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Hulk and Elmo Re-enter Arena for '08


“Licensed toys represented 27 percent of total industry sales in 2007,” according to the NPD Group, and significant new launches at Toy Fair 2008 support a continuing interest in licensed play. Various cartoons, books and especially movies are fueling the addition of characters and play sets along many brand lines this year. “License! Global” magazine revealed in its April 2008 issue that among the top-100 licensing companies, Disney ranks No. 1, Marvel Entertainment comes in 5th place, Nickelodeon takes 6th and Mattel falls in at 16th.

Lutz Muller, who tracks competitive intelligence in the toy and video game markets, predicted in the April 2008 TDmonthly Magazine article “Which Movies Will Win?” that “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” will beat out other license-heavy flicks, such as “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Iron Man” when it comes to toy sales. In addition to LEGO’s “Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars” and “Speed Racer” licenses, here’s a sampling of some of the hottest properties that made their mark at Toy Fair:




Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Interactive
Plush
Robotics



Suitable for ages 18 months and up, Elmo Live sings, dances and speaks. It can even be programmed to repeat a child’s name. “For the first time ever, Elmo seems to actually be speaking as his mouth opens and closes just like he does on 'Sesame Street,' while he gestures with his arms, sits, stands and even crosses his legs ... all the while telling stories and jokes, singing songs and playing games,” Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing for Fisher-Price Friends, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17778      (added 2/27/2008)
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MSRP: $14.95
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: February 2008
Gender: Boys
Category: Action Figures
General Games
Collectibles



Bakugan is a strategic card game played with magnetic, spring-loaded marbles that transform into robots. The game spawned an animated series on Cartoon Network, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, which debuted on February 24, 2008, according to Wikipedia. Launch date: February 2008.
— Barbara Vininsky, owner of Blossom & Harry in Montreal, Canada, said in early 2008 that this is her hottest item by far: "It's out of control; I've never seen anything like it." Boys 6 to 9 are snatching it up as fast as she can order, even though her store specializes in clothing and she rarely has hot toys for boys.
— Two of 63 retailers named Bakugan when asked about their overall best-selling toy in September 2008. Tim Hayes, owner of Learning Express in Sudbury, Mass., told TDmonthly in November 2008 that his store sells 500 to 600 units of Bakugan monthly. “We’ve been very fortunate in having shipments,” he said.
— David Marks, owner of Learning Express of Westport in Westport, Conn., lauded Bakugan for its wide range of appeal. "I've been in this business for 13 years and I've never seen a product appeal to kids as young as 5 and as old as 13," he told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18227      (added 4/3/2008)
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This “Speed Racer” vehicle comes with a 5” action figure and is designed to battle — once the spoiler is pulled up — with lights, sounds and spring-loaded missiles.
— Phil Wrzensinki, owner and manager of Toy House and Baby Too in Jackson, Miss., told TDmonthly in April 2008 that Speed Racer items by Mattel are among his best-selling licensed items.
— Two of 50 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in April 2008 named licensed products by Mattel as best-sellers in the licensed toys department.
— Speed Racer is an English adaptation of a Japanese anime series.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18530      (added 4/22/2008)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: May 2008
Gender: Boys
Category: Licensed Products



This role-playing toy was created to coincide with the release of Marvel Studios’ “The Incredible Hulk.” Kids activate sound effects by smashing and bashing these super-sized, electronic gloves. Launch date: May 3, 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18531      (added 4/22/2008)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: September 2008
Gender: Boys
Category: Licensed Products
Action Figures
Remote Controlled



This remote-controlled Spider-Man uses vacuum-pump technology to move up and down walls. The toy comes with an infrared controller that children or adults simply wear on their wrist to tell Spidey where to go. Launch date: Fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18532      (added 4/22/2008)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: September 2008
Gender: Boys
Category: Licensed Products
Action Figures
Remote Controlled



Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, utilizes Auto-Spin Conversion Technology to transform from vehicle to robot. He features a mouth that moves as well as sounds and speech from the Transformers cartoon. The product comes with a toy replica of the double-bladed power axe shown in the animated series. Launch date: Fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18533      (added 4/22/2008)
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MSRP: $49.99
Age Range: 6 and up
Launch Date: October 2008
Gender: Girls
Category: Dolls
Licensed Products



This interactive doll performs more than 16 pre-programmed dance moves on her concert control base, and girls can also make their own moves for her with the base controls. She sings her hit songs "We Got the Party" and "Life's What You Make It," and stands on a stage that lights up. The doll comes with a second outfit, a headset and a guitar. Hannah Montana was named Property of the Year at the 2008 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards put on by the Toy Industry Association. Launch date: October 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18536      (added 4/22/2008)
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MSRP: $179.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Launch Date: September 2008
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Licensed Products
Play Sets



This life-sized Golden Retriever puppy features voice-recognition technology that allows kids to interact with the dog, telling it, for example, to “Lie down” or “Give me a paw.” When touched, sensors on the puppy’s head make his tail wag; he can also bark and move his eyes and ears. The toy comes with a comb and dog bone, and requires six D batteries (not included). Launch date: Fall 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18534      (added 4/22/2008)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Launch Date: May 2008
Gender: Boys
Category: Licensed Products
Action Figures



This Iron Man action figure wears the Mark III suit of armor. Launch date: May 23, 2008.
— Iron Man action figures are “out the door,” Robert Tracy, owner of Fun-n-Games in Springfield, Mo., toldTDmonthly in May 2008.
— Marianne Kearns of Second Star to the Right in Bridgehampton, N.Y., named Hasbro action figures as best-sellers in her store.
— The “Iron Man” movie grossed over $104 million opening weekend.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18535      (added 4/22/2008)
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Julie L. JonesWriter's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author

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