Ready to rumble - ToyNews

Ready to rumble

A triumvirate of boys? movies forms the basis of Hasbro?s 2009 offering, but there?s also emphasis on collectables and the relaunch of Cranium to look forward to. Ronnie Dungan runs through highlights and speaks to marketing director Mark Foster about what promises to be a busy year for the firm?.
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Hasbro IS set for a big year in 2009 across all sections, with particular highlights in the areas of movie franchises, reinventions of old classics and cool collectables for all ages.

In boys, there are three big blockbuster films driving the business. There’s the long-awaited live action GI Joe movie; the second Transformers film; and Wolverine, a prequel to the popular X-Men trilogy and what could be the first in a series of X-Men character films.

Each film will be supported with a wide selection of figures, vehicles and role-play toys, such as the Wolverine Battle Claw which includes retractable claws and sound effects, and an all-new Transformers voice changer helmet. The Transformers range is particularly extensive with action figures in all sizes.

This year will see continued support for the Star Wars: Clone Wars CGI animated series that will be shown on Sky Movies and then transfer to the Cartoon Network in February. Fans of the series can get their hands on more of their favourite characters and vehicles, including the Turbo Tank that will be out in time for Christmas. There will also be new figures from the Build a Droid and Legends ranges, as well as a six-inch remote controlled R2D2 that includes a 360° spinning head.

The major collectables range for boys will be the Super Hero Squad Marvel Universe figures and Star Wars Galactic Heroes.

The girls range will have two strong reinventions – Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony. Strawberry Shortcake returns with a totally new look and the range will include strawberry scented figures, playsets and mini plushes. My Little Pony will also be getting an update and the introduction of a new range, the Newborn Cuties, which are a smaller version of the popular Newborn range. The main figures are set to have more distinctive figures, with slimmer frames, larger eyes and more defined feet.

The firm is also going big on girls collectables this year with 300 additional animals being added to the Littlest Pet Shop range, including new Deco Pets which can be personalised with gems, stickers and glitters.

Care Bears have returned to the pre-school range. Available from autumn, the key focus for this year is plush with the six core characters including light-up tummies. The Big Hug Bear is set for release at the end of the year with other characters being introduced in 2010.

In the games division, Hasbro will bring out new variations of some old favourites – Connect 4, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit and Cranium.

The new Connect 4 includes a ‘pop-out’ option in the bottom so players can either start with a full grid and pop-out discs to win, or pop-out opponents’ discs. Battleship Reinvention introduces a hexagonal battlefield as a vertical design brings the game to a different level.

With the latest version of Trivial Pursuit, player’s moves are judged by the difficulty level of their questions. So if they answer a level six question, for instance, they move six spaces.
Cranium, which was acquired by the company last year, returns with new questions and two additional games – family and junior. The range has been slimmed down considerably to focus on the core Cranium-branded products.

To read the interview with marketing director, Mark Foster, click here.

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