13 properties taking on Licensing Expo 2016

A tight US licensing market isn’t taking the gloss off new properties looking to cut through the clutter in Las Vegas this week.
June 22, 2016

Cirque du Soleil—Luna Petunia (pictured above)

Property owner/Licensor: Saban Brands
Synopsis: Saban Brands and Cirque du Soleil Média have partnered to develop the upcoming original preschool series, Cirque du Soleil—Luna Petunia, which will debut this fall on Netflix. Inspired by the imaginative worlds of Cirque du Soleil, the new series chronicles the adventures of Luna Petunia, a little dreamer who believes in the impossible.
Licensing plans and launch: Toys will lead the program with an expected launch at mass retail in fall 2017.
Current partners: Funrise Toy Corporation has been named global master toy licensee.
Open categories: Top priorities include costumes, publishing, digital games, party goods, seasonal and novelty candy.



Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Property owner/Licensor: Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Synopsis: The theatrical release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on November 18 will mark the latest chapter in J.K. Rowling’s wildly successful Wizarding World franchise. The new adventure, penned by Rowling herself and featuring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, follows Newt Scamander’s magical adventure set in 1920s New York. The film also reunites a number of behind-the-scenes talents who helped establish Harry Potter’s on-screen universe.
Licensing plans and launch: The first phase of products will roll out across all retail tiers in September, with publishing, apparel, accessories and toys leading the way.
Current partners: Scholastic (children’s books), HarperCollins (worldwide publishing) and Insight Editions (merchandise and companion books).
Open categories: Priorities include apparel and accessories, toys, publishing, hardlines, stationery, fine art, costumes, and collectibles like stylized figures and prop replicas.

Voltron - DreamWorks

Voltron: Legendary Defender

Property owner/Licensor: DreamWorks Animation
Synopsis: The new series premieres June 10 on Netflix, featuring five unsuspecting teenagers who are transported from Earth to land smack dab in the middle of a sprawling intergalactic battle. They become pilots in the service of five robotic lions, and their mission is nothing short of protecting the universe from evil.Only through the power of teamwork can they unite to form the mighty warrior known as Voltron.
Licensing plans and launch: The program will primarily focus on boys six to 10, with secondary opportunities for leveraging nostalgic elements of the property that was first introduced to North America in the mid-1980s. The first line of comic books will hit US specialty retail in July, with toys launching in spring 2017.
Current partners: Playmates (master toy) and Lion Forge (comic books).
Open categories: DWA is on the hunt for apparel and interactive partners.




Property owner/Licensor: DreamWorks Animation
Synopsis: From the creators of Shrek comes the irreverent big-screen CGI comedy, Trolls. Opening November 4 in the US, it features the overly optimistic Trolls versus the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomachs. Popstar Justin Timberlake provides the original music and is joined by A-list voice talent including Anna Kendrick, Justin Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Russell Brand and Zooey Deschanel.
Licensing plans and launch: A full-scale, mass-market global program across all tiers of retail is planned. With a decidedly girl skew, products will land at all levels of retail this fall.
Current partners: Hasbro (master toy), Random House Children’s Books (publishing), Hallmark (cards, gift bags, ornaments), Franco Manufacturing (bedding, bath, accessories), Trends International (posters, calendars, stickers), H.I.S. International (sportswear), Editorial Planeta (Spanish-language publishing), Ravensburger (puzzles), Clementoni (pan-European puzzles) and Procos (pan-European party wares).
Open categories: DWA is seeking global partners in secondary categories.



Beauty and the Beast

Property owner/Licensor: Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
Synopsis: Belle, the Beast, Lumière and Gaston are back. This time, in a live-action re-telling of Disney’s blockbuster 1991 animated feature. Set for global release on March 17, 2017, the film stars Emma Watson and Ewan McGregor and will tell that “tale as old as time,” complemented by a slew of original Ashman and Menken songs, as well as several new ones.
Licensing plans and launch: Rolling out in early 2017, the licensing program will target specialty and mass retailers, featuring a cross-category assortment of toys, apparel, home, beauty, accessories, fine art and collectibles.
Current partners: Hasbro (toys), Hot Topic (apparel), Chasing Fireflies (costumes), KIDdesigns (electronics) and Lenox (figurines).
Open categories: Disney will be looking to fill out a comprehensive licensing roster before the release of the film.


Guardians of the Galaxy - Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy

Property owner/Licensor: Marvel/ Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
Synopsis: Building on the success of the first film, Marvel is unveiling a full licensing program with a focus on kids as its primary target and a secondary adult market, ahead of the release of its sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on May 5, 2017.
Licensing plans and launch: Centered on breakout character Groot, the expanded merchandising program will offer a multi-tiered approach with year-round support, skewing younger than the fans of the movie with an appeal to kids six to 11. Toys and apparel will lead the initial product rollout. Games and accessories are expected to follow, with all products due at retail in conjunction with the movie’s global release.
Current partners: Hasbro (toys) is on-board to produce a range of action figures and role-play items, and Lego will contribute new building sets.
Open categories: Marvel is looking to fill out a full licensing roster before the release of the film, with an emphasis on finding complementary apparel and accessories partners.




Property owner/Licensor: Peanuts Worldwide
Synopsis: The program is being driven by a new TV series built on the 500 90-second animated shorts produced by French studio Normaal Animation that were, in turn, based on the nearly 18,000 comic strips drawn by Charles M. Schulz over his 50-year career. The shorts feature the characters Peanuts fans know and love: Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Franklin and the rest of the gang. The new seven-minute episodes will air daily on Boomerang US, as well as occasionally on Cartoon Network. The shorts will also be available on Cartoon Network’s app.
Licensing plans and launch: In conjunction with a series of shorts that will air to celebrate Snoopy’s birthday in August, Just Play (master toy) plans to release its Many Faces toy line featuring beanbag and Flying Ace plush in the specialty tier.
Current partners: Just Play (master toy), Sakar (toys and electronic accessories) and Simon & Schuster (master publishing).
Open categories: Peanuts is building a robust licensing program, with an emphasis on finding partners with global reach.



Ben 10

Property owner/Licensor: Cartoon Network
Synopsis: Cartoon Network is bringing back its mid-2000s hit this October for a new generation. The new animated series will re-introduce energetic, fun-loving 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, along with a number of new and classic characters. The new series follows the titular character, his cousin Gwen and Grandpa Max as they travel the country during summer vacation. When Ben finds the mysterious Omnitrix, a world of alien superpowers opens up to him.
Licensing plans and launch: With a core boys four to 11 focus, a toy-led program is expected to hit mass retail in fall 2017.
Current partners: Playmates Toys (master toy) will anchor the brand’s consumer products program with a full line of figures, playsets and role-play items.
Open categories: Softlines, accessories and other complementary categories.



The Powerpuff Girls

Property owner/Licensor: Cartoon Network
Synopsis: The Powerpuff Girls returned last year with a series that premiered in the US on Cartoon Network. The property is one of CN’s top-grossing brands of all time, with more than US$2.5 billion in retail sales generated since its debut in the late ’90s. For proof of its staying power, look no further than the #powerpuffyourself avatar maker that has led to the creation of more than10 million branded avatars since its early April launch.
Licensing plans and launch: Updated consumer products around the new series are launching this year, with the first batch of toys hitting key markets beginning in the fall. Products are focused on girls and young women, with fashion collaborations, aspirational items and promotional partnerships at Hot Topic and Nordstroms driving the program.
Current partners: There are more than 30 licensing partners already on-board, including Spin Master (master toy), Accessory Innovations (bags), MZ Berger (watches), Komar (girls sleepwear), Sakar International (electronics) and Pressman Toys (games and puzzles).
Open categories: Cartoon Network is looking for additional partners in complementary categories.



Mickey and the Roadster Racers

Property owner/Licensor: Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
Synopsis: The program is based on Mickey and the Roadster Racers, a new madcap racing adventure series for preschoolers featuring Mickey Mouse and his pals Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Daisy and Donald. The Disney Junior series, slated to bow in 2017, takes the Sensational Six and their uniquely personalized vehicles on a humorous race around the globe.
Licensing plans and launch: A diverse collection of products will likely launch in conjunction with the series in 2017, with new items rolling out throughout the year.
Current partners: IMC Toys (figurines) will launch a complete range of collectible articulated figures, playsets and vehicles throughout all EMEA territories.
Open categories: Disney’s looking to fill out a robust licensing program with an emphasis on finding additional partners to reach kids two to seven.


PJMasks Key Art

PJ Masks

Property owner/Licensor: Entertainment One
Synopsis: The preschool superhero series that debuted on Disney Channel and Disney Junior last September follows the adventures of a trio of seven-year-olds: Connor, Amaya and Greg. They attend school like everyone else, but when day turns into night, the heroes put their pyjamas on and activate their animal amulets to magically transform into their superhero alter egos Catboy, Owlette and Gekko.
Licensing plans and launch: The program will be driven by toys and dress-up, publishing and sleepwear, with support from apparel, accessories, footwear, Halloween costumes, stationery, party goods, games, puzzles and creative. Toys will launch in the US this year, and other categories are expected to follow in 2017. Licensing agents have also been appointed in key regions including Australia and New Zealand, Asia and Latin America.
Current partners: Just Play (master toy) plans to introduce a line of action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush, dress-up and role play in the US this fall, which will be distributed internationally by local partners. Expanded retail distribution and additional product categories will follow the initial toy launch.
Open categories: eOne is looking for partners in domestics & home decor, toys and sporting goods, and other seasonal categories.



Miraculous—Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir

Property owner/Licensor: ZAG America
Synopsis: The CGI-animated TV series produced by ZAG, in conjunction with Method Animation, Toei Animation and SAMG, is an action-adventure/comedy aimed at core girls and boys. The Nickelodeon US series follows Marinette, the sweetest girl in Paris—who, by the way, is also the crime-fighting superhero Ladybug.
Licensing plans and launch: Action dolls, toys, fashion and publishing are driving the program. The first toys are scheduled to hit mass-retail shelves in the US in August.
Current partners: Bandai (master toys), Rubies (costumes), Accessory Innovations (accessories), Franco (apparel) and SAKAR (electronics), among others. Licensing agents include TFI (France), SAMG (Korea) and Bulldog (UK).
Open categories: Additional partners are needed in publishing, digital and console games, party goods, footwear, packaged goods, promotions and live shows.



Ice Age: Collision Course

Property owner/Licensor: 20th Century Fox
Synopsis: The fifth big-screen edition of  the mammoth multi-billion-dollar brand will hit theaters in every corner of the globe on July 22. This time, Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into outer space, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age world. Sid, Manny, Diego and the rest of the herd are back and will no doubt help add to the estimated US$2.8-billion worldwide box-office take for the franchise.
Licensing plans and launch: The property will continue its significant presence at Lidl, the world’s second most popular global food retailer (after Walmart). The grocer will launch a range of non-food and food products across its 10,000 stores in 28 countries throughout Europe. Additionally, PepsiCo has been tapped to help create a Cheetos brand extension in which mascot Chester meets Ice Age sub-zero heroes on a fully branded bag and color-changing sticker. The promotion is Pepsi’s biggest movie play of the year, with an estimated 184 million premiums expected.
Current partners: Bonnier Publishing (worldwide master publishing), HeadStart International (master toy), Hallmark (greeting cards), Gipsy (plush) and many more.
Open categories: The franchise still has regional opportunities in a number of major categories, including back-to-school, health & beauty and publishing.



About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com



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