TOMS feels the force with STAR WARS line

Environmentally-friendly shoe line TOMS has announced plans to launch a Star Wars-themed collection ahead of the upcoming film premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, due out in December, reportsWWD.

The line will include slip-ons and sneakers that are inspired by the original Star Wars trilogy. Each of the three pairs in the collection will consist of artwork sketches from the first three films. TOMS plans to launch the line in July with items priced from $34.95 to $94.95.

“The Star Wars and TOMS partnership ignites a truly unique and iconic collection founded on originality,” says Nate Photavath, men’s senior footwear designer, TOMS. “When designing the collection, we focused on details and authenticity by using original artwork from the original trilogy, but we also added a TOMS twist by adding interesting design elements that Star Wars fans will notice throughout the collection.”

TOMS’ new Star Wears footwear is not the first time the brand has collaborated with pop culture icons. Earlier this year, the company launched a 17-piece “Sesame Street” collection of shoes for women, kids and toddlers.


Hasbro unleashes Transformers Prime apparel

Hasbro has partnered with for a line of licensed apparel with classic Transformers designs.

The apparel features Japanese Kana script and classic cartoon character designs. T-shirts in the line include depictions of both Transformers heroes and villains.

“We are thrilled to be working with Zavvi, the ultimate fan destination, to launch this fantastic collection of retro t-shirts,” says Nikki Gie, director, U.K. consumer products, Hasbro, speaking to TnP Media. “This exciting collaboration comes as the iconic Transformers brand celebrates its 35th year and is the ideal gift for fans ahead of the Bumblebee DVD release in May.”


Licensing Expo 2019

Industry set to return to Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Convention Center from June 4-6.

This year sees Licensing Expo make the move back to a June time slot – with the show itself taking place from June 4-6 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

As in previous years, Licensing Week activity will be taking place around the main show, offering additional educational and networking events. Simply click on this link to view the current schedule.

Meanwhile, the LIMA International Licensing Awards will take place after the first day of the show (Tuesday June 4), while the Global Licensing Group Party has switched to day two (Wednesday June 5) and will be held at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor.

For full details on Licensing Expo – and to register to attend – simply click on this link.


Zynga Expects Bulk of Revenue from Licensed Titles in 2020

While Zynga has “soft” launched a “Game of Thrones” (GoT) social slot machine mobile game in Mexico and Thailand, new licensed titles aren’t expected to be “major contributor” to revenue until 2020, company executives told analysts in releasing Q1 earnings.

GoT, which became available for download in April, is the first of a trio of properties (with Star Wars and Harry Potter) for which Zynga signed licenses last fall. The Harry Potter title is expected to be available this fall.

The big licenses were a major departure for Zynga, which previously largely developed its own IP. The lone exception has been the company’s CSR Racing game which includes auto brands such as Mercedes Benz and Alpha Romeo and was acquired as part of Zynga’s acquisition of game developer NaturalMotion in 2014.

The release in April of GoT’s final season on HBO “was an opportunity for us and will create marketing platforms, new channels and new ways to market the games that you don’t traditionally find with some other go-to-market strategies on the games” that Zynga owns, said CEO Frank Gibeau. With the three licensed games “our goal is to maximize their fandom and their audiences” and “build new forever franchises.”

Zynga registered a $128.8 million net loss in Q1 ended March 31, compared to a $6 million profit a year earlier, due largely to the recently acquired Empire and Puzzles and MergeDragons! mobile games. Revenue from the two titles exceeded projections, adding $86 million in additional payments to the price of the 2018 acquisitions of Small Giant Games and Gram Games. Revenue rose 35% to $265 million.

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Funko unveils New Avengers Endgame merch

Funko has launched a new line of Avengers: Endgame-inspired Pop! figures based on the recently released Marvel hit.

The new line includes figurines of Thor holding Stormbreaker and Mjolnir (available as an FYE exclusive), Thor in sunglasses and sandals and a 6” shiny chromed Hulk figure wearing the Infinity Gauntlet.

Funko’s line comes following a successful opening week for the next chapter in Marvel’s film opus. The movie passed the $400 million domestic release benchmark in its first week, according to Box Office Mojo. Its successful early run made it the highest-grossing opening week of all time.

The success of the Avengers: Endgame came with other licensing partnerships with brands including Build-A-Bear and Torrid.



Peanuts Deal for Apple Streaming Service ‘Doubled’ Brand’s Value, DHX Says

Peanuts Worldwide’s content deal for Apple’s new streaming service “doubled” the brand’s value, with licensing and consumer products among the major beneficiaries, DHX VP David Regan said today at the ThinkEquity investor conference in New York.

Under the agreement, DHX will work with Apple to produce new Peanuts series and specials for a service that is expected to launch later this year. DHX acquired a majority stake in Peanuts Worldwide, along with Strawberry Shortcake, from Iconix Brand Group in 2017 for $345 million.

The Apple agreement is “going to give that brand incredible exposure and that is great and we will do well off the production in our studio. But it is licensing and merchandising downstream that will benefit most and is the highest margin business,” Regan said. Peanuts has 1,100 licensees and while it has strong presence in the U.S. and Japan, it is “under-penetrated” in other regions of the world, Regan said.

The new Peanuts content, along new Strawberry Shortcake programming for which DHX is seeking a “premier partner,” is part of the company’s shift to being a “royalty collection and brand management” company within five years that “leverages production to grow brands,” Regan said. DHX also expects to be able to double the value of Strawberry Shortcake IP.

As part of the new strategy, DHX is shifting its focus toward striking deals for “premium” streaming content (with a $1 million production cost for a 30-minute episode) and away from “mid-market” ($350,000 per episode cost) cable TV shows, Regan said.

With larger production budgets, DHX can hire “better creative” and develop content “that has more chance of resonating with kids and therefore a greater chance of developing large merchandising and licensing streams afterwards,” Regan said.

DHX retains content rights, which helps to build a program library that can be continually leveraged for new programing and merchandise, said Regan, noting DHX’s ownership of Mega Man, Inspector Gadget, Teletubbies and others.


Mattel, Pixar expand deal to infinity and beyond

Mattel has expanded its global licensing agreement with Disney to span new titles and to develop new toys inspired by characters from Pixar Animation Studios’ film properties.

The new deal will provide Mattel with international rights for CocoFinding NemoMonstersInc., the Toy Story franchise, The Incredibles and Pixar’s 2020 release Onward. Mattel’s licensing rights expand to North America, Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. It includes a wide variety of products such as action figures, miniatures, plush, and playsets, available early 2020.

“Pixar is a legendary animation studio renowned for creating some of the most iconic and diverse sets of characters,” says Janet Hsu, chief franchise management officer, Mattel. “We look forward to bringing these characters to children of all ages so they can create their own adventures and stories through play.”

Disney’s deal with Mattel continues the companies’ long-standing partnership. Mattel has developed licensed Pixar products internationally dating back to the earliest iterations of the Cars and Toy Story franchises.


Silver Screen sips Step Brothers vodka

Silver Screen Bottling Co. has launched “Quality Vodka from Prestige Worldwide,” a nod to the 2008 Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly film Step Brothers.

The film follows the hijinks of two incompetent adults whose lives interconnect when their parents get married and who are forced to find their own place to live. In the film, the duo makes an investment pitch to their family for a company called “Prestige Worldwide” as a last-ditch effort to earn an income.

Inspired by the fictional company, Silver Screen’s new vodka has a label featuring the Prestige Worldwide logo. The Prestige vodka deal follows previous Silver Screen collaborations with pop culture brands such as “Star Trek,” Death Row Records and YouTube series “Cobra Kai.”