At the 115th North American International Toy Fair this year, I happened to come across the Imperial Toy booth and some of their latest offerings on the bubble front. For years Imperial's bubbles have been a staple of outdoor play, but one new spin on the classic is something that's been kicking around since 2015, gradually being improved and readied for its major public push. Created by a pediatrician and allergist,Lick-A-Bubble is a special solution that allows kids to create flavored bubbles from just about any drink (just stay away from dairy, pulps, and steer non-carbonated). And for the grownups, yes - you can use this with your favorite "adult beverage" - and that's exactly how I first tried them.
There's 25 Wookiees in that photo above, and [SPOILER ALERT] one of them is The Rock Father™! While in Los Angeles last month, I stopped by Disney's Grand Central Creative Campus to meet with the team from Disney Consumer Products & Interactive. After taking a look at the full range of new products from Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story, each member of my crew donned one of Party City's Chewbacca masks for a photo celebrating the launch of Roar For Change - the next initiative from Star Wars: Force for Change, presenting fans with a new global challenge in support of UNICEF. Curious how this is gonna play out and how you can do some good by showing off your best Wookiee roar? Check out the launch video below!
Star Wars Day brings forth a ton of surprise announcements, and for 2018 one of those is a new addition to the ever-expanding world of 6' action figures issued by Hasbro as part of The Black Series. My friends at Entertainment Earth (an affiliate) just announced that they'll be stocking a "Fan Channel Exclusive" - the Star Wars The Black Series Admiral Piett 6" Action Figure. Based on Firmus Piett (performed by Kenneth Colley) who appeared in both The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), this new super-articulated action figure features a removable cap and blaster, and will begin shipping this June.
Fun fact: When I was traveling to Los Angeles for the World Premiere of Avengers: Infinity War last month, I was wearing a pair of DEADPOOL High Tops that my friends at ThinkGeek sent me. Then, the following night - Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld and his son were a few steps behind me as we walked the purple carpet at the premiere. Me being the dork that I am, I neglected to say hello to the creator of the character whose style was adorning my feet not 24 hours earlier. A missed opportunity, but I'm still looking forward to the May 18 debut of DEADPOOL 2, and today we've got our first taste of the soundtrack... by Céline Dion. "Ashes" is the new music video staring Dion and Deadpool, and really it speaks for itself, so enjoy.
If you haven't seen Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War yet, what I'm about to share with you might be considered SPOILER territory... but it's not actually something that's in the film. In fact, it's something that is 100% not in the film, but based upon the earlier marketing materials (photos, trailers, tv spots) it is something that you might go into the film expecting to see. More below the jump...
Back in February, just ahead of the 115th North American International Toy Fair, Hasbro revealed that they'd become the master licensee for Saban's Power Rangers. Buried in the announcement was something that many missed, but I did not - the potential for Hasbro to acquire the whole franchise. Now that's happened, and today Hasbro and Saban Properties LLC have announced that the companies have signed a definitive agreement for Hasbro to purchase Saban’s Power Rangers and several other entertainment brands, including My Pet Monster, Popples, Julius Jr., Luna Petunia, Treehouse Detectives and others, in a combination of cash and stock valued at $522 million.
Avengers: Infinity War is the biggest superhero spectacle of all-time (see my review), and along with the film comes one of the coolest collections of Marvel merch in recent memory. At the recent #InfinityWarEvent in Los Angeles coinciding with the World Premiere of Marvel Studios' 19th film, I had a chance to take a look at the full line inside a private showroom at Disney Consumer Products & Interactive. But what fun is just looking? Thanks to my partners at Disney, Entertainment Earth, Hasbro and others, The Rock Daughters™ and I have amassed quite a collection. After all, even Thanos is a bit of a collector himself, tough he's more into Infinity Stones than I. Here's a look at some of the coolest items out there!
Distroller USA's Neonate Babies are one of the biggest hits of the past year here at our house. Known as Ksi-Meritos in other parts of the world, these little alien babies could be this generation's Cabbage Patch Kid, and if you follow them at all, you may have already seen just how hard to get they can be. With a full assortment of dolls and accessories available at affordable prices, the limited-edition runs often command high secondary market value, which is why I always tell parents - if you see it and know the kids will want it, buy it now if you can! Launching TODAY (4/27/2018) at 10am Pacific Time, there's a new delivery from the planet of Neonatopia - a limited batch of Nerlie "Koloreenies." They'll be available online via the official site, or at Distroller World retail locations (Houston and San Diego).
This #AlienDay 2018 feature brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Entertainment Earth.
It was last Halloween that Funko dropped the curtain on their first offering of 8-Bit Horror Pops - an assortment of Pop! Vinyl figures that put a retro video game spin on iconic characters like Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) and the Xenomorph from Ridley Scott's ALIEN. As for the latter, the 8-Bit Alien has been issued a couple of times thus far in standard and blood-splattered editions as a complement to a larger line of ALIENS Pop! Vinyl. Now comes the time to add a third variant to the mix with the surprise release of the Entertainment Earth Exclusive "Video Game Deco" 8-Bit Xenomorph. This is the most colorful variation yet, taking inspiration from the famed ALIEN 3 video game with accents of blue and red. The figure is available to pre-order right now (while supplies last), but I've already got one and can give you an exclusive hands-on look right here!
After a surprise announcement and months of hype, Nintendo Labo has finally arrived. This new system links the physical and digital realms of the Nintendo Switch in ways that most would've never imagined, allowing players to "make, play and discover." It's such a unique experience, it's somewhat hard to describe without actually playing it, and I had a chance to do just that during an hour-and-a-half session behind closed doors with Nintendo at the 115th North American International Toy Fair back in February. But there's also a lot to be gained by watching others and seeing what their creations are all about, and for launch Nintendo has teamed-up with a guy that knows a bit about labs... Bill Nye. Check out the video below to see what The Science Guy whips up, then get creative and start sharing your own ideas.
The Toys "R" Us saga continues, and while this week hasn't been as explosive as some in recent months, there has been some activity worth noting. Earlier this week it was reported that the bid for pieces of Toys "R" Us operations in the U.S. and Canada by MGA Entertainment's Isaac Larian has been rejected for "not meeting the threshold" - a statement that left many to question what exactly that threshold would be. For Canada, we now have a number, and it came via a filing of notice for a stalking horse bidder. Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has entered into an agreement to buy the Canadian operations for $300M in Canadian dollars - equivalent to about $237M US. Larian's bid for Canadian stores was $215M.
For the past few years, Mattel's American Girl subsidiary has been running into problems. Sales have been dropping by the double-digits as habits change (damn the devices!) and other companies' 18" dolls have started to catch up to them in terms of quality but at a lower price. Add in another unfortunate set of moves that were tied to the failing Toys "R" Us (TRU), and those problems have snowballed quickly. The launch of the lower-priced, 15" Wellie Wishers line never took off in the way that everyone hoped, and those dolls and their accessories were shipped heavily to TRU. Pair that with fact that about a year and a half ago (October 2016), American Girl opened store-within-a-store pop-up concepts in 97 Toys "R" Us locations, and that's an issue. Mattel is owed over $135M in the Toys "R" Us bankruptcy that they'll likely never see and the fallout has begun. They recently announced the closing of their New York City office (100 jobs lost), and today comes news that hits close to home - they're shutting down American Girl operations in Wilmot, Wisconsin, and The Mattel Toy Store is going along with it.