Thursday, February 19, 2015

Toy Fair 2015!

As the classic "Facts of Life" theme song goes "You take the Good, You take the bad, You take them both together." That seemed to be the recurring theme for Muppet fans at this year's Toy Fair in NYC.

The good news is there are some great new items on the way, the bad news the is that most of the new stuff falls in the Sesame category and many of the upcoming Muppet 
items, weren't on display at the show. Also due to a scheduling conflict we weren't able to meet up with our pals at Tough Pigs in person, though they did clue us in to a few hidden treasures before we arrived.

Let's dive right in:

Funko had a massive amount of new POP! figures on display and we got to see the Bert, Ernie, Oscar, Cookie Monster, and Snuffy Sesame Street POP! figures in person for the first time. Once again Funko knock it out the park and I hope the mass produced figures look as goof as the prototypes when they're released in late summer/early fall.  

They're also working on adding a series of Dark Crystal figures to their ReAction line, though they're still in the early prototype stage and weren't ready for the show. If all goes well Funko says they'll be in stores late 2015 if not early 2016. 

Wicket Cool Toys previewed a line of seasonal Sesame items and hangers they like to get in stores by spring on 2016. 

Gund has bunch of new Sesame plush on the way. They're offering InstaGrow pill 
versions of "Take Along" Cookie and Elmo. 

The new concept is "Wavers" - drumstick like plush that speak when waved. The first two are Elmo - who says the Alphabet, and The Count - who counts. 

Two lines of "Bean Bag Pals" are coming. A regular set featuring, Grover, Elmo, Big Bird. Ernie, Bert, Cookie, and Oscar.

As well as a "Birthday Bean Bag Pals" line. The inclusion of the birthday hats will sure make them hard to hackey sack!

This Cookie Monster reads "Twas The Night Before Christmas" with cookie centric twists, and is available now. And while you're in the holiday spirit, there are Cookie and Elmo 
gingerbread style cookie plush, to not eat.

 Plenty of new Elmo plus are on the way:

Including "Peek-a-Boo" and "Nursery Rhymes" talking Elmo's.

These items and more will be for sale in stores on this new school bus display.

The Tin Box Company will continue to offer Elmo, Oscar and Cookie banks and lunch boxes. 

While the same company that makes "Heeleys" has a line of Elmo and Abby footwear. 

The Little Kids company has a line of Sesame bubble machines.

Including an Elmo that blows bubbles when you open his mouth.

Kappa Books a line of reusable Sesame activity books that can be wiped clean after each use. 

As well as more traditional flash cards and story books.
In addition to all these great Sesame products, after the show Toy Fair was presenting an early screening of "I Am Big Bird" featuring a Q &A with Caroll and Deb Spinney and the directors! 

I did not attend the screening, having already seen it at the BAM festival, but definitely don't miss it when it comes to a theater near you!

Heading down to Fraggle Rock, Manhattan Toys is still selling their Fraggle Rock products. However, Uncle Traveling Matt, Jr. Gorg, and Mokey have been dropped from the line - both in plush and puppet form. 

And that brings us to the main attraction: The Muppets!

Madame Alexander showed off last years Muppet puppets again, even going so far as to decorate one of their booth walls with their hero shots.

Interestingly, while their Muppet dolls weren't there - either on display or shown on pictured at the booth, they are still coming. 

Judging by the photos in their new catalog, the dolls will look much better now then the 
prototypes we saw last year. 

Kermit, Fozzie and Piggy, don't look as squashed, While Animal gained a lot more hair and lost the lone drum stick. They are expected to hit store shelves in June.
While Roomates didn't have any of their Muppet wall decals on display,they said they are still selling them, but will not be adding any new ones to the line at this time. 

Same goes for Ty. They has their Kermit Beanie Buddy proudly on display, but didn't have any plans to add any other characters. 

Ravensburger still wants to able to offer their Muppet puzzles in the US. 

Apparently a third party has started selling them through Amazon, but not through 
Ravensburger, and would very much like to get Disney's approval to sell them here.
(If anyone from Disney is reading this - help them make this happen.)

And though Roxo didn't have their Animal and Kermit charms, they did say they were now available online.

A quick search on their website reveled this to be true!

We got word that Pillow Pets has dropped Kermit and the Muppets from their line at this time.

We did get to see the final versions and packaging of Rubies Elopes Muppet Costume headbands. We're told these can be found primarily at small costume shops and online. 

Which brings us to our final stop: Diamond Select Toys. Before we got to the show we were informed by our friend at Tough Pigs, who were there the previous day, to make sure to stop in the Diamond Select. Once there inquire about their Muppet poster. So being able to follow simple instructions, we found ourselves at the Diamond booth, saw this poster asked about their Muppet items.

One their product specialists led us to a corner of the booth covered with a black drape. No photos were allowed but, what I saw was immediately burned into my retinas!

Muppet Minimates! If you're not familiar with Minimates they're small block-ish figures that mostly stem from the same mold, but can be added onto and sculpted differently as needed.

For example these are Diamond's Avengers and SpongeBob Minimates figures:

The prototypes for the Muppet line haven't been approved by Disney yet, which is why no pictures were allowed. 

The characters for the first series are as follows:
Kermit with Robin, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Scooter, Gonzo with Camilla, Swedish Chef, Bunsen, and Beaker. 

Gonzo, Swedish Chef, Bunsen, and Beaker will also have explosive/messy variants that will be a combination of short-packed and retailer exclusives. 

Each Minimates two-pack will retail for $10. 

But that's not all!

Diamond is also working on a straight up Muppet action figure line. The only two characters
they had at the show were Kermit and Fozzie, and even in their early prototype phase looked great. 

Both looked similar to the Palisades versions:

They couldn't reveal yet who else they have planned for the action figure line, but they did tell us that each package would contain two figures and a few accessories - including possibly a rubber chicken for Fozzie. 

Each action figure two-pack will cost $25. 

Diamond hopes to have both the Minimates and the action figures on store shelves by the end of the year, if not in early 2016. 

As you can tell it's a mixed-bag this year, but as the "The Facts of Life" theme reminds us, it's all about "you." The thing we heard from a few vendors is that if there's enough demand and they can direct Disney to posts requesting things, that's they best way for them to gauge demand. 

If you want more Muppet stuff, be sure to keep asking retailers if they have things. You want those Muppet Show DVDs? Keep posting about how much you want season 4 and 5. We may be no match for Frozen, Minions and Star Wars (easily the biggest three properties at the show) but if we keep bugging and buying maybe The Muppets can a more constant 
retail presence. 

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