Fantastic Four in licensee lockdown mode
Marvel Entertainment has lined up its phase-one merch partners for The Fantastic Four, which is set to debut in theaters on July 1, 2005. This spring will see the rollout of products from more than 25 licensees, including Toy Biz (master toy), Activision (interactive), Mega Bloks (construction toys), Jakks Pacific (plug-and-play games), Jay Franco (domestics), Meredith Books (sound storybooks), Sara Lee (underwear), Disguise (costumes), Spin Master (juvenile furniture), E.S. Originals (footwear) and Sideshow (collectibles). New to the Marvel fold is plush and giftware manufacturer Russ Berrie. Playing into Marvel’s new licensee consolidation strategy, the beanie-maker has signed on as a film licensee and as master licensee for plush and gift items based on Marvel characters including The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and preschool brand Spider-Man and Friends.
Celador International’s monster mash
London’s Celador International has inked a three-year deal with U.K. greeting card publisher The Monster Factory for worldwide consumer product rights and an animation option for Scary Monsters. The greeting card property launched in 2002 and already has U.K. licensees for children’s books (Hodder Headline) and plush and collectibles (Pacemaker UK and Metro Toys) on its roster. Celador will build out the greetings, stationery and gift lines, and new product will roll out in spring 2005. Once these SKUs hit retail, the company will hunt for apparel and interactive partners.
D’awe, gee Davey…
Scholastic is pitching in to help introduce a new generation of kids to classic religious property Davey and Goliath, which originally launched as a stop-motion TV series in the late 1960s. The publisher has forged a licensing agreement with property owner The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to publish two storybooks and two coloring/activity books for kids in spring 2005. The activity SKUs will include value-added features bound into the books; at press time, Scholastic was deciding between an iron-on image, four-color stickers and decorative magnets.