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Hasbro Continues To Lead Boys Action With Hot Brands And Innovative Products

Miscellaneous: Jay Cochran - 2004.02.13


PAWTUCKET, R.I. --(Business Wire)-- Feb. 13, 2004 Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) enters the 2004 American International Toy Fair ready to build on its leadership in the boys action category with brands like TRANSFORMERS, BEYBLADE and G.I. JOE leading the way.

Kids will be excited by the new offerings in 2004, with cool action figures, vehicles, and more, that are packed with innovative new features. This year, the G.I. JOE brand celebrates its 40th anniversary as the world's first action figure and the TRANSFORMERS brand commemorates 20 years as the toy that is MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. New products from leading entertainment properties such as BEYBLADE tops and Star Wars, and new brands like XEVOZ, a line that marks the convergence of action figures and game play, are sure to excite kids and collectors alike.

"The key to our success is to keep our brands relevant by developing exciting and innovative new product and storylines," said Greg Leeds, General Manager of Hasbro's boys toys division. "The G.I. JOE and TRANSFORMERS brands are excellent examples of how we keep kids involved in a brand by delivering a compelling fantasy in a variety of ways, including action figures and entertainment."

Hasbro revolutionized the toy industry 40 years ago by introducing G.I. JOE, the world's first action figure. Hasbro will celebrate the heritage of the G.I. JOE brand with a special 40th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION that recaptures the nostalgia of the first G.I. JOE 12-inch action figures in authentically detailed packaging, uniforms and accessories. In 2004, Hasbro introduces the new VALOR VS. VENOM theme, the good-versus-evil saga that is a progression of last year's SPYTROOPS adventure. The line features the innovative VOICE F/X technology, a feature in action figures that allows the mouth and facial features of talking figures to realistically come to life at the press of a button. To help tell the fantasy to kids, a new full-length feature, "G.I. JOE: VALOR VS. VENOM," will be available this fall from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Following yet another year of soaring popularity as seen by double-digit sales increases, Hasbro's TRANSFORMERS brand celebrates its 20th year in 2004. From Hasbro's action figures and Cartoon Network's animated series, to Dreamwave's comic books and Atari video games, a new generation of kids have discovered the thrills of the TRANSFORMERS saga. This year, Hasbro marks the anniversary with a brand new TRANSFORMERS ENERGON themed line, featuring OMEGA SUPREME, the ultimate combiner that is actually two vehicles -- an awesome construction crane and a space battleship -- that combine to make a super robot or train.

And as a crowning touch for 2004, Hasbro will introduce a 20th Anniversary special version of the heroic OPTIMUS PRIME as a fan-requested tribute to the original 1984 toy.

BEYBLADE was one of hottest toy lines around the world in 2003, with more than 15 million BEYBLADE tops in kids' hands in the U.S. alone. The excitement continues in '04 with a whole new season of "G-REVOLUTION" themed programming ahead on ABC Family. Hasbro introduces innovative products based on the programming, such as the new ENGINE GEAR tops which have turbo winders and clutch mechanisms that allow players to unleash ultimate strategy by releasing the top into hyper mode at the height of its power, making competitions more exciting than ever. Also, in March of 2004, the first North American BEYBLADE champion will be crowned in Houston, the culmination of official BEYBLADE BATTLE ASSOCIATION (BBA) tournaments held in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto in 2003 and testament to the soaring popularity of the toys.

Ever since the classic Star Wars trilogy burst onto the screen in 1977, a new generation of movie and toy fans has continued the tradition of celebrating the past, present and future of the Star Wars universe. In 2004, Hasbro celebrates Lucasfilm's fall release of the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD with the Original Trilogy Collection of authentically detailed figures, vehicles and lightsabers. The collection will recapture the magic of the first three Star Wars film releases, bringing back the memorable black-and-silver retro package look and collectible new versions of the earliest Star Wars toys. In addition, Hasbro is bringing back one of the most legendary spaceships in the galaxy: the Millennium Falcon, available for the first time since 1996.

Driving full-speed ahead into 2004, TONKA continues to deliver what today's rough and tough little guys want: action, attitude and adventure. The brand enhances its fun line of vehicles and playsets with this year's massive new addition, the TONKA TOUGHEST MIGHTY TRUCK and the new high-energy, off-road super charged TONKA TOUGH TRUCK ADVENTURES vehicles, equipped with T-Shift technology to unlock hidden vehicles and exciting features and turn these awesome rescue vehicles into the ultimate rescue trucks.

The world of action figures has taken an evolutionary step forward with XEVOZ, a brand new innovative action figure line from Hasbro that marks the convergence of action figures and game play. XEVOZ enables kids to build, customize and then battle within a dynamic, multi-level game. XEVOZ parts are totally interchangeable and offer millions of combinations, so kids can xevolve their figures into their most powerful warriors imaginable.

Children around the world love Pokemon and continue to make it one of the most watched animated programs on television. Hasbro teams up with Pokemon USA and 4Kids Entertainment to launch a brand new line of Pokemon toys that give kids the chance to collect and battle with their favorite characters. This new wave of Pokemon excitement is being driven by the recent success of the Pokemon Advanced program theme, which debuted in the number-one spot last fall on Kids' WB!, and features more than 120 new RUBY and SAPPHIRE characters.

Last year, Hasbro reintroduced MICRO MACHINES, the brand that launched the "micro" vehicle category more than 15 years ago. Hasbro's 2004 MICRO MACHINES line continues to deliver "massive action in a micro world" with vehicles and playsets that give kids an entire universe of action in the palm of their hands. The MICRO MACHINES line's basic vehicles feature a new "real car" segment with the coolest licensed cars. There's even more big news in the 2004 micro world with the gravity-defying magnetic technology and stunt action of the super cool ANACONDA AUTOWORKS segment.

A brand new line for Hasbro, RAVE MASTER is an exciting new way to combine action figure collecting and competitive game play, based on TOKYOPOP Inc.'s highly anticipated, adventure-packed anime series that will air on Cartoon Network. The Hasbro RAVE MASTER line offers all the elements kids will want to play out their own battles and quests, including: customizable action figures with interchangeable parts and wearable gear based on the show; an electronic sword; and, game play sets that incorporate mini action figures.

Information on these and other Hasbro boys brands can be found at www.hasbro.com.

Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.

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