Mattel, Inc. today announced the expansion of its global licensing agreement with Disney to span new titles and to design and develop toys inspired by characters from all Pixar Animation Studios’ film properties. Included in the new agreement are upcoming 2020 movie releases, including “Onward,” as well as beloved titles, many of which are Academy Award® winners or nominees, “Coco,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “The Incredibles,” among others. Mattel’s licensing rights in North America, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand include a wide variety of products, such as action figures, miniature and novelty figures, plush and playsets available beginning in May 2020.
This agreement builds on Mattel’s strong relationship with Disney and Pixar, which includes the success of “Toy Story 3” and the “Cars” franchise, ahead of the highly-anticipated “Toy Story 4,” opening June 21, 2019.
“Pixar is a legendary animation studio renowned for creating some of the most iconic and diverse sets of characters,” said Janet Hsu, Chief Franchise Management Officer of Mattel. “We look forward to bringing these characters to children of all ages so they can create their own adventures and stories through play. This relationship is the latest example of Mattel’s commitment to collaborate with globally-recognized franchises as part of our transformation into an IP-driven, high-performing toy company.”
“Whether under the sea, in the clouds, on the racetrack or in deep space, we’re thrilled to bring Pixar’s innovative creativity to life through new interactive play experiences with Mattel,” said Josh Silverman, EVP Global Product Commercialization, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “These new lines of toys and products will celebrate Mattel’s commitment to imagination and extend Pixar’s iconic characters and stories in unique ways.”
While Mattel makes some yummy promises to “celebrate imagination and extend Pixar’s iconic characters and stories in unique ways”, there’s two factors happening side by side here. The first, is that Mattel doesn’t seem to have much in the way of creative vision. Let’s take Nickelodeon and Alpha’s Group new Spongebob Squarepants meme toys, for example. This marketing campaign is brilliant because one, it takes specific and memorable moments from the show and freezes them in time, but it also goes meta, stepping outside of the narrative for a moment, and into pop culture in order to nudge the viewer and say ‘Hey, we’re in on the joke, too.”
Not only is there no guarantee that Mattel could pull something like that off (too a lesser degree, even; meme toys are pretty extra) but there’s that other factor of Disney and Pixar being really possessive and protective over their licenses and how they are presented. Therefore, we might get some pretty direct toys that are perfectly nice, but they won’t stand out over any other toys.
What Mattel should do, if you ask me (a complete non-professional) is approach Pixar for a collectors’ line. Can you image what sort of breathtaking Wall-E toy we could get? If Mattel and Pixar are going backwards to include past toys, wouldn’t it be so cool to see a line of original Toy Story figures that weren’t super clean and shiny, the way Toy Story 4 is going to look, but had some of the gliding roughness of the original 1994 movie? Intentionally?
Or, you know….they can just tap into our psyches by making a vinyl art piece of the whole opening scene of Up. You know…just to crush souls.
Bet you someone would buy it.
SOURCE: Mattel News Room