the series that most would expect that I'd absolutely want to see early. The reason for that is that the Star Wars films are something special for our family, and for the modern films that Lucasfilm has been releasing under Disney ownership, the tradition is that my wife and I see them at the Thursday night "preview" showings, and then take our daughters to see them over the weekend.  My personal connection to Star Wars runs deep, and I was there working with Disney to promote the launch of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, on the ground at the Global Media Event to play a small part in ushering in a new era of Star Wars - a return to the saga that many felt would never happen. Now, with the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I think we've reached a point where all generations should be enjoying these films more than ever before... if they'd just let themselves have some fun.

One of my favorite childhood toys is coming back to television after a successful relaunch last year. Wicked Cool Toys and their partner Alchemy II, Inc. have teamed up with The Jim Henson Company to develop an animated fantasy adventure series for kids ages 3-7 based on Teddy Ruxpin

The Toys "R" Us saga gets bleaker by the day, and if it's not crystal clear at this point, "saving" the U.S. operations of the company was never in the cards. As I've been saying for awhile, the endgame is that Toys "R" Us as we've known it for the past 70 years is over. The name will eventually live on in a new form as a complete reboot much like we're seeing happen with FAO Schwarz and KB Toys. As for who will own it, that's still a mystery, though as I reported earlier this month, there are people interested - including a group that has the involvement of former TRU CEO Jerry Storch. One player that's out is MGA Entertainment's Issac Larian, who tweeted his disappointment after his repeated attempts at salvaging parts of the company were shot down. 

Presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Mattel

There’s several trends in toys for 2018, and Mattel has managed to tick the boxes on many of them with one new line - Pooparoos Surpriseroos, available only at Walmart. Coming out of Toy Fair back in February, the world knew that bathroom fun would be a big deal, and here we see that combined with squishy collectibles, micro-collectibles and the ever-popular element of both blind boxes and blind bags. Kids will love the unboxing experience that these provide, with each adorable toilet playset including one squishy Pooparoos character paired with three blind Surpriseroos. Check out our hands-on video to see five-year-old Finley (youngest of The Rock Daughters™) cracking some open!

2018 is the year of Legendary Pokémon, and to celebrate this epic occasion, families have a new ways to add some fresh characters to Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon (full disclosure: We received copies of those games from the folks at Nintendo) the newest Nintendo 3DS games in the franchise. Legendary Pokémon are some of the most powerful and well-known Pokémon out there - and throughout the year,  there will be multiple ways for kids to add them to their Pokémon Ultra SunPokémon Ultra MoonPokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon game! For May, those are Yveltal and Xerneas, originally discovered in the Kalos region - and the FREE DOWNLOAD CODE to get them is only available at GameStop (an affiliate) through 5/27.

Back in 2015, Entertainment Earth (an affiliate of The Rock Father™) partnered with Funko for an exclusive glow-in-the-dark Pop! Vinyl Bobblehead of Thanos, based on his appearance in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy. A double-sized 6" figure, this version of the "Mad Titan" sold out quickly, but no one could've predicted just how popular Thanos would be three years later. Thanks to his finger-snapping villainy in Avengers: Infinity War, Funko and Entertainment Earth are doing a second run of the popular figure - the only 6" Funko Thanos that can currently be purchased new (an Avengers version sold as a Hot Topic exclusive is now only found on the secondary market). Pre-orders are open now with delivery expected in September.

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