Wow, slow news week am I right? With absolutely nothing at all of note taking place in world news, it's unsurprising that many of you were furiously refreshing Licensing.biz in the hope of some upbeat industry news this week. So let's take a look at the Top 10 stories that caught our readers' attention on the week ending February 3rd 2017.
First up is the news that an official Betty Boop restaurant is to open in Tokyo, Japan. The '50s style American diner will slot nicely into Tokyo's neon leisure districts, featuring vibrant imagery of the iconic character with exclusive merchandise on sale.
Another American icon the Japanese are highly fond of is Snoopy, as evidenced by the one of the kind Snoopy Museum found in Tokyo's Roppongi district. The character made headlines this week with the rumour that Iconix is looking to sell the billion-dollar Peanuts franchise along with the highly lucrative Strawberry Shortcake brand, reported by Reuters.
In other cartoon news, Disney's blockbuster animated feature Moana is making it's way to smart devices with a new free-to-play app entitled 'Moana: Island Life'. This writer may have been listening to huge musical number You're Welcome on repeat during his commute, so like many I will probably be tapping away at the tropical paradise on the tube and more than likely missing my stop.
Staying with Disney, the final trailer for the live-action remake of animated classic Beauty & the Beast was dropped yesterday and piqued the interest of many of you readers. The trailer was a thrilling montage of familiar scenes teasing that the film may be darker but still no less enchanting that the original. We can't wait to check out the most heartwarming tale of Stockholm syndrome ever made.
Also revealed was The Disney Store's line-up of licensed products launching alongside the film. The new collection ranges from dolls and stationery to homeware and includes the likes of poseable Belle and the Beast dolls, a golden journal – a replica of the journal used in the live action film, and limited edition products such as a fine china tea-set, featuring Mrs Potts and Chip. Soon I may finally achieve my goal of having every utensil and appliance in my home be a licensed Disney product.
Another family film hitting theatres in 2017 is the Emoji movie, who's brand made news again with the reveal that Bravado will be the exclusive licensing and merchandising partner in UK, ROI, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Bravado, if you're reading this, we'd love to receive some poo emoji merchandise, just make sure you address it to my editor. For the Emoji Movie, rights are being handled by Rocket Licensing, who also revealed their first partners this week in the form of Centum Books, Dreamtex, Pyramid International and more.
For some more wholesome children's viewing, stay tuned for Hoho's Shane the Chef animated series set to debut on Channel 5's MIlkshake! Oliver Ellis, managing director at Hoho explained that the show would explore "fresh food and healthy eating", so don't expect McDonalds Happy Meal tie-in toys anytime soon.
Elsewhere this week, 20th Century Fox announced some sweeping changes taking effect in its consumer products division. These moves will see a new renewed focus for the firm with Kirk Bloomgarden appointed to the role of SVP, international operations, joining from Saban Brands with the responsibility of overseeing the division’s business outside of the US.
Finally, Elmer the Patchwork elephant stampeded into Licensing.biz headlines this week with the announcement that the brand has partnered with Sainsbury'safter signing deals with several other licensees for apparel and plush. This is a great move for the brand, however the line is currently restricted to toddlers. This writer has been wanting to display his passion for Elmer the Elephant for some years now and it seems like yet again, his dreams have been snubbed.