Jakks Pacific Signs "Monster" Toy License

by Jay Cochran
September 03, 2003

MALIBU, Calif. – September 3, 2003 JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq: JAKK) announced today that the Company has signed a master toy license with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group for Universal Pictures’ upcoming theatrical release, Van Helsing. In addition, JAKKS has also signed the master toy license for Universal Studios Monsters, further strengthening the Company’s growing line up of boys action figure properties and plans to create a full range of products for both properties.

Drawing inspiration from the studio’s classic horror properties, Van Helsing, the new epic action-adventure feature film from writer-director Stephen Sommers, (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns) is currently in production starring Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Swordfish, Kate & Leopold) and Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor) and is slated for a May 7, 2004 release.

“We are pleased to be working together again with Universal Studios, especially on such an exciting franchise. Universal’s Van Helsing is to monsters what Jurassic Park is to dinosaurs – an evergreen property that has great boy appeal and fits perfectly with JAKKS’ strategy of aligning with brands with staying power,” said Jennifer Richmond, vice president of licensing, JAKKS Pacific, Inc.

JAKKS Pacific expects to manufacture a wide range of products across all JAKKS’ divisions for the properties. The category rights granted include action figures, accessories, playsets, vehicles, activity toys, compounds, Tongue Tape candy, slumber bags, lunch kits and backpacks. JAKKS plans to begin showing product for the properties at the Fall Mass Market Expo in New York and expects to have product hit retail shelves by Spring 2004.

“JAKKS intends to capitalize on the Universal Studios Classic Monster brand, which have become part of American popular culture and looks forward to the opportunity to develop a monster business with these properties,” Richmond continued.

“JAKKS Pacific was a natural choice as a partner for Van Helsing and the classic Universal Monsters, due to their strength in the boys action toys area,” said Beth Goss, executive vice president, The Brand Group, Universal Pictures. “Historically, Classic Monsters has been a key property for us, and we are excited to continue to expand the franchise with JAKKS as a partner.”

Writer-director Stephen Sommers, who successfully reinvigorated a genre with his 1999 smash hit The Mummy and its blockbuster sequel The Mummy Returns, once again draws inspiration from the studio’s classic horror properties in the all-new Van Helsing action adventure film.

Set in the late 19th century, Sommers’ screenplay finds Bram Stoker's fabled monster hunter, Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman), summoned to a distant Eastern European land on a quest to vanquish evil. Now, for the first time since the 1940s, Universal’s greatest classic monsters – Dracula, the Frankenstein monster and The Wolf Man – return to the screen as complex, multi-dimensional beings re-imagined by writer-director Sommers. The Van Helsing character first appeared onscreen in the seminal 1931 Universal classic Dracula and has since appeared in hundreds of motion picture and theatrical adaptations of Stoker’s novel.

About Universal Studios Consumer Products Group
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group (USCPG) is responsible for global licensing and retail strategies as well as building brand recognition. USCPG is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Vivendi UNIVERSAL Entertainment (VUE) (www.universalstudios.com), the U.S.-based film, television and recreation entity of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.

About JAKKS Pacific, Inc.
JAKKS Pacific, Inc. is a multi-brand company that designs and markets a broad range of toys and leisure products. The product categories include: Action Figures, Arts & Crafts Activity Kits, Stationery, Writing Instruments, Performance Kites, Water Toys, Sports Activity Toys, Vehicles, Infant/Pre-School, Plush and Dolls. The products are sold under various brand names including Flying Colors®, Road Champs®, Remco®, Child Guidance®, Pentech®, Trendmasters®, Toymax®, Funnoodle®, Go Fly a Kite® and Color Workshop®. The Company also participates in a joint venture with THQ Inc. that has exclusive worldwide rights to publish and market World Wrestling Entertainment™ video games. For further information, visit www.jakkspacific.com.


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