aNb Media News, April 11, 2018

Amazon Veep to Keynote Licensing Expo 2018

Nicholas Denissen, vice-president of Amazon, will lead the opening keynote address at Licensing Expo in the panel session Great Expectations: Pace, Selection, Convenience and the Customer.

The panel discussion will center on how brands can grow their business online and what Merch by Amazon is doing to enable them. The keynote session will be held on Tuesday, May 22, 8–9 a.m., and will mark the start of Licensing Expo, which takes place May 23–25 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The annual licensing event is sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), and is owned and organized by UBM Americas.

Product for ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Revealed

With the film premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story set for May 25, Lucasfilm unveiled product collections inspired by the latest Star Wars film. The cross-category assortment spans action figures, roleplay products, apparel and more drawing inspiration from the upcoming movie, with comic and book titles launching in May.

Retailers in the U.S. including Amazon, Walmart, and are hosting pre-orders for select toys, with additional product available at mass retailers, Disney store, and Disney Parks starting on April 13 and rolling out through May.

Available toys from the pre-sale include:

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story 3.75-inch Kessel Run Millennium Falcon vehicle by Hasbro ($99.99)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story Han Solo Landspeeder Vehicle by Hasbro ($29.99)
  • Star Wars: The Black Series 6-inch Han Solo figure by Hasbro ($19.99)
  • Star Wars: The Black Series 6-inch Lando Calrissian figure by Hasbro ($19.99)
  • Star Wars: The Black Series 6-inch Qi’ra figure by Hasbro ($19.99 – Available April 13)
  • Star Wars: The Black Series 6-inch Range Trooper figure by Hasbro ($19.99)

Highlights from the new product line available beginning April 13 include:

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story Figure Play Set by Disney store ($14.95)
  • Star Wars Han Solo’s Landspeeder construction set by LEGO ($29.99)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story Bobbleheads in the Pop! style by Funko ($9.99)
  • Hot Wheels Solo: A Star Wars Story Character Cars by Mattel ($3.99)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story Big Figs by Jakks Pacific ($19.99)
  • Star Wars: Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel by Daniel Jose Older (Del Rey) ($28.99)
  • Star Wars: Choose Your Destiny: A Han and Chewie Adventure by Caven Scott, Illus. by Elsa Charretier (Disney-Lucasfilm Press) ($5.99)

Products available at Disney Parks and beginning April 20 include:

  • Droid Factory Four-Pack Set ($29.99)
  • Disney Pins and Trading Accessories ($9.99-$29.99)
  • Retail MagicBand 2 ($22.99-$32.99)
  • A Galaxy of Apparel for the Whole Family ($19.99-$59.99)

Additional Solo: A Star Wars Story product information and photos can be found HERE.

Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on May 25, 2018.

Nickelodeon Greenlights New Series, ‘The Covurts’

Nickelodeon announced the new live action series The Covurts (working title), the first original co-production between Nickelodeon International and Israeli Nutz Productions, the subsidiary production arm of Ananey Communications Group, together with Israeli cable network HOT.

The Covurts focuses on Mr. and Mrs. Covurt, highly trained secret agents tasked with fighting an evil international organization. Little do they know that it is actually their three kids—Hadrian, Mackenzie and Watts—who are really the agency’s biggest asset against crime.

Nickelodeon has ordered 40 x 22-minute episodes, which will be distributed to Nickelodeon’s international audiences spanning 170-plus countries and territories via the brand’s more than 100 channels and branded blocks.

The Covurts was created by Tom Riles, David Guest and Patrick Quinn. The head writer is Israeli screenwriter Michal Cooper Keren, the creator of Nickelodeon Israel’s Spell Keepers. The series is an original co-production between Nickelodeon International, Nutz Productions and Ananey Communications Group.

The series entered pre-production, will film in Israel, and will begin premiering internationally in 2019.

Ananey is an Israeli content producer and pay-TV provider that serves as the Israeli licensor of several of Viacom’s biggest brands, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV, and produces both local and international original content.

The greenlight of The Covurts comes on the heels of Viacom purchasing a minority stake in Ananey Communications Group in 2017. The announcement was made at MIPTV.

eOne Acquires Whizz Kid Entertainment

Entertainment One (eOne) has acquired a majority stake in UK non-scripted television production company Whizz Kid Entertainment, led by founder Malcolm Gerrie and Lisa Chapman.

This marks eOne’s first UK-based television production company acquisition, broadening its Family and Brands business, with marquee property Peppa Pig, as well as film, scripted television and international distribution operations.

The transatlantic non-scripted foothold is expected to build on the momentum of Ex on the Beach, the popular Whizz Kid format currently being adapted by eOne for MTV in the U.S., with additional U.S. adaptations of Whizz Kid formats, while reciprocally bringing eOne’s U.S. non-scripted slate to the UK market.

Established in 2006, Whizz Kid’s non-scripted brands include Ex on the Beach (9 seasons), Let’s Dance for BBC 1 (5 seasons) and the Life on Screen specials for BBC2 (co-produced with BAFTA). The company is also a live event specialist producing the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) and numerous live events —a growing area of focus for eOne. Whizz Kid has long-standing relationships with key broadcasters in the UK including BBC, Sky, Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5, which will reinforce partnership potential across all genres and support eOne’s scripted development efforts in the UK.

Whizz Kid will operate under its own banner and brand and continue to be led by Gerrie and Chapman, who will report to eOne’s Tara Long, executive vice-president of Alternative,Television. The rest of the senior team remains in place and will continue to focus on the development of original non-scripted entertainment programming with international appeal.

eOne and Whizz Kid were brought together by WME. Whizz Kid was represented in the deal by ACF.

Squishmallows Expands with New Baby Line

Kellytoy expands Squishmallows  with the introduction of the new Squishmallows Baby line.

The new Squishmallows Baby line will be available in nine styles—including owls, lambs, bunnies, a chick, elephant and unicorn. Featuring soft pastel colors, the line will be available in two sizes: small (eight-inch) and medium (12-inch). The eight-inch size makes a rattle sound when dropped or shaken.