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While you won't find me at New York Comic-Con (NYCC) this weekend, you can certainly find some awesome toys and collectibles being offered by my friends at Funko and Entertainment Earth. One very much-anticipated item is the Funko / Entertainment Earth Convention Exclusive Classic Spider-Woman Pop! Vinyl Figure. First announced on the official Funko blog last month, Spider-Woman joins the Funko family TODAY and is available in super-limited quantities only at Funko's booth at New York Comic-Con or online through Entertainment Earth! These are in the EE warehouse and ready to ship next week, and although I'm not at NYCC, somehow Spider-Woman made her way to me. Check out this first hands-on look!

There's been a revival of late when it comes to play, with retro being all the rage. Mego is back in Target, the Transformers are taking on their G1 look in Bumblebee and between Super 7 and Funko, the chunky, 5.5" action figures from the era of He-Man and The Masters of the Universe have been making a comeback. For the latter, Funko's Savage World has been a big deal - most recently presenting both Horror Icons and Thundercats in the beefy style. Today things get weird, with the confirmation of some rumors from a few months back as Funko, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have announced the launch of DC Primal Age - a full collection of toys featuring retro-style barbarian fantasy-themed Super Heroes and Super-Villains from the DC universe. The inaugural line will be available for purchase starting October 5, 2018 on Amazon.com through a dedicated DC Primal Age storefront.

Much like the constant debate on whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie (it is), there's a frequent clash over whether Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween or a Christmas movie (it's both). For two-and-a-half decades, the debate has raged on, but in the end audiences are still just happy to enjoy the cross-holiday adventures of Jack Skellington whenever they'd like.  I've always found myself to be quite attached to Jack as The Pumpkin King (I'm an October child from the largest pumpkin-producing state in the nation), and his songs have always struck an important chord. That said, The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of those films that I've owned over and over again, from VHS to DVD to 20th Anniversary Blu-ray and now the 25th Anniversary Sing-Along Edition. Indeed, despite the music of the film being of such massive importance, a sing-along version for in-home viewing has just now become available.

Tuesday, October 02 2018 11:41

Is "Geoffrey's Toy Box" the New Toys 'R' Us?

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Updated 10:51pm with more details at the end of the article...

Less than 24 hours before the official start of The Toy Association's annual Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, court filings revealed that the long-awaited Intellectual Property Auction for Toys "R" Us had been cancelled. Reported on here (now updated with a statement from the company), the new chapter in the long saga of the TRU closure would see a new company rise from Geoffrey, LLC under control of the lenders. Having been rumored for months, one question raised is how long ago in the bankruptcy process were the lenders planning to relaunch the company themselves rather than sell the assets? Backing-up to the June 29th final closure of the remaining Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us locations in the United States, there were some cryptic messages posted on the TRU social accounts using the hashtag "#TRUBeContinued..." inviting followers to "stay tuned for news and information on the next chapter for Geoffrey and the iconic TRU brands." While the Facebook page has been deactivated and the Instagram account has gone dormant, someone recently did a clean-up on the TRU Twitter account, deleting all the liquidation posts and tacky video ads going back to March 9th - a message thanking customers for their support. So why is the June 29th date so important? Because on June 20th, just nine days prior to the doors being closed, Geoffrey, LLC filed for a trademark on a new name: Geoffrey's Toy Box. And just who is exhibiting in Booth #13-3229 at the Fall Toy Preview? Geoffrey's Toy Box.

UPDATED BELOW with Statement from the Company...

As I've said before, the saga of the Toys "R" Us collapse just continues to get stranger as time goes on, with new layers of unusual and in some cases, unheard-of activity still being revealed. Following the announcement that Bain Captial and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) were setting up a $20M fund to provide some severance to a portion of the 33,000 workers that were left jobless following the closure of the toy retailer in the U.S., now comes word that plans are in motion for a revived Toys "R" Us that could be run by some of the very companies that drove the company into liquidation in the first place. One theory that's been floated in back channels and among former TRU employees and business partners in recent months has been that the long-awaited IP auction has been intentionally delayed, having been postponed from June to August and then again to October. Now that auction has been flat-out cancelled, and the reason may come as a surprise (or not) to many: some of the same lenders that forced the company into liquidation have been plotting to revive both Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us under a new retail entity.

If there's a poster company for toy industry consolidation, Basic Fun! just might be it. As the industry of play continues to evolve and more companies jockey for position in the wake of the Toys "R" Us closure in the U.S. and elsewhere, team-ups and mergers are where it's at, and that's something that Basic Fun! saw coming. Announced during Toy Fair 2017 and reported on here, Basic Fun! was formed by combining two smaller companies - The Bridge Direct and Tech 4 Kids. At the time, Tech 4 Kids CEO Brad Pedersen said that the new company had the "expectation to acquire or merge with new businesses every twelve to eighteen months" to fuel growth. Indeed, the company has grown, but at an accelerated rate, having already absorbed K'NEX, Uncle Milton and Good Stuff. Today comes word that the company just pulled another PAC-MAN, gobbling-up Playhut, maker of indoor and outdoor play structures.

Sometimes things just have a way of working out... like launching the 2018 installment of 31 Days of Halloween alongside Phase One of the annual Holiday Wish Guide™. And since that's happening, it's only fitting that the debut entry for this year's celebration of October's finest moment is something that's in both. From PLAYMOBIL comes the new Take Along Haunted House (9312), an upgrade and expansion of an idea presented by the discontinued Haunted House Play Box (5638) from a few years back.

The Battle Royale just saw another major player drop from the bus, with Funko unleashing a huge assortment of their much-anticipated FORTNITE Pop! Vinyl Figures! Created in collaboration with Epic Games, these colorful characters arrive just in time for the holiday season, making them a perfect gift for the gamer or collector on your shopping list. My friends at Entertainment Earth (affiliate) just opened pre-orders for a full range of figures, each of which is listed below. Put them on a shelf or use them to act-out real-life battles on your desk or floor, just avoid the storm!

It's almost Halloween, and finally those long-awaited Super Monsters toys are coming! I gave you your first-look at the prototypes from Toy Fair back in March, and now Hasbro's Playskool is getting ready to unleash these super-cute monsters ahead of the Season Two Premiere on Netflix, which arrives alongside a new mini movie - Super Monsters Save Halloween - on October 5th. On a recent visit to Target, my wife and I happened to find the first piece of Super Monsters merch in the wild - a Halloween-themed t-shirt that unfortunately only came in toddler sizes. The toys, however, are recommended for ages 3 and up, but I see a bigger audience here - not just for kids, but also grownups who love Halloween and all things spooky! Take a look at some of what's up for pre-order via my associate, Amazon, right now...

Thursday, September 27 2018 09:29

There's an L.O.L. Surprise Advent Calendar Now... Sort of

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Officially, it's not an "advent calendar," but MGA Entertainment's latest L.O.L. Surprise! offering certainly follows the pattern of a 25-day holiday countdown by offering kids a new surprise behind a different door each day. The L.O.L. Surprise! #OOTD Outfit of the Day box is exactly what it sounds like - a collection of new fashion pieces for your L.O.L Surprise! dolls, with a new one counting toward something. The packaging isn't seasonal in nature, but with LEGO, Hot Wheels, PAW Patrol, PLAYMOBIL and more getting in on the advent calendar action, it's easy to see what's happening here. As we move into the holiday shopping season, this is another addition to a growing list of "if you see it, buy it!" items, as the $29.99 MSRP toy is already being flipped on the secondary market for $60-$70. You can look for it via my affiliates at Amazon or Walmart, but just watch the price!

Wednesday, September 26 2018 12:12

New Details on "Star Wars Resistance" Emerge...

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Star Wars Resistance will make its debut on October 7th on Disney Channel (10 p.m. ET/PT) and DisneyNOW and this week the cast and creatives began making the media rounds, starting with a press conference in Burbank. While we can expect to start seeing interview features from that roll out shortly, the bigger news is that Lucasfilm has issued the official synopses for the first five episodes of the series. Check out all the details below...

As announced not long ago, Spin Master's Hatchimals HatchiBabies will become available on Hatchimals Day, October 5. Can the Hatchimals be a hit for a third year in a row? Had you asked me earlier this year, the cynical part of me would've said no... but having seen the toys (shhh!) and some early pre-order sales data, I'm saying yes! While the new arrivals to the Hatchery Nursery are available for pre-order now through October 4 (while supplies last) at retailers across the country including Target, Walmart and Amazon, getting one of these on launch day might be tricky, but now there's even more details on how it's all gonna go down. In addition to the previously-announced launch event at The Grove in Los Angeles, the Amazon Treasure Truck will be delivering HatchiBabies with a fleet of 28 trucks across 25 cities, and there's plenty of retailer events and exclusives. Check out all the details below and get those pre-orders in for the holidays!

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