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Hatchimals were the hottest toy for Holiday 2016, and now they're poised for another big run. As the franchise has grown well-beyond the original hatching electronic toys to include Hatchimals Colleggtibles, clothing and more, Spin Master has now revealed the next evolution of the original toys: Hatchimals Surprise. Hailing from the world of Hatchtopia, Hatchimals Surprise are are said to be "different from any Hatchimals seen before." There's a completely new hatching process, with new species to meet and what's being called "a BIG surprise" set to come on the Second Annual Hatchimals Day, Friday, October 6, 2017!

One of the biggest surprises this summer was that ahead of THE EMOJI MOVIE was an all-new HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA short. I had no idea that PUPPY was set in Dracula's world, and that's a good thing as the kids were really surprised when we screened it at the birthday party for our oldest "Rock Daughter." Now, with an animated series airing on Disney Channel and a new feature film headed for theaters next summer, news has come into Rock Father HQ that Sony Pictures Consumer Products has partnered with Jazwards to develop a Hotel Transylvania toy-line, while Simon & Schuster Children's Group, Papercutz Comics and Bendon Publishing, will create a range of books inspired by the film franchise and new television series. The goodies will begin hitting stores leading up to the release of Sony Pictures Animation's HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3, in which Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship -- the first time the characters will venture outside of the hotel. 

It has begun... FORCE FRIDAY II officially kicked off at 12:01am this morning, with STAR WARS fans on the East Coast being among the first to purchase new merchandise from Rian Johnson's upcoming film, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. The Disney Store in NYC was first to welcome a line hundreds long, starting a wave that's moved coast-to-coast this morning with midnight openings and events at retailers such as Toys "R" Us, Walmart, Target, Meijer and more. This year's Force Friday is actually a weekend event running September 1-3, 2017 with events planned at many locations. Check out StarWars.com/FindTheForce for full details. 

Note: Video on this has been added to The Rock Father™ YouTube Channel!

Since the 2015 relaunch of the Star Wars franchise with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we've entered a new era of fandom in which families have regular access to perhaps the widest assortment of merchandise from a galaxy far, far away than ever before. Under Disney's leadership, Lucasfilm no longer has the lull of a "non-movie year," since there's going to be a new Star Wars film each year for the foreseeable future. For consumers, that means steady access to new toys and gear, but as recent years have shown us, there's just too much stuff out there, and it's not always what the people want. For our family, the true core of Star Wars imaginative play lies solely with Hasbro's 3.75" action figure line - the one whose lineage dates back to the original Kenner Star Wars Collection of figures, vehicles and playsets. For the current generation of kids and collectors, there's been a huge omission on the playset front, and with the Force Friday II launch of toys for Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Hasbro aims to fill that gap with the BB-8 2-in-1 Mega Playset. This impressive set* looks like a near life-sized BB-8 Astromech Droid while closed, but opens up into a First Order Star Destroyer packed with play features!

According to The Rock Daughters™, the characters from Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom are friends of Peppa Pig and her family. Not sure how that works in their fictional worlds (or if they ever truly collide), but the kids are onto something - both come from the folks at eOne, both originate from the UK, both have become big hits Stateside, and now they both have toys from Jazwares. This Friday (9/1/17), I'll be joining The Toy Insider as we talk about the new Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom toys, available now exclusively at Target! Of course, we'll also have some to give away, but you must RSVP and participate in the #benandhollyparty to be eligible! 

Following Lucasfilm's official announcement of their Global Force Friday II, now the retailers are chiming in with their plans for the launch of new toys and merchandise from Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Toys "R" Us hit Rock Father HQ with details on what's happening at the house of Geoffrey, and it's looking good. The main concern (as always) will be availability of enough product, particularly on the action figure & vehicle front at launch, but Toys "R" Us tends to have a pretty big set-up. See the announcement from TRU below...

Back in 2015, the first "Force Friday" was a pretty big deal - a one-day global event to celebrate the release of new toys and merchandise from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now, Disney and Lucasfilm are following it up with Force Friday II (September 1, 2017), and today they've officially announced Find the Force, a global augmented reality (AR) event rolling out to commemorate the worldwide launch of new products inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It's a "pop-up AR treasure hunt" that aims to unite fans around the world in the battle against the dark side in a unique three-day event at over 20,000 retail locations (click here for a list) across 30 countries. As fans turn up to take home new Star Wars: The Last Jedi products, they will have the opportunity to activate a unique augmented reality experience featuring Star Wars characters, including fan-favorites and new surprise additions from the film. Check out the video and details below to see how it all works, and you can even get started by scanning the Rey graphic to collect your first character - the Porgs!

Saturday, August 19 2017 20:57

Mark Wahlberg is Headed for HASCON...

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One of the highlights of the year for our family thus far was attending the red carpet premiere of TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT in Chicago. Among the cast and crew in attendance was star Mark Wahlberg, who's played Cade Yeager in the past couple of installments, and now he's headed for Hasbro's HASCON - their first ever "FANmily" event. Happening September 8 – 10, 2017 at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, HASCON will bring Hasbro’s most iconic brands to life, with experiences based around Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, MarvelPlay-Doh. Wahlberg will take part in a special panel devoted to the making of Michael Bay's latest TRANSFORMERS film, followed by a special dinner event. Check out the details below...

You may have seen me post about Zuru Toys' Bunch O Balloons earlier this year - most likely on my social networks, or when I co-hosted a twitter party for them with The Toy Insider. Realizing I hadn't given them a proper feature here on the site from my hands-on experience, it's time to throw down a few words about the water balloons that have been famously touted for the ability to "fill and tie 100 balloons in 60 seconds." Quite simply: they absolutely work.

One of the highlights of this summer's 2017 D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, was the opportunity to shop for exclusive merchandise from across the Disney spectrum. Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm were all represented in the Disney Dream Store, and for Star Wars fans, one of the most sought-after purchases was the latest from the Disney Parks Droid Factory Build-A-Droid action figure series: R5-D23. This 3.75" scale droid is a perfect companion for Star Wars action figures from the original Kenner vintage series (1977-1985) or the modern Hasbro collections. Having attended D23 Expo myself (as a guest of Disney), I had a chance to stop by the Dream Store, and I picked up an extra R5-D23 with the sole purpose of passing him along to one of you!

Warner Bros.' The LEGO Batman Movie has proven to be one of 2017's biggest hits - a follow-up to 2014's The LEGO Movie, but one with perhaps even more appeal to families that embrace the desire for adventure. Like it's predecessor, our kids have had a desire to take the film with them, and that's something we've seen from the start. When General Motors showed off the Chevrolet version of The LEGO Movie Batmobile at The Chicago Auto Show back in February, my oldest daughter was right there rockin' her LEGO Batman backpack. When a LEGO Batgirl costume popped up at Walmart - the girls had to have it. And by summer, the movie was available on Digital HD, and the girls insisted that it be added to the iPad for the road. In fact, on our June trip to the lake house in Wisconsin, we traveled with a LEGO Batman pack. 

Update - 8/17/17, 8:30am: Looks like someone at Hasbro goofed and perhaps jumped the gun. After being live on their official YouTube Channel for more than 12 hours, three of the four new commercials have been removed. I'll replace them in this article if/when they're restored.  

As we approach the next "Force Friday" event on September 1, the folks at Hasbro have updated their official YouTube Channel tonight with a look at some of the new STAR WARS toys set for release ahead of Rian Johnson's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI this December. The big one (literally) has already elicited a verbal "I want that!" from the youngest of The Rock Daughters™, along with a mental of "I want that..." from yours truly. Indeed, Hasbro is releasing a playset, and I honestly can't remember the last time that they did a proper 3.75" playset that wasn't just a fold-out vehicle. In this case, they're releasing a large BB-8 that opens up into a First Order Star Destroyer, complete with four levels of play and figures of Supreme Leader Snoke and an Elite Praetorian Guard. Take a look at the new commercial below!

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