Being as into Pop Culture as I am, I love when Licensing Expo rolls around – the annual peek at what the biggest media powerhouses are rolling out to offer companies for new and innovative products in the year ahead. When I mention “powerhouses,” few are as big as Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), and this year they’re rolling into Licensing Expo 2014 with the big guns out – celebrating the 75th Anniversaries of BATMAN and THE WIZARD OF OZ, the success of GODZILLA, the finale to THE HOBBIT Trilogy, and favorites like SCOOBY-DOO, LOONEY TUNES, TOM AND JERRY, HARRY POTTER, SUPERNATURAL and more. Here’s a full taste of what’s on-deck from WBCP…
The Hobbit Journeys to Epic Finale
WBCP’s global partners are thrilling fans as they eagerly await the highly anticipated finale of The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (December 2014), productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson. With support from co-master toy partners The Bridge Direct and Vivid Group, along with The LEGO Group, WETA Workshop, Rubie’s Costumes, United Cutlery, Noble Collection, NECA, Ravensberger, the New Zealand Post, HarperCollins Publishers, Bioworld, Black Milk Clothing and many more, the enduringly popular film series continues to delight generations of fans.
DC Comics Takes Super Heroes to New Heights
From classic to cool, the DC Comics vault of Super Heroes and Super-Villains are some of the most recognized characters in pop culture, bringing together world-class partners and promotions to cater to both casual and die-hard fans. Perennial partners such as Mattel, The LEGO Group, Rubie’s Costumes, Fisher-Price, Thinkway Toys, Schleich, Sideshow Collectibles, Kotobukiya, Hot Toys, Bioworld, Junk Food, Under Armour, Havaianas, Hallmark, Capstone, and more, are joined by new members of the DC Comics licensing portfolio including Zak, SingPost, Hendrick Motorsports, Puma/DC Comics and DC Comics/Hello Kitty co-branding collaborations in Europe, and ongoing expansions of DC Comics Super Hero Stores throughout Southeast Asia, with exciting new partnerships that enhance fan offerings around the world. Additional brand offerings, including 2016’s highly anticipated film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. Animation’s (WBA) hilariously cool Cartoon Network series Teen Titans Go! and the fresh take on iconic comic book heroes with DC Comics – The New 52 series, continue the reach of the DC Comics Super Heroes in pop-culture spheres across all demographics.
The Caped Crusader Turns 75
Batman celebrates his 75th Anniversary in 2014 and over the years the Caped Crusader has proven that he never stops fighting for justice, and never stops drawing fans of all ages into the aisles. WBCP is building on the longstanding success of the DC Comics property by working with a host of licensing partners around the world including Mattel, The LEGO Group, Rubie’s Costumes, Eaglemoss, Hallmark, Sideshow Collectibles, Bioworld and many more, to create core product that will delight fans of the iconic Dark Knight through 2014 and beyond.
Driving its core Batman business, WBCP and Mattel continue to maintain the momentum for the ultimate Super Hero with its evergreen Batman line that has come to life in toys and at retail. Together, WBCP and Fisher-Price® also continue to bring Batman to the next generation of preschoolers with their Imaginext® DC Super Friends toy line, which is a huge hit in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Spain, is launching in Germany this year, and continues to expand across Europe and globally.
From the 1960’s Batman Classic TV Series coming to home entertainment from Warner Home Entertainment Group later this year to next year’s much-anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Rocksteady Studios, the Batman brand continues to evolve as the Studio’s content grows and WBCP continues to offer licensees the ability to create exciting programs for Batman fans around the world.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road to The Wizard of Oz
Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, The Wizard of Oz has attracted a number of licensing partners eager to honor the beloved property’s major milestone, including Tonner Doll, Madame Alexander, Mattel, Rubie’s Costumes, Tervis, Darice, Royal Chain, Enesco and Dylan’s Candy Bar – which recently collaborated with WBCP to earn the Guinness World Record for the largest candy sculpture – among many other licensees. In support of this landmark year, Warner Bros. has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity on “There’s No Place Like Home,” a year-long national campaign celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the classic film, The Wizard of Oz. The campaign combines fundraising and volunteer efforts to support Habitat’s vision of a world where every family has a decent, safe and affordable place to call home.
Frankly My Dear: A Milestone Anniversary for Gone with the Wind
Iconic classic Gone with the Wind marks its own milestone 75th Anniversary this year with striking products worthy of the epic saga. Longstanding partner Madame Alexander, which has produced Gone with the Wind-inspired products almost as long as the film’s anniversary, is joined by licensing partners Tonner Doll, Mattel, Enesco, Adora, Jacmel and Museum Replica and more.
All Aboard ThePolar Express
As the film adaptation of the holiday classic The Polar Express celebrates its 10th Anniversary, WBCP is expanding on its already successful partnerships with its licensees such as Rail Events and Lionel to bring fans more ways to celebrate the holiday classic.
TV Properties Continue to Win Over Audiences
Network television’s most-watched comedy among Total Viewers and #1 entertainment series among Adults 18–49, Warner Bros. Television’s (WBTV) The Big Bang Theory continues to attract a variety of licensees after being renewed through the 2016-2017 season. Licensing partners with new product leading into this year’s Licensing Expo include fan-favorites Tonner Doll, USAopoly, Ripple Junction, Funko, Hallmark, Cardinal Industries, Inc., Buckle Down, Quantum Mechanix, Bif Bang Pow! and many others.
Additional WBCP partnerships bring fans closer to their favorite WBTV hits with TV licensing programs and niche product lines for such series as Arrow (based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow and ranking as The CW’s #1 series among Total Viewers), Supernatural, Dallas,Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries and The Voice, and new opportunities offered with the upcoming television series The Flash, Gotham, Constantine, iZOMBIE, Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Leftovers and more. Classic television properties and perennial hits such as Friends, celebrating the 20th anniversary of its debut this year, and Seinfeld continue to be supported by ongoing merchandise programs and are among the league of globally recognized properties that WBCP offers in its television licensing entertainment portfolio.
Classic Toons with a 21st Century Twist
Timeless characters will be given new life as Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) produces new shows based upon beloved animated properties the Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo. From the Looney Tunes antics, the hilarious, heroic and mischievous Bugs Bunny everyone loves is back in Wabbit – A Looney Tunes Production, an all-new series featuring comedic shorts which will be a new offering in WBCP’s portfolio. Meanwhile, the Looney Tunes core brand remains as popular as ever with licensees, including U.S. master toy partner The Bridge Direct, global partner Rubie’s Costumes and many more. The classic characters also offer exciting co-branding opportunities and licensing programs such as the recently announced Looney Tunes/NBA partnership in the EMEA region.
Scooby-Doo and the Gang are revving up the Mystery Machine in the upcoming, all-new animated comedy series Be Cool Scooby-Doo! WBCP will continue to offer licensing opportunities for the Scooby-Doo brand and returning partners including global master toy licensee Character Group, Rubie’s Costumes, Scholastic, Hallmark and Pressman Toy, among others.
The famous frenemies Tom and Jerry continue to be classic favorites as the iconic cat and mouse rivals return in The Tom and Jerry Show, a fresh new take on the original series. Additionally, the classic Hanna-Barbera property continues to be supported by WBCP licensees including master toy partner Jazwares in North America, Giochi Preziosi in Western Europe and Turkey, as well as Parle in India, and Rubie’s Costumes, among many more around the world.
The Magic of Global Themed Entertainment
From the most recognizable themed environments and attractions to thrilling rides and live stage shows, WBCP’s global themed entertainment continues to expand, adding a new dimension to the Warner Bros. experience as WBCP properties enjoy a strong presence at theme parks, international cultural venues and live stages around the world.
Building on the global phenomenon of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment invite Harry Potter fans from around the world to visit the expansion of historic proportion with the entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Opening this summer, the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both Universal Orlando theme parks and allows Universal’s creative team to bring an unparalleled vision to this unique project. The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand-new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world. In addition, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is exciting fans as they await the opening of the themed land at Universal Studios Japan on July 15, 2014, and at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016.
Harry Potter: The Exhibition, currently exhibiting in Sweden and with more stops planned for 2014 and beyond, continues to bring the Harry Potter experience to fans globally with a state-of-the-art interactive, travelling exhibition highlighting artifacts from the Warner Bros. films based on J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series.
WBCP also continues to thrill fans with world-class theme park operators and partners including Six Flags throughout the U.S. and Mexico, Hopi Hari in Brazil, Warner Bros. Movie World Australia and Parque Warner in Spain, among many others, bringing the DC Comics Super Heroes and the Looney Tunes characters to attractions around the globe.
Located at Booth #N133, WBCP is one of the largest exhibitors at this year’s show.