Toy Fair Coverage: Mattel

Next up we’re traveling to the DC Universe, The Batcave and beyond as we visit one of the largest toy companies in the world, Mattel.

Toy Fair Report: MATTEL

Mattel, being one of the larger toy companies, has a showroom outside of the Javitts Center. So, after a short complimentary shuttle bus ride, we arrive at a building with a placard bearing a large Mattel logo on it. This must be the place. The showroom, which is right outside the door, has people waiting for tours of the various areas. This report will cover the following product lines: Speed Racer, DC Universe, The Dark Knight, Kung Fu Panda and Elmo Live. Coming into the showroom, the first thing we see in a stunning diamond-encrusted Hot Wheels car, valued at $140,000, which will be auctioned off later this year. The car was created to celebrate the production of the 4 BILLIONTH Hot Wheels car and also the beginning of Hot Wheels 40th Anniversary. To say it is beautiful is a massive understatement. But, after gazing at it turning in its steel box for a few minutes, we move on into our first room, which contains the Speed Racer line.

· SPEED RACER: This is one of Mattel’s newest licenses, and, as soon as I heard they had acquired this license, my first thought as: Hot Wheels! And, what do you know, I was right! The Speed Racer line will include 3figures in addition to hot wheels recreations of the main vehicles from the film. In addition, there are Hot Wheels playsets based on each of the major races in the film and a couple of other unique tie-in products. Here is the breakdown of the Speed Racer line. This line is based on the upcoming motion picture, due in theaters on May 9th.

Racing Play

HOT WHEELS® Speed Racer SKY JUMP™ Track Set

The ultimate high-stakes Speed Racer race course, the Sky Jump™ track set is all about huge jumps, awesome stunts and major crashes. See how many cars can fit on the track for the ultimate stunt jump that catapults the cars high into the air, then shoots them back around the track. Or, try to crash them in the middle to create a huge pile-up. Either way, kids can capture the thrill of the final Grand Prix race where it’s all about major jumps and mayhem. Comes with one exclusive Mach 6 vehicle. Not for use with some Hot Wheels® vehicles. I have seen this in action and it looks unbelievably cool.

ARP: $49.99 Age: 5+ Available: March 2008

HOT WHEELS® Speed Racer Track Set Assortment

Boys can relive their favorite race scenes from the summer 2008 Speed Racer film with an assortment of three track sets, each inspired by one of the film’s hair-raising races. Kids can challenge themselves or race against friends in the treacherous Casa Cristo 5000 Maltese Ice Caves track set, where they can race across the ice sheet to beat the competition. In the Fuji Helexicon track set, they can compete against an opponent to jump to the finish line in spectacular fashion to win the race. In the Thunderhead Raceway track set, kids can race in an uphill battle to knock each other off and win the checkered flag. Each set includes one exclusive 1:64 die-cast vehicle. Not for use with some Hot Wheels® vehicles.

ARP: $19.99 Age: 4+ Available: March 2008


Every boy will aspire to own the signature Mach 6 based on the upcoming summer film, “Speed Racer.” The vehicle comes with a 5-inch scaled Speed Racer action figure and the ultimate in cool gadgetry. Speed jumps into his car, snaps on his protective canopy and is battle ready. The Mach 6 has signature “jump-jacks” to pop up on two wheels, then with a pull of the spoiler, the car transforms for battle with spring loaded missiles, features lights and sounds, and the “homing bird” projectile. Once Speed conquers evil with his awesome arsenal, kids can push the spoiler back down and continue on to win the race.

ARP: $34.99 Age: 4+ Available: March 2008

HOT WHEELS® Speed Racer 1:64th Scale Vehicle Assortment

From the “Speed Racer” movie, this collectible 1:64 scale assortment includes 24 cars depicting all of the film’s great racing vehicles. Each vehicle includes an accessory that gives the car a special advantage, which can be removed for use on Hot Wheels® track sets. Not for use with some Hot Wheels™ sets.

ARP: $2.49 Age 3+ Available: March 2008

HOT WHEELS® Speed Racer Stunt Vehicle Assortment

These vehicles are all about recreating cool stunts from the film. The different stunts include a side flip, a front flip, a jump, and a break-away pod that splits the vehicle in two. These stunts are available with up to four of the coolest vehicles: Mach 5, Mach 6, Racer X and the GRX, offering more than14 different vehicle-and-stunt combinations.

ARP: $9.99 Age 5+ Available: March 2008

HOT WHEELS® Speed Racer Deluxe Battle Vehicle Assortment

Building on the deep variety of the Basic Battle Vehicle Assortment, Speed Racer fans will strive to collect the Speed Racer Deluxe Battle Vehicles. Each vehicle comes with a 3-inch figure and special features that bring the film’s awesome action and bold battles to life. Each vehicle includes racing lights, a mini ejection vehicle, or double surprise weaponry. This assortment also includes both versions of Speed’s racing machine, the Mach 5 and the Mach 6.

ARP: $14.99 Age: 4+ Available: March 2008

Radio Controlled

HOT WHEELS® R/C Speed Racer Radio Control MACH 5

Car enthusiasts and Speed Racer fans will love this 1:12 scale version of the Mach 5. Styled after the live-screen action version, this oversized Mach 5 comes with full-function R/C controls and performance tires for amazing R/C racing action.

ARP: $44.99 Age: 6+ Available: Fall 2008

Role Play


The ultimate role-play item, the Speed Racer helmet features roaring sounds and movie phrases that will bring kids’ “Speed Racer” fantasies to life. Power up the helmet and hear motion-activated sounds by leaning forward, backwards, and side-to-side. Buttons on the side of the helmet trigger movie featured sounds and phrases. The variety of realistic breaking and crashing noises along with the helmet’s accurate styling make this the must-have role-play toy for all Speed Racer fans!

ARP: $24.99 Age: 4+ Available: March 2008


HOT WHEELS® Speed Racer Mach 6 and Battle Rig

Play out all the action from the “Speed Racer” film with this slick-racing rig that transforms into a battle ready playset. Simply fold out the back, lift the 12-inch tower, and reveal the Mach 6. Customize the Mach 6 with sawblades, machine guns and more to fight evil. The Rig features awesome surprise battle features like hubcap saws and projectile grill guns. Works with all 3-inch basic figures (sold separately, subject to availability).

ARP: $24.99 Age: 4+ Available: March 2008


U.B. FUNKEYS™ Speed Racer Starter Kit

Kids can bring the high octane thrills of the “Speed Racer” film to the world of U.B. Funkeys™ with the Speed Racer Starter Kit. U.B. Funkeys™ is the exciting PC-based computer game where kids explore a world filled with games, quests, and surprises. The themed kit includes Speed Racer and Chim-Chim™ Funkeys characters to explore Royalton Racing Complex. Each figure that kids collect unlocks more games and areas to explore in the Racing Complex.

ARP: $19.99 Age: 8+ Available: March 2008

Stepping through an archway, we leave the world of Speed Racer and enter the main Boys Entertainment showroom, the first thing on my left as I enter is the new DC Superheroes line, so that’s what we’re covering next,

· DC UNIVERSE: This is one of the lines I was most excited to see, and I will tell you, in all honesty, I could not control my enthusiasm when I finally saw what Mattel had up their sleeve this year for this license. Mattel and the Four Horseman have really taken this license and run with it, producing the quality and quantity of products that everyone had hoped for. Characters that have never gotten figures before will be getting figures. However, the big surprise from Mattel was the announcement that, in addition to their 6” line, they will be introducing a 3line of articulated figures, which will be available as both single carded figures and 3 pack box sets. Here is a rundown of Mattel’s plans for their newly acquired DC Universe line.

DC Universe™ Infinite Heroes™


For the first time, DC Comics figures will be offered in the 3-3/4 -inch scale, providing collectors with a new scale of their favorite heroes and villains. With vibrant colors and impressive details, this line features classic favorites as well as a number of lesser-known characters from some of DC Comics’ most exciting storylines. (3pk assortment also available.) Single figures shown at Toy Fair included Batman, Catwoman, Professor Zoom, Power Girl, Killer Croc, Adam Strange, The Question, a Gotham City Riot Cop, HUSH!, and BATWOMAN! Three packs shown at Toy Fair include: 2 Gotham City SWAT Officers and COMMISSIONER GORDON! , Green Arrow, Black Canary and Green Lantern, Supergirl, Bizarro and Wonder Girl, and Hawkman and 2 Thanagarian Soldiers. These figures are all sculpted by the Four Horseman, so it goes without saying that these look amazing. For the first time you will truly be able to recreate a battle between Batman and GI JOE.

ARP: Single: $5.99 Ages: 4+ Available: July 2008

ARP: 3pk: $15.99 Ages: 4+ Available: July 2008

DC Universe Classic Figures

DC UNIVERSE™ Classics Figure Assortment

Designed with the collector in mind, these classic figures feature characters from the entire DC Comics universe. Each figure stands approximately 6-inches tall and features highly detailed authentic sculpts and superior articulation. Each character comes complete with a piece of a figure to collect and assemble to create a bonus character. These new figures will be introduced in five waves of five figures each throughout the year. Figures shown at Toy Fair include: Deathstroke (with unmasked head variant), incredible new versions of Robin and Nightwing (in their current, comics accurate costumes), Sinestro (with variant Sinestro Corps costume), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Harley Quinn, Firestorm, Aquaman, Black Manta and Superman Red and Blue. This line will also have two new build-a-figures: Gorilla Grodd and Solomon Grundy.

ARP: $10.00 Ages: 4+ Available: Now

· THE DARK KNIGHT: Ok, I won’t lie. This is the reason I wanted to come to Mattel more than any other line they had. For those of you living under a rock, The Dark Knight is the sequel to Batman Begins and reintroduces to the Batman film franchise the Caped Crusader’s deadliest enemy, the Joker. Played by the late Heath Ledger, the Joker has been reinvented, with a fresh new take that pays homage to the creepy, psychologically disturbing origins of the character, and also takes inspiration for the iconic comic story “The Killing Joke.” The Dark Knight stars Christian Bale, the late Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhal, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman and is in theaters on July 18th. Mattel has a HUGE product line for the Dark Knight, including figures in 2 different scales. Here is a look at the highly anticipated Dark Knight toy line. NOTE: There are toys int his line not shown at Toy Fair, but that have been announced. Information about this items will be made available as it is released.

Role Play

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT™ Rapid Fire Utility Belt with Cape

Boys can now become The Dark Knight™ with the Rapid Fire Utility Belt with Cape. This role play toy features a rapid-fire motorized blaster with foam projectiles that feeds into the buckle. Also includes a basic Batman™ cape.

ARP: $19.99 Age: 4+ Available: June 2008


Boys can complete the transformation into The Dark Knight™ with the Batman™ Wayne Tech™ Mega Cape Accessory. With one touch, the cape rapidly expands to a 5-inch wingspan just like The Dark Knight™. When finished, kids can quickly retract the cape back into a convenient back harness for run-around play. Also includes a Batman™ cowl for the ultimate Gotham City™ adventure.

ARP: $39.99 Age: 4+ Available: June 2008


From deep within the mysterious Batcave™ comes the Flying Bat. The Flying bat perches silently – waiting for you to wake it up. Once you’re ready for some action, simply press a button on the Flying Bat and its eyes will glow and it starts to make chittering noises. Press a button on the perch and the bat releases itself and begins to take flight, surely scaring anyone nearby. No Batcave™ playroom is complete without one! Finally, a Batman line that actually has a BAT in it!

ARP: $19.99 Age: 6+ Available: August 2008



The Dark Knight™ Playset allows boys to relive action packed adventures from the upcoming 2008 summer film, “The Dark Knight.” This Batmobile™ transforms into four different environments for Batman™ to battle the villains of Gotham City™. This playset allows for complete, immersive play, allowing boys to reenact all the scenes from the film. This looks really cool. Much better than the Batman Begins one. I like the “fold out” design of this one.

ARP: $39.99 Age: 4+ Available: June 2008

*Name not final



Styled after one of Batman’s coolest vehicles in the upcoming film “The Dark Knight,” the BatPod™ Vehicle is engineered to amaze and includes a “high tech” launcher with a massive flywheel motor for extra power and awesome stunt action. It also includes a deployable wheelie bar and a poseable Batman™ figure that can be removed from the vehicle.

ARP: $19.99 Age: 4+ Available: August 2008

Action Figures

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT™ Movie Masters Assortment

The Movie Masters assortment will consist of 6” figures, made to scale with the DC Universe line, of the main characters in the film. These figures are all sculpted by the Four Horsemen. Figures shown include: Batman, Gotham City Thug, Unmasked Batman and, of course, The Joker, with an eerie Heath Ledger likeness. Each of these figures will come with “Crime Scene Evidence.” This is a line for the collector’s market. The figures look beautiful. No release or price information is available yet, but I hope to have that information soon.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT™ Basic Figure Assortment

This assortment includes 20 unique poseable 5.5-inch action figures from Batman: The Dark Knight™ film. Each figure comes with an accessory, allowing boys to collect them all and re-enact all the action from the film. Figures shown include several different Batman figures and the Joker, in addition to a movie-style version of Firefly and a new sculpt of Scarecrow.

ARP: $6.99 Age: 4+ Available: May 2008

Items not shown include the new version of the Batmobile, though they did show us Bruce Wayne’s transforming Sports car, which comes with four inch Bruce Wayne and Batman figures, and the figures for the Scarecrow, and, of course, Two-Face. I am confident however, as the release gets closer, we will see information about these products released. I know however, that I personally will be picking up quite a few pieces of this line. I am very excited about this movie. To the right of the Dark Knight, strangely enough, is Kung Fu Panda.

· KUNG FU PANDA: For the first time, Mattel has partnered with DreamWorks™ as the master toy licensee for the upcoming animated film, “Kung Fu Panda™.” Bringing the comedy and action of the film to life, Mattel has developed a fun and interactive line of toys. Hitting theaters June 2008, “Kung Fu Panda™” is about a lazy panda, Po, who must beat all odds and become a Kung Fu Master in order to save the Valley of Peace from a villainous snow leopard, Tai Lung™. Set in Ancient China, Po, the unlikely hero, enters the world of Kung Fu and turns it upside down, ultimately becoming a Kung Fu hero. Featuring a star-studded cast of voices including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman and Lucy Lu, the story of Kung Fu Panda™ is a heart-warming tale of a Panda who learns when you believe in yourself, anything is possible. The line is every bit as funny and whimsical as the film sounds. Here is the rundown on the Kung Fu Panda line.

Kung Fu Panda™ Kung Fu Kickin’Po

Kids can bring home everything they love about Po with the Kung Fu Panda™ Kung Fu Kickin’™ Po. Po’s personality, humor and cool Kung Fu moves make this the ultimate action electronic plush toy. The Kung Fu Kickin’™ Po includes round house kick moves, gadgets and more than 50 fun phrases from the film. I have seen this in action and it is hilarious, it sings, dances, twirls nunchuks and more.

ARP: $34.99 Age: 5+ Available: March 2008

Po’s Power Paws

Put on your sparring mitts and get ready to rock. Po’s Power Paws let you be Po from the Kung Fu Panda™ movie, recreating his training and his epic battle with Tai Lung™. Built-in sensors let Po guide you through the training and allow him to know what your hands are doing. When your training is complete, get ready for the ultimate showdown with Tai Lung™!

ARP: $24.99 Age: 8+ Available: May 2008

In addition, there will be traditional action figures of all the major characters from the movie in different sizes and accessories and playsets for the figures.

Our Mattel tour is just about over, but I can’t resist one last product viewing. Two days before the show began, Mattel sent out a press release about the new Elmo that they would be debuting at Toy Fair. It is called Elmo Live and it may be one of the most amazing things I have seen at Toy Fair this year. Here’s the scoop.

· ELMO LIVE: Here is the official press release on Elmo Live.


Industry Pundits Crown ELMO LIVE as “Industry Changing Toy”

(NEW YORK, NY) February 14, 2008 — Fisher-Price® Friends {a division of Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT)} sets the bar for innovative development with the introduction of the most engaging and entertaining Elmo product ever at Toy Fair 2008. Not just another in the long line of popular plush Elmo products, Elmo Live elevates feature plush into a new dimension of realistic, interactive play.

Is it Live or is it Elmo Live? In this truly life-like creation, for the first time ever, Elmo seems to actually be speaking as his mouth opens and closes just like the real Muppet, Elmo, from Sesame Street. His mannerisms are right on target as his head bobbles back and forth as he speaks. He waves his arms, sits and stands, even crosses his legs, all the while telling stories and jokes, singing songs and playing games. Children can activate the magic with a tickle or a squeeze of Elmo’s foot, tummy, back or nose.

“Initial reaction from industry insiders has been so strong and so decisive – even greater than the initial response to T.M.X.™ Elmo two years ago — that we just couldn’t keep this a secret and realized this story must be told now,” says Neil Friedman, president of Mattel Brands.

Toy Wishes contributing editor Chris Byrne, aka The Toy Guy®, calls Elmo Live an industry changing toy. “Elmo Live is way too innovative and exciting to keep secret!” he says. “The level of technology and reality is industry changing to be sure, but even as amazing and awe-inspiring as that may be to adults and even as that may create a new standard for interactive plush, Fisher-Price hasn’t forgotten that the people who really need to be wowed are the preschoolers who adore Elmo. Elmo Live delivers a rich play experience that is engaging and interactive. It’s as close to being with Elmo in the fur as any toy has ever been!”

This is the most life-like Elmo ever developed, according to Fisher-Price vice president of marketing Gina Sirard. “With today’s technology we’ve been able to make the magic between child and toy even more seamless and exciting than ever,” she says. “This Elmo is packed with unprecedented movement and an abundance of creative content, never before featured in a plush product.”

“The other Elmo toys made you laugh and dance, but Elmo Live really touches you. It’s so amazingly alive,” says Jim Silver, editor in chief, Toy Wishes Magazine.

Elmo Live will go on sale at retail nationwide on October 14, 2008, according to Ms. Sirard. “Though we are presenting a sneak peek of the product this week, there is so much more to Elmo Live that will be fully revealed as we approach the on-shelf date,” she explains, noting that pre-sale opportunities will be available in the spring for consumers to reserve Elmo Live for delivery on October 14.

Elmo Live, for children 18 months and up, will retail for approximately $59.99.

It’s astounding. It’s amazing. It’s incredible. I could type about it all day, but the only way to really do it justice is to see what it does for yourself. So, if you want to know what the big deal is, follow this link:

That’s it for Mattel, between the Dark Knight and DC Universe figures, I should be very happy camper this year. I would like to thank Dan Salazar at Mattel for his assistance.