by Jay Cochran
October 17, 2002

COSTA MESA, CA, October 17, 2002 - PLAYMATES TOYS INC. today announced the “shellacious” return of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES to the action figure scene. The original heroes in a half-shell - Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael - are back, bigger, bolder and badder than ever!

Playmates’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys will hit retail shelves nationwide starting in January 2003. First out-of-the-shell will be newly designed action figure collection, each with authentic Ninja weapons, and an awesome variety of vehicles, role-play weapons and playsets to follow later in the year.

“Playmates sold over 245 million Ninja Turtle action figures back in the early 90’s”, said Lou Novak, President of Playmates Toys Inc. “And what made the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a success 10 years ago is still valid today. There’s a whole new generation of kids to enthrall with the unique story of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo” Novak continued.

In a full-blown marketing effort, Playmates partners, 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios Inc., will launch an all-new, animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series on The Fox Box, starting in February 2003. The season kicks off with 26 new half-hour episodes on Saturday mornings that will feature “hot” new music and all new action packed animation. The combination of humor and action that made the Turtles so unique and successful before is now taken to a whole new level for today’s kids. Also adding to the on-air exposure --January 2003 marks the beginning of two new Playmates Toys kids TV advertising campaigns. Spots supporting the new TV series and products will begin airing on January 3, and continue throughout the year on The Fox Box, and other kid networks.

“In order to capture and communicate the essence of the Turtles brand, Playmates, 4Kids and Mirage will deliver a comprehensive message to kids via numerous platforms including broadcast, print, home video and DVD releases, Online, and other media.” commented Jill Will, Senior Vice President, Marketing, for Playmates Toys. And for the collectors who grew up with the Turtles in the ‘90’s, Playmates Toys will release a 12” Deluxe scale, cold cast resin sculpture of Leonardo, (the first of four Turtles) based on artwork from the original comic book series. The 12” Leonardo figure will be available in December through Diamond Comics. The figure comes with its own custom base, that is designed to fit together to form a detailed diorama when combined with the other three sculptures in the series.

History on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the famous terrapin foursome was much loved back in the early 90’s, and enjoyed a vaulted stature as one of the most successful boys action brands in the past 20 years, with worldwide sales exceeding $1 billion from 1989 to 1993 alone. Adding to the brand’s reputation were the 11 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game titles, which sold 18 million units and generated nearly $450 million in sales.

And the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles success was not limited to TV and toys. -- with three movies to their credit, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles combined worldwide box office, video retail and video rental gross receipts totaled more than $724 million, and total worldwide licensed merchandise sales amounted to $2 billion.

Playmates Toys

Playmates Toys Inc. manufactures, markets and distributes a wide range of girls’ and boys’ toys, activity and novelty electronics, and products based upon character-rich licensed entertainment properties. Among the company’s best-known brands are the “Amazing” family of interactive dolls and the unique water-filled “Waterbabies” dolls.

Key licensed properties include Disney’s Princesses and other classic characters from The Walt Disney Company, Twentieth Century Fox’s “The Simpsons,” and Mirage Studios’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Playmates Toys is a division of Playmates Holding Ltd., a Hong Kong-based company whose stock is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.


Why bring back the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was such a huge success in the late 80’s and early 90’s that Mirage, Playmates and 4Kids Entertainment felt that there was a whole new generation of kids ready to embrace the unique story of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. The play patterns and imaginations of kids are no different today from what they were a dozen years ago, and therefore, the Ninja turtle magic should enthrall kids once again.

How will the TMNT figures be different from the originals?

The new Turtle figures are completely different than the previous ones. They are larger (approximately 5” tall), have increased articulation, unique materials and phenomenal sculpting. They will also come with their own signature weapons as well as personalized action features.

When will the action figures ship?

Playmates will start shipping in December for product to be on the shelf by January2003.

What will be available in the first wave of action figures?

The first wave of figures will include: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, Splinter, Foot Ninja, and The Shredder.

What size and articulation will the figures have?

The size of the action figures is approximately 5” with articulation at the neck, shoulders, biceps, wrist, thigh and knees.

What features and accessories will come with the figures?

There are lots of cool accessories ranging from suction cup ninja claws (so you can have your Turtle hanging off the refrigerator) to Ninja rappel lines (that let your Turtle climb up a vertical surface…fast)!

Are there any playsets or vehicles planned?

Playmates will launch 3 vehicles - the Shell-Cycle (a cool Turtle motorcycle), the Sewer-Slider (a sewer tunnel transport that changes into a hover craft) and the Battle Shell (a refurbished Armored car that sewers as the Turtles mobile HQ).

When will Playmates release the second and third waves?

Playmates will release new figures in April 2003 and refresh the toy line every few months thereafter.

What will the new toys be based on?

The new toys will be based on the all-new animated TMNT TV series being produced by 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios for broadcast on Saturday mornings on The Fox Box (Fox network) starting in February 2003.

What is the overall theme of the new relaunch?

The theme is based on the original storyline of the comic books. Lots of action, darker in tone, more sophisticated story arcs, but still with a lot of the trademark Turtle-humor and antics mixed in.

Anything planned for the collectors?

The collectors will love the new figures because they are true to the story and to the show. They will also love the fact that even before the show begins, Playmates is releasing a 12” cold cast sculpture (the first of 4) of Leonardo, based on the artwork from the original Mirage Studios comic book series.


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