Monthly Archives: December, 2009

Happy New Year from Toy Anxiety!

Disney Sees Superpowers in Marvel Deal

Might need to dig deep into comic vault for new blockbusters

Associated Press
Dec 28, 2009, 05:19 PM ET

Moviegoers have shown a willingness to be entangled by Spider-Man’s web over and over again. Now, as Disney prepares to buy the comic-book powerhouse Marvel, it faces the question of whether fans will also get attached to characters as obscure as Ant-Man and Iron Fist.

The Walt Disney Co. is making a $4.2 billion bet that they will as it nears completion of its acquisition of Marvel Entertainment this week. The cash-and-stock deal brings those characters and thousands of others to an entertainment empire that already includes Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog and Hannah Montana.

Disney’s biggest challenge will be to get enough people enthused about second-string superheroes to justify the price — about $1.2 billion, or 40%, more than what Marvel’s stock was worth when the deal was announced Aug. 31.

The high price means Disney will have to find new ways to earn revenue from Marvel — perhaps by bringing Marvel-licensed toys to more store shelves around the world, and by digging deep into its comic vault for potential new blockbusters.

Although Disney is constrained by the fact that big-name Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man are already locked up in long-term deals with rival movie studios, Disney has had a history of successfully turning unknown talent such as Miley Cyrus, the actress behind “Hannah Montana,” into multibillion-dollar enterprises.

“With Marvel, it’s not just about ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Hulk,’ ” Caris & Co. analyst David Miller said. “It’s all about the other 5,000 characters that you and I don’t even know about yet.”

Disney shares are already being helped, having risen more than 20% since the deal was announced, partly on the hope for new character development and better use of Marvel heroes in movies, stores and theme parks.

Marvel shareholders are expected to give final approval to the offer on Thursday, with the closing of the deal to follow immediately.

The deal has already spawned a bout of speculation in the comic book world about who will be the next big Thing.

Possibilities include classics such as Ant-Man, the alter-ego of mad scientist Dr. Henry Pym, and Dr. Strange, the mystical go-to guy whenever there’s an extradimensional threat. Both are connected to the Avengers line of characters that Marvel had started developing for the big screen long before Disney made the deal; Iron Man and the Hulk are among the Avengers that Marvel already has tapped.

There are about 5,000 more characters, including obscure ones such as martial arts master Iron Fist from the 1970s and up-and-coming ones such as the Runaways, a street-savvy pack of teenagers that have become a recent Marvel comic-book hit.

Whoever is the next comic book movie star, Marvel has a track record of success: its “Iron Man” movie took in $572 million at boxoffices worldwide despite the character once being a B-lister in the pantheon of superheroes.

“They picked the right one and they did it the right way,” said Gareb Shamus, whose company Wizard Entertainment Group runs several of the Comic-Con fan conventions around the nation. “When you do that you’ve got a franchise that could last forever.”

Through the deal, Marvel gains the ability to quickly reach more markets worldwide. Disney is by far the world’s top licenser of its character brands, with $30 billion in retail sales in fiscal 2008, compared with fourth-place Marvel at $5.7 billion, according to License! Global magazine.

“It gives Marvel the opportunity to expand internationally and leverage the Disney retail relationships as well as their licensee relationships,” said Tony Lisanti, the magazine’s global editorial director.

Marvel CEO Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, who owns 37% of Marvel stock, also secured himself the top job overseeing the Marvel business after the acquisition. That includes decisions on which characters are developed into movie stars.

Disney, which is based in Burbank and plans to keep Marvel’s operations in New York, hasn’t tipped its hand on what lesser-known characters it believes have the potential to leap off the printed page.

And there are some characters Disney says it is happy to let other movie studios keep developing, including Spider-Man at Sony Pictures and the X-Men and Fantastic Four at 20th Century Fox. Marvel earns royalties and a piece of the merchandising sales from those movies, and Disney soon will, too.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company may initially develop new characters on television rather than in movies. Its boy-focused cable channel, Disney XD, already airs 25 hours of Marvel cartoons every week and recently launched in Japan, as well as in several European and Latin American countries.

Television is where Disney incubated such hits as “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical.” Since their debut on cable TV’s Disney Channel, the franchises have spawned movies, concerts and a cascade of related merchandise.

“Instead of making a $200 million movie and kind of betting the farm on one character, you can develop a television pilot, a television series,” Iger told analysts this month.

Disney would benefit the most from new characters that Disney and Marvel develop together because the company would own the franchises outright instead of simply receiving licensing fees from the movies that Sony Corp. and News Corp.’s Fox produce on their own. Those deals last until Sony and Fox stop making the movies.

New characters could also be a boon for fans who are tiring of sequels.

Analysts note that when Disney does land a hit, it is quick to spread the success around to its other businesses.

That’s why “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical” have combined to sell billions of dollars in merchandise, and why “Cars” — a product of Disney’s purchase of Pixar — is getting its own section at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. Conversely, Pirates of the Caribbean was a theme park ride decades before it became a huge movie franchise.

“What Disney does better than anyone else is they leverage content across multiple platforms,” Miller said. “When Disney has a hit film property, it uplifts and enhances all the other businesses.”

 

‘There will be no Bargain’ – Luke vs. Rancor Polystone Diorama Preview

Hi all:

I thought I would start the new year by offering previews of some of the coming attractions from the various companies. This first one is from one of my favorite scenes in the original Star Wars Trilogy.

E-mail Dan at the store for availability at customerservice@toyanxiety.com.

The Sideshow Exclusive version of the There will be no Bargain – Luke VS Rancor Polystone Diorama includes a unique feature available nowhere else: Switch-out Rancor hand holding Gamorrean Guard

Sideshow Collectibles and Lucasfilm are proud to present the Luke VS Rancor Diorama. This detailed sculpture captures a classic ‘Star Wars’ scene and the truly iconic Rancor creature design. Each piece is individually painted and finished to exacting standards, each with its own unique quality and detail that is the trademark of a handcrafted Sideshow Collectibles product. This stunning piece will make an outstanding addition to any Star Wars collection!

License: Star Wars

Product Type: Polystone Diorama

Product Size: 13″ H (330.2mm) x 12″ W (304.8mm) x 15″ D (381mm)*

 Product Weight: 12.00 lbs (5.44 kg)*

Box Size: 15.00″ H (381mm) x 14.00″ W (355.6mm) x 17.00″ L (431.8mm)*

Est. Shipping Weight: 12.00 lbs (5.44 kg)

Artists:

  • Andy Bergholtz

  • Jared Chapman

  • Steve Riojas

  • Anthony Mestas

  • Jesse Lincoln

  • Chadwick Andersen

  • Joe Allard

  • The Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team

Manufactured by: Sideshow Collectibles

Merry Christmas from the gang at Toy Anxiety!


Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is Back at Disneyland





Source: Micechat.com

Product Update for 12/21/2009

*Update for 12/21/09*

Restock!

Hot Toys The Dark Knight Two-Face/Harvey Dent

Hot Toys Goemon the MOVIE:
Goemon Ishikawa
Goemon Saizo
Goemon ChaCha Asia

Hot Toys Resident Evil 5
Chris Redfield BSAA version

Sideshow G.I.JOE
Cobra Commander Cobra Officer

Sideshow Star Wars
Stormtrooper
Utapau Trooper

DID WWII
Heinz Guderian

Hot Toys DX01 The Joker (The Dark Knight) Review

I saw this review of the amazing new Hot Toys DX01 Joker on YouTube and thought I would share it with you. They mention a competitor of ours as a source to get the TrueType body, but we carry these as well.

Equity firm to buy Knott’s Berry Farm’s parent

Apollo Global Management agrees to acquire Cedar Fair. The $2.4-billion deal total includes refinancing of Cedar Fair’s debt, Apollo says.

By Hugo Martín and Tom Petruno
Los Angeles Times

The $2.4-billion buyout of Knott’s Berry Farm’s parent company by a private equity firm may be a sign of confidence in the future of theme parks, analysts said Thursday.Apollo Global Management agreed late Wednesday to acquire Cedar Fair, the Sandusky, Ohio, company that owns Knott’s in Buena Park and 10 other amusement parks, seven water parks and five hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

The deal, including the assumption of debt, follows a poor summer for Cedar Fair — the recession clipped park attendance. The company also said in a Nov. 3 earnings report that attendance had continued to fall in October.

Still, theme park consultants and others who follow the industry say the deal relieves Cedar Fair of debt pressure brought on when the company bought the Paramount Parks chain in 2006.

“It’s good news that they no longer have this debt hanging over them,” said Robert Niles, editor of a website on theme park news and a former Disney theme park host.

Dennis Speigel, president of industry consulting firm International Theme Park Services Inc., said that by investing in Cedar Fair, Apollo Global Management has shown it believes theme parks will be profitable in the future.

“It says that [the equity] group feels we have bottomed out as an industry,” he said.

Although theme parks nationwide will probably continue to offer discounts next year to attract guests, Speigel believes the discounts will be smaller as the economy slowly rebounds.

The deal is the second time this fall that a private equity firm has ventured into the theme park business. In October, Blackstone Group agreed to buy the entertainment business of Anheuser-Busch InBev

, which includes the SeaWorld attractions in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla., as well as the Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla., and Williamsburg, Va.

Besides Knott’s Berry Farm, Cedar Fair’s 11 amusement parks include Cedar Point in Ohio, Kings Dominion in Virginia and Great America in Santa Clara, Calif.

New York-based Apollo, led by Leon Black, said it would pay $11.50 a share for Cedar Fair. The stock on Thursday soared $2.12, or 23%, to close at $11.20. Shares had plunged as low as $6.10 last month after Cedar Fair said Nov. 3 that revenue for the first nine months of the year fell nearly 8% from a year earlier, to $811 million.

The buyout price is about one-third of what Cedar Fair was worth at its peak share price of $35.71 in 2004.

The stock will cost Apollo about $635 million. Apollo said the $2.4-billion deal total includes refinancing of the company’s debt.

Cedar Fair’s heavy debt load has been a source of worry for the company’s equity investors. Crushing debt pushed one of its rivals, Six Flags Inc., to file for bankruptcy protection in June.

Cedar Fair Chief Executive Dick Kinzel said that after considering a range of alternatives, the company decided that the Apollo deal was in the best interest of shareholders.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co., Barclays Capital, UBS Investment Bank and KeyBanc Capital Markets agreed to provide nearly $2 billion in financing commitments for the buyout, Apollo said.

Remembering Roy Disney

Roy Edward Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, died Wednesday after a yearlong battle with stomach cancer at the age of 79.

Roy played a key role in the revitalization of the Walt Disney Co. and Disney’s animation legacy.

His father, Roy O. Disney, co-founded the Disney entertainment business with Walt Disney in 1923.

Roy E. Disney‘s 56-year association with the company culminated in 2003 when he stepped down as vice chairman of Disney’s board and chairman of the Disney Studio’s Animation Department. He kept the title director emeritus and consulted with the company in his final years.

As head of Disney Animation, Disney helped to guide the studio to a new golden age of animation with an unprecedented string of artistic and box office successes that included ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King.’

I had the good fortune of meeting Roy when Jeff Kurtti and he were doing a book signing for Jeff’s new book, What the Sea Teaches Us: The Crew of the Morning Light. Roy had written the forward for the book. I was working full-time for Disney then and the signing was at the Studio Store on the studio lot in Burbank. I got there an hour early and was first in line.

Roy and his wife Leslie arrived first and I was able to have a short conversation with him. I told him how I met Joe Hale, the writer and producer of The Black Cauldron a few months before at the Disneyana Sale and Show. I told him that Joe spoke fondly of him. Roy smiled and said he hadn’t see Joe in a while, but seemed pleased to hear about Joe. The lady behind me in line was one of the Disney guides who gives tours to visiting dignitaries at Disneyland and I asked her to take a picture of Roy and me. Roy asked his wife Leslie and Jeff to be in the picture with us. As soon as she started shooting pictures for me, everyone started taking pictures somehow assuming this was a publicity shot or something. Flash bulbs were popping everywhere! It was kind of funny. I was thinking afterwards that when people were reviewing the picture they took, they were saying “So here’s Jeff, Roy, and Leslie, but I don’t know who the hell this other guy is.”

To me, meeting Roy was my special way of also meeting Walt Disney. They look very much a like. He was very friendly and easy-going. I have always credited him with reviving Disney’s foray into animation.

I hear that he will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered at sea. He also was an avid competitive sailor. He held several elapsed-time records for offshore races in the Pacific Ocean, including multiple wins in the 2,225-mile Transpac race between Hawaii and California. Seems like some nice symmetry to that.

Rest in peace Roy. We will truly miss you.

Product Update for 12/16/2009

*Update for 12/16/09*

New Breakdowns & PreOrder!

Hot Toys Resident Evil 5 Albert Wesker Midnight Version

Dragon WWII German Anton Bohm

Sideshow Star Wars Sandtrooper Corporal ($98.99, The Lowest Price Allowed By Sideshow): We are now accepting Pre Orders for the Sideshow Star Wars Sandtrooper Corporal. Upon purchase, you will be charged in full for this preorder item including shipping. It will be shipped to you as soon as we receive it from Sideshow. This item is scheduled to ship 2nd Quarter of 2010, which means between April and June. Toy Anxiety cannot be held responsible for manufacturer and or shipping delays.