Friday, January 25, 2013

Toy Fair 2013 : New Licenses for New Toys

Once a year I used to have the pleasure of dropping in on the New York Licensing Show to get a look at art for new projects, see what older movies the companies were pushing for new product and sometimes, if we were lucky, see actual toys set to hit shelves in the future. That show moved to a shmoozier location in Las Vegas, so now I am left to beg for images from people who get to attend. At UK Toy Fair, the show is primarily like a smaller version of the US counterpart with rows of new product available for order to shops large and small, but that doesn't mean companies can't tempt those manufacturers showing off their wares with the possibilities of licenses for films they love.

...And with that opening teaser, we present two advertisements that reveal..well..not much...but spark a fire collectors love to poke at and watch grow into reality. It's Possibility. Today's licensing offerings are tomorrows new action figures on the pegs!

So here we see Sony pushing what we'll assume they believe to be their heavy hitters for the year which include City of Bones, Cloudy 2 (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs AKA the best name for a movie ever): Revenge of the Leftovers, After Earth, Smurfs 2, Robocop and Ghostbusters. That last one is the most exciting for me as i'm a huge fan. With Mattel wrapping up their direct to consumers toy line, perhaps it will be time for someone else to jump in there and make all those fantastic monsters they would barely touch upon and more importantly, give us a newly sculpted GB crew with individual bodies so they don't all look like the same guy with a new head. NECA would probably love a chance to get back into that game, having nade GB figures in the past but never offered the opportunity to tackle the humans! Jakks released a horde of product for the first Smurfs movie and while we saw rows of this merch on clearance at Toys R Us, I don't see a reason why they wouldn't dive in again. Back to NECA again, who may still hold the license for the original Robocop, so it stands to reason they'd get first dibs on the new film.

City of Bones was a license I didn't know anything about, so I went agoogling. Want to see the trailer?

With Harry Potter done and Twilight wrapped up, only Hunger Games remains as a source for unending merchadising and tween love. NECA has that license wrapped up, so City of Bones could be that next big thing companies are looking for. Knowing how cautious they usually are, especially now when the economy is in the crapper, they might shy away until they have stronger numbers supporting a full push..sort of like what happened when Twilight first came on the scene. NO ONE in the industry really knew what it was and those who took the plunge are happier today for it! This one might be too risky though, and the subject matter being so adult doesn't leave room for many companies ..but this could be another job for NECA.

After Earth is a new Will Smith and son Scifi epic that's got people buzzing. To get you up to speed...

This one seems like it leaves room for some of the more kid friendly companies like Jakks, The Bridge Direct and Spinmaster to take a bite, but it seems like a one shot movie and therefore a risky proposition. You'll recall I Am Legend had all that hype behind it and still..not one toy. They just don't make toys for every big geek-friendly movie anymore! Only time will tell on this one.

I also wanted to take a look at this Alico Licensing advert which, while handling the works for the Swedish territories, can give you a look into what the companies may be pushing in the states as well. So far we know Hasbro has a Kre-O building toy license for the new Star Trek film with some classic Trek mixed in and Playmates did the honors for the first Trek film, so maybe they'll be at it again? Strawberry Shortcake has been popping in and out of the public eye for some time, so it might be time for a comeback there. The most intriguing bits for me lie with Epic, World War Z and The Simpsons. This year, Jazwares came from out of nowhere and gobbled up the entire Hanna Barbera and Nick Toons stables, shifting peg after peg of merchandise to Toys R Us based on older cartoons kids may not be familiar with anymore along side Cartoon Network juggernauts like Adventure Time and The Regular Show. Their gamble appears to be working in most areas as the toys I see aren't gathering much dust! The Simpsons could be right in their sweet spot now and they seem like the crew to do it right. I could also see them doing justice to Epic, but that seems like a film with a limited line behind it, so a company like Thinkway or Toyquest (the folks behind the Megamind toy line) could be the right fit. World War Z may be a title a company would like to pick up just for name recognition...sort of like the movie company did. Zing. Zombies are still mega popular and a line called World War Z filled with zombies and hopelessly outnumbered zombie fighters offers the opportunity to go head to head with McFarlane's popular Walking Dead line and grab a piece of that fat money cake. Since NECA lost out on the Walking Dead opportunity (and we are still moaning over that loss), they may be pouncing on this one. Who does horror better than NECA? NO ONE. As for epics aren't usually something they make toys for. Could you imagine Last Temptation of Christ action figures languishing on the pegs at your local TRU?

There's a ton more from UK Toy Fair to sift through so sit tight and check back often!


  1. There are so many incorrect statements in this narrative that I don't know where to begin.

  2. Perhaps I was too dramatic in my initial comment, but allow me to explain my points of contention. First off, NECA has stated they have no interest in the Robocop remake on several occasions. They have also confirmed that they are not doing any more Ghostbusters toys. Lastly, NECA never had any interest in the Walking Dead figures and this has also been discussed by the company ad nauseam.

    1. Welp, having talked to NECA for years, I can tell you that when they showed off the Walking Dead busts, I mentioned that it sucked they didn't get the figure license as I moaned over the oncoming 5 inch McFarlane line. Whomever I talked to at the time agreed that it did suck, but it is what it is. I also sat in a room at San Diego Comic Con where someone from NECA, on a panel, said something to the effect of "Mattel are just rehashing bodies with new heads on characters that have very different body types. We wouldn't have done that." That to me sounded like someone who would love another crack at it, if not just to show the world what this like should look like. Now...all of my statements are based on old remembrances. I have no idea how new yours are, but I will assume you are up to date with all that is awesome with NECA. Go you. Feelings change..statements change..and all that matters is now. Glad you are having a great time following a great company. I know we are!

      P.S. I love Doritos.

  3. NECA got the After Earth License