Reebok teams with Universal Brand Development to launch Kung Fu Panda footwear and apparel line up

Reebok has partnered with DreamWorks Animation and Universal Brand Development to unveil its new Kung Fu Panda full-family footwear and apparel collection. Celebrating the hit franchise, the collection if available globally from Reebok’s online platform by January 8th.

The range will then be made available through wider roll-out in time for Lunar New Year on January 15th.

Each of the Reebok x Kung Fu Panda collection’s key footwear model will embodie unique themes from the franchise, its hero Po, and the styles and teachings of the supporting cast.

Instapump Fury Dragon Warrior embodies Po’s evolution from Panda to Dragon Warrior. Prominent features include a furry suede upper with dragon graphic, a textile Pump bladder, a collar lining that ties back to his belt and waist band, and a sockliner that pays homage to fortune cookies and Po’s journey to becoming a kung fu master.

Meanwhile, the Club C Master Your Style model brings together each of the film’s six Kung Fu Masters’ unique wardrobes via a tapestry of materials and colours, while Club C Calling All Zodiacs celebrates the unique ideologies and mentalities of each of the film’s seven Kung Fu Masters: Po, Tigress, Monkey, Crane, Viper, Mantis, and Shifu.

Finally, the Zig Kinetica Master of Tai Chi model celebrates the Soul – a key theme for Lunar New Year – encouraging wearers to believe in themselves and to trust their inner spirit.

Complementing the robust footwear lineup and enabling fans to fully master their own style, the Reebok x Kung Fu Panda collection offers a full range of complementary apparel including hoodies, crew sweaters, short sleeve tees and sweatpants honoring Po’s journey to become the Dragon Warrior.

Finally, in true Reebok fashion, fans will receive footwear in elevated Lunar New Year-inspired packaging. The box’s red top symbolizes the red envelopes exchanged at holiday celebrations, while the base presents an action-packed graphic mashup bringing together themes from the Kung Fu Panda franchise.

Inside, fans will find product wrapped in tissue paper that nods to Po’s apprenticeship at his father’s noodle shop, but more literally provides a restaurant-style menu of Reebok x Kung Fu Panda footwear offerings.

AR Discs is bringing Universal DreamWorks characters into the collectable augmented reality market

Augmented Reality has found its way into the hobbies and collectables market, thanks to an innovative new partnership between Universal DreamWorks and the tech toy developer, AR Discs.

Characters from the hit film franchises such as Shrek, Trolls, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, and more are among the first to make the leap into the tech-collectable field thanks to a global licensing partnership with NBC that sees AR Discs launch into the market with clout.

A series of collectable discs, AR Discs make use of augmented reality via the free corresponding app to spring to life. Users simply hover a smart device over each disc to see its character come to life in high definition content. The range has been launched to bridge the gap between virtual and physical play.

Not only can AR Discs be collected in an album and traded with friends, but the interlocking discs can also be used to create 3D models and displays.

The new range now marks its entry to the market armed with a global licensing partnership with NBC Universal, celebrating 25 years of DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind some of the world’s biggest animated feature films, including Shrek, Trolls, How To Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Boss Baby, Madagascar, Home, The Croods, and Abominable.

Each AR Disc is emblazoned with an image of a DreamWorks character and features embedded augmented reality content which comes to life through the free app.

William Byron, director at AR Discs Ltd, said: “We are very excited to launch AR Discs and be part of the new generation of toys that bridge the gap between virtual and physical play.

“Kids are seeking more of an experience from their collectibles today. By creating engaging content that users can experience through the app, we’re breaking the mould whilst respecting and encouraging traditional hands-on-play.”

There are 80 DreamWorks AR Discs to collect, including two gold limited editions. AR Discs are sold in a Starter Pack containing a colourful Collector Folder and two Discs (RRP £8.99) and Single Packs (RRP £1.99), are suitable for ages six and upwards.

Launching with the DreamWorks license this November, AR Discs Ltd will be following up with more licensed products in 2021 with partnerships with the Royal Air Force and Nickelodeon already in place.

Royal Mail celebrates 100 years of Rupert Bear with collection of eight limited edition stamps

The Royal Mail has partnered with DreamWorks Animation and Universal Brand Development to issue a set of eight stamps marking the 100th anniversary of Rupert the Bear. Each of the stamps will feature the artwork of Alfred Bestall, the author and illustrator of more than 270 Rupert stories after he took on the role in 1935.

The set is made up of four pairs of stamps, each pair featuring two illustrations from one of Rupert’s adventures. Stories featuring in the collection include the 1944 tale Rupert’s Rainy Adventure, the 1952 Rupert and the Mare’s Nest, Rupert And The Lost Cuckoo created in 1963, and the 1947 festive tale Rupert’s Christmas Tree.

Rupert made his first appearance in the Daily Express on November, 8, 1920. Herbert Tourtel, who wrote the stories, was an editor at the Express, and his wife, Mary, was the illustrator.

Many of the early Rupert stories were inspired by fairyland characters and sometimes featured medieval knights, ogres and witches. Soon after the stories appeared, they started being reprinted in books. The Rupert Little Bear Library Series ran to 46 issues and was published periodically between 1928 and 1936. 

 In total, Mary illustrated 89 stories, which were later reprinted in books. She retired in 1935 due to her failing eyesight.

Her replacement was Alfred Bestall, an established artist with Punch and other magazines, who also illustrated children’s books. Bestall wrote and illustrated 224 Rupert stories for the newspaper and provided 47 other stories, mostly for the Rupert Annuals. In 1985 he was awarded the MBE for his work. He died the following year.

Bestall developed the Rupert tradition of featuring a rhyming couplet beneath each picture, plus a few lines of story text to accompany them. His couplets often ended with the promise of a mystery – a cliffhanger to leave children curious to see how the story would unfold, and eager to read the next day’s paper.

Bestall also introduced new characters to add variety, including Lily Duckling, Gregory Guineapig, the Old Professor, Bingo and the Imps of Spring and Autumn. Most Rupert stories commence with the bear leaving home and end with him returning after an adventure in time for tea to tell his mother of his experiences. 

While books of reprinted Rupert stories appeared in the 1920s, it was decided that an annual publication would appear every Christmas. It was titled, Monster Rupert. The first volume was issued in 1931 and continued up to 1934, ceasing after Mary Tourtel retired.

The Rupert Annual was revived in 1936, featuring Bestall’s illustrations. From 1942 to 1949, the Annuals had card covers due to wartime, but board covers returned in 1950, when over 1.7 million copies were printed. Such was the popularity of the annuals, that even in paper rationing during the Second World War, the government sanctioned sufficient paper for the annuals to be printed, to help boost the morale of the public.

Rupert Bear annuals have been published every year since 1936. In 1970, The Adventures of Rupert Bear aired on ITV. It ran for seven years, with over 150 episodes produced over four series.

Philip Parker, Royal Mail, said: “We celebrate the 100th birthday of Rupert, one of the most-loved characters in children’s literature. He has introduced successive generations of children to a wonderful make-believe world of magic and adventure.” 

The full set of eight stamps, available in a Presentation Pack, retails at £10.00. The stamps and a range of collectible products are available from today at:

Mr Magoo makes his move on the US market thanks to DreamWorks deal for Xilam

Mr Magoo is making his move on the US market, thanks to a new deal struck between the award-winning French animation studio Xilam Animation and DreamWorks Animation’s Classic Media.

Under the deal, DreamWorks has exclusively picked up all US TV, home video, and VOD rights to season one of the new animated series. It will be available from today on CBS All Access streaming service.

Marc du Pontavice at Xilam Animation, said: “Since debuting in fall 2018, Mr Magoo has drawn strong ratings and captured the hearts of kids and their families around the world. The original version of Mr Magoo was first created in the US so we’re delighted DreamWorks has now come on board to introduce local audiences to our fresh take on this wonderfully candid and optimistic character, back where it all began 70 years ago.”

Originally commissioned by France Télévisions,Mr Magoo currently airs on Turner’s Boomerang channel in France, Africa, the Middle East, Israel, Turkey and Nordics, Cartoon Network (Asia), Discovery Kids (Latin America), Super RTL (Germany), VRT and RTBF (Belgium), SIC K (Portugal), RTVE (Spain), RTS (Switzerland), CITV (UK), Discovery and DEA Kids (Italy), among other channels.

This latest deal expands Xilam’s US footprint which includes its recently announced Netflix commission for the CGI animated preschool series Oggy Oggybased on the company’s hit global franchise Oggy and the Cockroaches.

Netflix also acquired worldwide rights to the studio’s critically acclaimed first adult animated feature I Lost My Body, which launched on November 29 and received the International Critics’ Week Grand Prize at Cannes Film Festival, Cristal for a Feature Film and Audience Award at Annecy and Grand Prize at the Animation is Film Festival last year.

I Lost My Body has also just been nominated in the Animated Feature Film category for the Academy Awards 2020. Additionally, Xilam is in production on Disney+ original Chip ‘n’ Dale, which will feature the return of Disney’s much-loved chipmunk troublemakers in a non-verbal, classic style comedy.