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Star Wars: The Force Awakens looms like the Death Star in toy aisles, where it could generate retail sales of more than $2 billion in the final four months of the year — but at a serious cost to other brands.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, beginning with the big Force Friday rollout on Sept. 4, Star Wars merchandise has dominated shelf space, and store budgets, squeezing out the competition. Peanuts and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are cited among the hardest-hit brands, with the latter — a top seller in 2014 — losing 20 percent of its shelf space this year at Target.
In what sounds like the premise for either a heartwarming Christmas tale or a horror movie, LEGO has announced it may not be able to produce enough bricks to meet holiday demand in Europe.
“We will not be able to deliver all of the orders coming from customers in the remainder of the year,” Roar Trangbaek, a spokesman for the Danish toymaker, told Reuters.
This week, Warner Bros. dismantled a decades old cartoon-themed mural which in recent years served as the public face of the studios’ connection to DC Comics.
Cartoon Brew caught some photos of the removal of stories-high homage to the likes of Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo at the Warner Studio lot in Burbank. While the mural once held a “cartoon Mount Rushmore” featuring the likes of Fred Flintstone, since 2009 it has served as the most public expression of the company’s commitment to the DC superhero line.
Of course with a full DC Editorial office now in Burbank, it’s not as though Warners is looking to downplay its ownership of the likes of Batman and Superman any time soon. But with such a long-running cornerstone of the company’s cartoon pride coming down, what could possibly take its place?
Disney is combining its video game and toy divisions, reflecting the increasing overlap between the two with such projects as Disney Infinity, the less successful Imagicademy and the recently unveiled Playmation.
Announced Monday, the restructuring sees Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive merge to form Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, overseen by the heads of the former units. Although some employees will be shifted into new roles, The New York Times reports there won’t be any layoffs.
I desperately hope that somewhere in the “All-New, All-Different” Marvel Universe there’s room for Ace Cherry, Popsicle Pete and Mandy Orange, the heroes of Popsicle’s new “Flavor Force” promotional campaign.
Designed by Marvel Custom Solutions, the icy trio will battle its arch-nemesis Lord Weathervane — described by the talking, flying minifridge in the video below as “evil” and “not very nice” — in a series of digital comics set to debut June 21.
Cabinet Holdings has acquired Paradox Entertainment Inc., which owns the rights to the Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane and the rest of the Robert E. Howard library, as well as role-playing games like Mutant and Mutant Chronicles.
Paradox founder Fredrik Malmberg, who left the company a year ago to focus on film production, is the president and CEO of Cabinet Holdings. He produced 2011’s Conan the Barbarian movie and is overseeing the upcoming Legend of Conan.
Wizard World is expanding beyond pop-culture conventions and into subscription box services with ComicConBox.
Like Loot Crate and other similar services, ComicConBox offers subscribers monthly shipments containing toys and collectibles, artwork, games, gadgets and apparel. Plus, this being Wizard World, there are also convention tickets and VIP discounts.
The service is priced at $29.99 a month, with the first box shipping around April 30.
CTM Media Holdings, which owns a majority interest in IDW Publishing, has changed its name to IDW Media Holdings, and placed IDW co-founder and CEO Ted Adams at its helm. The move paves the way for IDW to become listed on a stock exchange.
Telecommunications company IDT Corporation bought a controlling stake in the publisher in 2007, and then two years later created the spinoff CTM Media Holdings to house IDW Publishing, travel-based web portal Ettractions, and brochure and digital advertising distributor CTM Media Group.
Marvel and Disney hope to reach a broader audience with products tied to Avengers: Age of Ultron, which means more items that appeal to women and fans of individual superheroes.
“For the first film, we primarily focused on the Avengers property and the group shots,” Paul Gitter, Disney Consumer Products’ senior vice president of Marvel licensing, tells Variety. “Now we’re broadening the line and scope to create SKUs that focus on the team and the individuals characters, as well.”
Not content with its conquest of cinemas and the direct market, Marvel has now turned its attention to home appliances. Small appliances, but still …
Soon, fans will be able to eat waffles emblazoned with Thor’s hammer, Iron Man’s mask, Captain America’s shield and Hulk’s fist, prepared — where else? — in an Avengers-themed waffle maker from Select Brands. The company is also developing Marvel-inspired toasters, single-serve coffeemakers and more.
Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter and his wife Laura have donated $9 million to help fund cancer research at NYU Langone Medical Center and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
According to an announcement made today by the institutions, $3 million will finance six cancer-focused projects conducted by teams led by investigators from NYU Langone and the Technion. The remaining $6 million be used to establish a state-of-the-art research facility on Technion’s Israel campus that will support these and other projects. Its principal focus will be on the emerging field of cancer metabolomics.
The former co-owner of Toy Biz, Isaac Perlmutter and his then business partner Avi Arad took control of Marvel in 1998, led the company out of bankruptcy and, within a decade, established Marvel Studios as a major player in Hollywood. A self-made billionaire, the publicity-shy Perlmutter made $1.5 billion in cash and stock from the 2009 sale of Marvel, becoming Disney’s second-largest individual shareholder and one of the wealthiest people in the United States.
Although we’ve become accustomed over the past three decades to seeing the Peanuts characters advertising MetLife, I was unaware that Garfield also moonlights as a mascot for an insurance company. Now that gig is leading to a higher profile for the comic-strip cat — atop the former Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum (aka Pepsi Coliseum).
The Indiana State Fair Commission announced today that the newly renovated arena will be named the Indiana Farmers Coliseum through a 10-year, $6 million deal with Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company. A new sign will eventually be added to the top of the building, along with some version of Garfield, who was present today for the press conference.
Warner Bros. is expected to begin layoffs today that will result in the elimination of about 1,000 jobs globally as part of company-wide streamlining effort.
Variety reports that the cuts, which amount to more than 10 percent of the studio’s 8,000-person workforce, are anticipated in two waves, with roughly half starting this week. The process will be completed by the end of the year.
CEO Kevin Tsujihara announced last month that the studio aims to reduce costs by $200 million annually, which will be used to fund an ambitious film and television slate that includes at least 10 DC Comics-based films, J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series, and more LEGO offerings. Film and television production divisions are expected to be spared the brunt of the cutbacks, while home entertainment, marketing, distribution, administration and “other non-production related divisions” will be among the hardest hit.
Although the upcoming DC Comics film slate was the headline-grabbing news from this morning’s Time Warner investor presentation, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara also announced the studio is seeking to reduce costs by $200 million annually as part of company-wide streamlining effort. That’s about double what some reports indicated ahead of today’s meeting.
How much of that will be a result of layoffs has yet to be revealed, but Variety maintains Warner Bros. is expected to cut between 900 and 1,000 jobs, or about 10 percent of its worldwide workforce.
Forsaking the sunshine of Florida for the cooler climate of New York, Captain Citrus is making the trip north this week for New York Comic Con.
You remember Captain Citrus, the weird, anthropomorphized orange that served put in three years as the mascot of the Florida Department of Citrus, which turned to Marvel Custom Solutions over the summer to give the character a $1 million makeover. Now he’s John Polk, a Florida orange grower who draws his power from … mysterious solar pods. It’s a little odd, sure, but nowhere near as weird as a giant orange that drinks orange juice.