Warner Bros. Consumer Products [WBCP] enters this year’s Licensing International Expo with a strong slate of initiatives to drive its licensing, merchandising and retail business. With the DC Comics Super Hero Batman at the forefront, WBCP will also platform other DC characters, Wonder Woman and Supergirl, along with Looney Tunes and Harry Potter, as well as its enduring roster of well-loved characters like Scooby-Doo.
“The stage is set for a truly momentous year with our strong stable of consistent content presented in enterprising ways. This includes new offerings for Batman such as the highly anticipated film The Dark Knight and the new animated series for 2009, Batman: The Brave and the Bold. We’re expanding our girls business -- already successful with Tweety -- by increasing our support of Wonder Woman and Supergirl. We are also exploring new positioning for Looney Tunes and supporting several tent pole films, like the sixth Harry Potter film,” said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products.
BATMAN IS BACK…AND BIGGER THAN EVER
With a wide range of offerings at Licensing 2008, WBCP on behalf of DC Comics will highlight the world of Batman, a perennial mainstay that continues to captivate generations of fans the world over. New programs will be featured on the heels of this summer’s The Dark Knight, as well as products based on the classic Batman franchise.
With a robust product line, The Dark Knight has created a new level of momentum for Batman that will carry WBCP and its partners into 2009 and beyond. The film will continue to lend itself to original opportunities from such licensees as Mattel, Rubie’s Costumes, LOT 29, Thinkway Toys, Six Flags, Noble, EV.R. Inc., and Digital Blue.
The follow-up to the action hit Batman Begins, The Dark Knight reunites director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale, who reprises the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in his continuing war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The triumvirate proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker, who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces the Dark Knight ever closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.
Additional new content is driving increased awareness of Batman. The new television series Batman: The Brave and the Bold
will be featured at this year’s Licensing Show. The show is slated to air on Cartoon Network in the US beginning in 2009 with an International roll-out to follow. Set in a more lighthearted, but action-packed environment, the series includes a host of new allies, villains and, of course, gadgets for Batman. Master toy licensee Mattel will lead the charge with a robust merchandising program to come
Keying off consumer interest in Batman in LEGO form, a new line of LEGO Batman merchandise will be featured at the Licensing Show and debuting in U.S. retail stores nationwide this fall. The line includes fashion separates (C. Life), accessories (Berkshire), back-to-school supplies (Accessory Network), T-shirts (Giant) and sleepwear sets (AME).
HARRY POTTER CONTINUES TO CAST A SPELL
The boy wizard Harry Potter will also continue to cast his spell, as WBCP will unveil its latest magical offerings, including eagerly anticipated initiatives for the upcoming film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In this latest installment of the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds, and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is slated for release around the world in November 2008 and will be supported by merchandise from licensees including PopCo Entertainment Ltd (formerly Corgi International), Noble Collection, NECA, Mattel, Panini, DeAgostini, Giant Merchandising, Tonner Doll, Gentle Giant, and Jibbitz.
WHERE ARE THE WILD THINGS? WITH WBCP!
Where the Wild Things Are follows the adventures of Max, a headstrong young boy who leaves home after having a fight with his mother – only to find himself in a thriving forest bordering a vast sea. Misunderstood and rebellious, Max sets sail to the land of the Wild Things where mischief reigns. The adventure film will use a unique process to bring the story to life, incorporating the most dynamic elements of voice performance, live action puppetry and computer animation. The film will be supported by key licensees such as Junk Food, Jibbitz, Lakai Footwear, Bejeweled, McFarlane Toys, and Girl Skateboard Company.
LOONEY TUNES—BELOVED AND BETTER FOR YOU
This year, The Looney Tunes will be front and center with new platforms designed to promote an active, better-for-you lifestyle among families. In the U.S., WBCP recently announced Eating Right Kids, a better-for-you line of food products for kids uniting flavor and nutrition, to be sold exclusively at Safeway stores. The broad product line will include more than 100 items across 30 categories including breakfast foods, portable meals, dairy, snacks, beverages and frozen entrees and will feature such world-renowned Looney Tunes characters as Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Taz, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Marvin the Martian and Daffy Duck. Eating Right Kids is also the first product line to broadly feature entertainment characters and be dedicated solely to a healthier eating philosophy.
On the International front, WBCP Europe, Middle East and Africa have led the way with a new initiative called Looney Tunes Active!, which is designed to promote an active lifestyle for kids ages four to 10. The program already has more than 170 participating licensees worldwide. This multi-territory initiative includes development of new televised content airing in Fall 2008; a touring road show that visits elementary schools, retail outlets and fun parks; and co-marketing with national sports organizations. Some of the first products featuring this new message have been successfully unveiled by adidas who created a limited edition, co-branded apparel and footwear collection; Nestlé Waters; and Tymbark juices. Future launches across a range of categories will be announced over the next few months.
IT’S WONDERFULLY SUPER TO BE A GIRL
WBCP, on behalf of DC Comics, recently announced a partnership with fashion design icon Diane von Furstenberg for a Wonder Woman-inspired collection that will be launched later this year and sold in 22 free-standing DVF boutiques and top department stores worldwide. The collection debuts in October 2008.
The limited edition collection will include a capsule of ready-to-wear, small leathergoods and footwear inspired by the motifs and symbols of the iconic DC Comics Super Hero. Proceeds from select pieces will be contributed to Vital Voices Global Partnership, a non-governmental organization that trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the world, a cause to which von Furstenberg has been dedicated and serves on the board.
The DC Super Heroes presence at the show also includes Supergirl, a property successfully platformed in the U.S. in 2007 through a groundswell of activity for “fashionistas” and “actionistas” alike. Fueling interest in 2008 is an exclusive Supergirl fashion collection that will be available later this year.
On the actionista front, the S3 Supergirl Jam expands on its successful inaugural event of last year. This year’s S3 Supergirl Jam features three days of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding competitions, clinics and demonstrations in Southern California from July 25-27. Held in conjunction with the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing, S3 Supergirl Jam is designed to promote and celebrate female strength, independence and empowerment by creating a platform for young female athletes to compete in multiple action sports disciplines.
Classic characters and films will continue to be at the forefront of Licensing 2008, with strong licensees and full merchandise programs continuing to support beloved franchises including the Looney Tunes, Baby Looney Tunes, Tweety, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, and other Hanna-Barbera characters.
Perennial classic films including The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Caddyshack, The Goonies, and Gremlins, as well as holiday favorites like The Polar Express, Frosty the Snowman, and A Christmas Story will also be presented at this year’s show.
WBCP CONTINUES TO SCORE WITH FOOTBALL
Additionally, WBCP will highlight efforts that have firmly established it as a key player in football licensing through representation of some of the biggest teams and tournaments. Program initiatives on display include: FC Barcelona, Juventus FC, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, São Paulo Football Club, Mexico’s National Team and Club America from Mexico. The world’s second largest sport event, the UEFA EURO 2008™ championship, and the highly prized UEFA Champions League™ will continue to touch the heart and spirit of hundreds of million of fans around the world through a wide variety of categories and products.
“The depth and breadth of our upcoming initiatives are truly remarkable and will assure that we will put our stamp on entertainment licensing in 2008 and beyond,” Globe added. “WBCP continues to be a stable source of consistent, engaging content whether it is our film and television franchises, our legendary roster of DC Super Heroes or our storied roster of classic characters and properties. We have proven to be a desirable home for our partners and continue take our commitment to them very seriously.”
WBCP has more than 3,700 active licensees worldwide. With 26 offices and agents representing more than 100 countries in key regions throughout the world, including Latin America, Asia and Europe, Middle East and Africa, WBCP maintains an ongoing commitment to expand and build the power of its core brands' recognition in the international marketplace through strong and creative merchandising, promotional marketing and retail programs.
About Licensing International Expo 2008
Licensing International Expo 2008 (www.licensingexpo.com
), taking place June 10th - 12t at New York's Javits Center is the most established licensing event in the world and has become a global marketplace for leveraging brand and property equity for developing new licensed consumer products. The show's appeal brings together top-level retail and manufacturing executives from more than 82 countries who look to Licensing International Expo 2008 to discover new brands and revenue generating opportunities within the $187 Billion licensing industry.
Located at booths #3019 and #3219, WBCP is one of the largest exhibitors at this year’s show.