The relationship between studios and toy manufacturers seems to be getting cozier.
In separate deals, Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Galoob have signed an agreement where Galoob will develop all the toys for Fox feature films, while DreamWorks and Hasbro have entered a joint venture to market a product line called DreamWorks Toys.
The Fox deal runs through the year 2000 and excludes Fox Children’s Network programming. The DreamWorks’ line will include games and toys under Hasbro’s Kenner, Playskool, Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers brands developed from future DreamWorks’ film, television and interactive media projects.
Who will play next?
Neil Newman, Viacom’s vice president, consumer products, says that while Viacom isn’t actively negotiating with a specific toy manufacturer, the studio has ‘good relations with and is always conversing with our toy licensees,’ like Galoob, maker of micromachines for its Star Trek line and Tomy, which is currently working on a pre-school line of toys for the show The Busy World of Richard Scarry.
Normally, toy merchandising agreements are done on a project-by-project basis, but Newman says the idea of working more closely with toy manufacturers ‘changes the complexion of the business in a way that provides more options. You’re talking about bringing in a whole different kind of creative talent not traditionally in the toy business, and that’s exciting in terms of how products might evolve.’