Real Deal

Bruce Lee Enterprises Signs Round 5 as Master Toy Licensee

Round 5 announced that it has been named as the master toy, roleplay, and games licensee for products created under the Bruce Lee banner. This agreement gives Round 5 the global rights to create Bruce Lee-themed collectibles, toys, and games until 2015.

Shannon Lee, president & CEO of Bruce Lee Enterprises and daughter of Bruce Lee, says, “We are constantly approached by companies that want to create products under the Bruce Lee name, but we always knew we wanted to wait until we found a company that would adequately compliment my father’s legacy,” she said.

Product development for Bruce Lee collectibles, toys, and games will begin immediately, and are expected to be available for purchase in fall 2011.

Along with the global licensing rights for Bruce Lee collectibles, toys, and games, Round 5 holds the license for Ultimate Fighting Championship collectibles.

IDW Brings TMNT Back to Comic Roots

IDW Publishing and Nickelodeon announced that the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic series is expected to premiere in August 2011. It will be lead by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and co-writer Tom Waltz (Silent Hill: Past Life, Infestation: Outbreak). New-comer Dan Duncan will bring the Turtles to life with dynamic interior art, while Sam Kieth and Walter Simonson provide covers for issues one and two, respectively. Eastman will also provide layouts for Duncan’s art, as well as variant covers.

The first story arc will tell the origin story of the Turtles and introduce a new villain, the fearsome mutant alley cat, Old Hob.

IDW and Nickelodeon have a long-term partnership to offer an all-new installment of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and graphic novels.

Power Rangers to Air in Brazil

MarVista Entertainment announced that it has licensed television rights to Power Rangers Samurai to Brazil’s Grupo Banderiantes de Comunicação for its national free-to-air television channel.

The agreement, which includes all 40 new episodes of Power Rangers Samurai, together with select classic Power Rangers episodes, was brokered by SNAP TV of Argentina, which is MarVista’s production and distribution partner for Latin America. Power Rangers Samurai will air on Rede Bandeirantes, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

This new agreement follows a recent multi-territory deal with Nickelodeon for Germany, the Benelux, the UK and Ireland, pan Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, previous agreements have been signed with France’s Lagardère Active for its Canal J and Gulli channels; Mexico’s Grupo Televisa; and Canada’s Corus for its YTV, Nickelodeon Canada and Teletoon channels. In the U.S., Power Rangers Samurai, airs on Nickelodeon.

Kids Preferred, University Games Sign on for The Gruffalo

The Sharpe Company, licensing agent for the children’s picture book and Oscar-nominated animated TV special, The Gruffalo, signed Kids Preferred as the plush licensee for North America. Sharpe has also signed University Games to create The Gruffalo games/puzzles.

The Gruffalo, which is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, has sold over five million copies worldwide. The Gruffalo animated special, which was recently nominated for a 2010 Academy Award in the Short Film (animated) category, features the voices of Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tom Wilkinson. It will be released on DVD in the U.S. by NCircle Entertainment in August and in Canada by Phase 4 Films, Inc., in September.

Jakks Pets Signs Kong

Jakks Pacific, Inc., announced that its Jakks Pets division has signed an agreement with the Kong Company LLC, a privately-held leader in pet toys, to create a line of pet treats and chews for the Kong brand, one of the most recognized brands in the pet industry.

Jakks Pets division will develop and market a line of premium Kong-branded pet treats and chews that are made from all-natural ingredients and contain no wheat, corn, soy, or animal by-products. The line, expected to launch in the fall in pet specialty retailers, will all be made in the U.S.