Ravensburger debuts Minecraft jigsaw puzzles

Ravensburger, a leading publisher of puzzles, board games and toys, is partnering with Minecraft to translate the much-loved online universe into jigsaw puzzle form for the first time ever. The new line features both adult and kids puzzles and is now available for pre-order in the U.S. on Amazon.

“Ravensburger is proud to have been selected as Minecraft’s global puzzle partner,” says Thomas Kaeppeler, President of Ravensburger North America. “It was important for us to ensure the puzzles had authentic landscapes that capture what people love about Minecraft to help invoke an immersive feeling of being in the game.”

The Minecraft puzzles allow fans to piece together some of their favourite scenes from the Overworld, visiting different biomes, exploring structures and encountering familiar foes such as mobs. The line includes 3 x 49-pc, 100-pc, 300-pc, 1000-pc and 1500-pc counts and will be officially on-sale starting July 1, 2022. (Ages 5 – 14+ / $14.99 – $34.99 MSRP)

Popular pre-school series Bluey to land on CBeebies next month with UK toy ranges to follow

The Australian smash hit kids’ series, Bluey is landing on CBeebies next month. The channel will be the first free-to-air platform in the UK to broadcast the series which is backed by BBC Studios.

Under the new deal, series one of the hit animated series will air on the channel every day.

Bluey has won multiple awards since its launch on the international market, including an International Emmy Award in the Preschool category in March last year.

Sarah Muller, head of commissioning and acquisitions for BBC Children’s, said: “Bluey is such a warm show, with a charming and recognisable family at its core, that we know our audience will take to their hearts. Kids love how Bluey is all about play, but it’s also genuinely funny so the whole family can watch it together.

“The animation from Ludo Studio is world-class, so we’re completely delighted to be the UK’s free-to-air home for Bluey.”

Henrietta Hurford-Jones, executive producer for Bluey and director of children’s content partnerships at BBC Studios, added: “Developed with heart, humour, and an honest take on modern family life, it is so wonderful to see Bluey fast becoming a favourite show of children and parents globally.

“I’m delighted that we’re now able to reach a new audience here in the UK by bringing the show to CBeebies.”

BBC Studios exclusively distributes the show worldwide where it is attracting high ratings in several markets and on various platforms. In Australia, Bluey was the number one children’s programme on metro broadcast television in 2020 and is the number one series ever on ABC iview with over 480 million views across series one and two.

In the US, Bluey hit 16 million total views on Disney Channel and Disney Junior in Q4 2019. In Q1 of last year, the series was a top six Disney Junior series with children and girls aged two to five, and a top five series with boys aged two to five.

Bluey is also available in the UK on the streaming platform Disney+ and its YouTube channel has over 7.5 million hours of watch time and over 232 million views.

A global licensing programme for the series is already in place, with best-in-class partners lined up for the UK market with products set to hit retail in months following the show’s launch on CBeebies.

Global master toy partner Moose Toys and puzzles licensee Ravensburger will debut their respective Bluey lines in Autumn 2021.

Additionally, Blues / Dennicci recently joined the brand’s growing softlines portfolio as daywear partner, alongside Aykroyds, TDP, William Lamb, Dreamtex, and Roy Lowe. Immediate Media has worldwide rights for Bluey magazines, its first UK issue will hit newsstands in summer 2021.

Global master publishing partner (excluding China) Penguin Random House will launch books in the UK later this year.

In its home market Australia, Bluey recently won three gongs at the Australian Toy Association (ATA) Awards, including ‘Pre-School License of the Year’ for the second year in a row, Bluey: Big Backyard was the highest selling book of 2020 and Bluey magazine was the number one children’s magazine.

In the US, Bluey is the number one new license in the super plush category and was the number two top new growth property in 202o.

ALIEN, Disney Gargoyles and Taco Bell lead Ravensburger’s latest gaming portfolio

ALIEN, Disney Gargoyles, and a fully-licensed Taco Bell party game are among a line-up of new launches to be hitting the scene courtesy of Ravensburger for 2021, following what the US outfit of the global enterprise has billed as an ‘incredible last year.’

With a games division that continues to grow its breadth of titles and licensed partnerships, Ravensburger is continuing to explore new terrains in board gaming through impactful and engaging IP licensed titles.

Florian Baldenhofer, executive vice president, Ravensburger North America, told ToyNews: “Ravensburger had an incredible year last year. We’re so proud of our team; our games division continues to grow and find IPs that we can creatively translate to board games.

“We’re excited about the games in our 2021 lineup, which includes a number of fan-favorite IPs like Gargoyles and ALIEN, along with pop culture icons like Taco Bell and Pusheen. Our customers look to Ravensburger for immersive games and our team excels at finding the right balance between capturing and creating engaging gameplay.”

Leading the pack of a planned release of more than 275 products this year from Ravensburger, BRIO, Wonder Forge and ThinkFun is the officially licensed ALIEN: Fate of Nostromo, a board game adaptation of the cult classic sci-fi franchise.

With executive officer Kane dead, and the Alien stalking the halls of the Nostromo, players must work together in a cooperative strategy game to craft items, fulfill objectives, and compete one of five final missions, all while moving to avoid the ever-present Alien.

The title is swiftly followed by Disney Gargoyles: Awakening, based on the ‘90s Disney cartoon and another co-op game in which players take on the role of one of the heroes of the show to defeat Xanatos or Demona in one of four scenarios. Battle is done on a 3D cityscape board showing Manhattan as it was depicted in the cartoon.

Meanwhile, Taco Bell Party Pack Card Game sees players gather menu items to feed and satisfy their Crew’s specific cravings, while Marvel Eye Found It! Card Game is the latest in the Eye Found It series that has now sold over three million copies worldwide.

Ravensburger’s initial 2021 gaming line-up is completed by Mickey and Friends Magical Treats in which players help the gang sort out their lunch by matching colours, food, characters, or the number of stars on each card.

Elsewhere, Brio will also witness new lines enter the market with the BRIO Battery-Operated Steaming Train, the BRIO Mickey Mouse Deluxe Set, and the BRIO SMart Tech Sound Deluxe Set.

Ravensburger’s initial product roll-out for the year is completed with the GraviTrax PROP, a new line extension to the popular GraviTrax series.

Universal Pictures celebrates 35 years of Back to the Future with major campaign

From fan created content, Amazon exclusives, and a whole host of toys, games and more, this year, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment are taking fans of the Back to the Future franchise on an 88mph journey across the categories to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the iconic time-travelling series.

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads… but it may be time to upgrade your television as fans around the world can now look forward to more fan-created content, as well as the 4K Ultra HD release of the Back to the Future Trilogy, so you can watch the moment George McFly lands Biff that world-celebrated bop on the conk in the clearest of definitions.

On top of this, retail exclusives and new consumer products have all been rolling out across the retail space throughout the month, ahead of the fan created Back to the Future Day holiday today, Wednesday, October 21st 2020.

“Very few franchises in Hollywood history have shown the kind of staying power of Back to the Future,” said Bob Gale, co-writer and co-producer of the trilogy.

“To be celebrating 35 years of this iconic film series – through incredible product collections and fan-created content from around the world – is truly a testament to the heart of the film itself. Yes, it’s a sci-fi adventure, but it’s also about family and the fans’ emotional connection to the characters – which is something everyone can relate to, no matter what generation or time-traveling decade you’re from.”

As part of the 35th anniversary celebrations, Universal Brand Development partnered with content creation platform Tongal to invite animators and fans from around the world to recreate their favorite scenes from the original Back to the Future film.

Eight creators – from Uruguay to Ireland to Brazil – were greenlit to bring their ideas to life. The videos have been rolling out on the Back to the Future Facebook fan page over the last few days, with a final compilation video debuting today to coincide with the anniversary.

The fan creators attached to the eight videos (+ one edited compilation) represent a global and diverse fandom of this beloved time-traveling franchise:

  • “Marty’s Dream Amp” by Javier Benia O’Neill – Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
  • “The First Time Traveller” by Elliot Ruddy – Dublin, Ireland
  • “Alien in the Barn” by Crankub Animation Studio (Martí Montañola and Sara Esteban) – Barcelona, Spain
  • “Marty McFly and the Butterfly Effect” by Bethany Borg – Malta
  • “A Visitor in the Night” by Neto Rodrigues and Gabis Fromme – São Paulo, Brazil
  • “Race for Surviving” by Calaveres Animació (Javier Asensio, María Larín, Nicole Herrera and Felipe Armand) – Valencia, Spain
  • “Fateful Punch” by Eric Power – Austin, Tex.
  • “Cardboard Cute-Out” by Team Explainly (Max Naff, Alex Hagan, Derik Smith, Sam Naff, Elizabeth Abreu, Andy Toizer and Ben Jackson) – San Francisco, Calif.
  • Compilation video edited by Firman Machda – Bandung, Indonesia

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates the 35th Anniversary of the groundbreaking first film with Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy available now on 4K Ultra HD for the first time. This collection includes all three movies in collectible discbook packaging.

Additionally, it is loaded with bonus material including an extra disc that comes with over an hour of new content, such as rare audition footage from Hollywood stars Ben Stiller, Kyra Sedgwick, Jon Cryer, Billy Zane, Peter DeLuise and C. Thomas Howell; a tour of the film’s props and memorabilia hosted by co-writer/producer Bob Gale; a sneak peek at the new musical show; a special episode of the popular YouTube Series “Could You Survive The Movies?;” and more.

In celebration of Back to the Future Day today, Amazon will be hosting a dedicated Back to the Future storefront, where fans of all ages can find something that will take them back in time. If fans checkout using smile.amazon.com/backtothefuture and select the “Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research” as your charity choice, a portion of sales will be donated to that charity.

It’s your kids Marty, something has to be done about your kids… and indeed, Universal has that demographic covered. First up, Playmobil has gone back to the future with a model of the iconic DeLorean that features folding wheels for hover mode, doors which open upwards, an illuminated flux capacitor inside and illuminated exterior.

Also included is plutonium, which can be inserted at the back of the vehicle. The play-set is complete with Marty Mcfly and Doc Brown in their outfits from 1985 plus a plutonium case, skateboard, remote control and Einstein, the dog.

Fans can also countdown to the holidays at 88MPH with this the Playmobil Advent Calendar: Back to the Future that includes Marty McFly, Emmett “Doc” Brown, Jennifer Parker, and Biff Tannen, along with a highly detailed model of the Hill Valley courthouse with its iconic clock tower, plus lots of accessories from the classic cult film, all with great attention to detail.

Meanwhile, Hasbro has launched the Transformers Back to the Future Gigawatt figure and IDW Comic Series, bringing together two iconic brands both in figure and comic book form for the first time.

Hasbro is in good company in the toy aisle which also features Funko’s commemorative range of character collectibles, JADA with Back to the Future vehicles and remote- control toys, puzzles from Ravensburger, Rainbow for plush and Rubber Road for adult gifting and toys.

GB Eye and Pyramid are on board for stationery and gifting and GB Eye has also taken the license for posters whilst RMS has pocket money purchases and stocking fillers covered this Christmas.

In soft lines, the HYPE Back to the Future collection nods at the franchise era, the 1980s, with expressive designs in a monochrome and neon colour palette. The HYPE. stamp features enlarged graphics, all-over prints, contrasting flames, and illusion checkerboard with a cyberpunk aesthetic, whilst embracing the ’80s grunge trend.

BBC Studios details raft of UK licensees for Bluey as the pre-school series lands on Disney+

BBC Studio’s popular pre-school animated series, Bluey is making its mark on the UK consumer products space with a new raft of licensees spanning toys, apparel, bedding and accessories as the series makes its arrival on Disney+ this year. Bluey has already been met with a ‘phenomenal response’ in Australia and the US.

Global master toy licensee, Moose Toys, will debut Bluey plush and plastic toys at UK retail in autumn next year, where it will hope to mirror the success it has found in the US and Australian markets, where products have been selling at a record rate.

Lucy Wynn-Jones, head of licensing, Europe, Moose Toys, said: “We are thrilled to bring our toy range for the much-loved Bluey series to fans in the UK. We have no doubt that the toys will be loved by kids big and small.”

The master toy range will coincide with the launch of a line of puzzles from Ravensburger, while a selection of softline partners has also been lined up for the UK. TDP & Aykroyd will deliver on nightwear, swimwear and essentials, Dreamtex will develop bedding and home textiles, William Lamb will launch footwear and bags, and Roy Lowe & Sons will serve up socks.

Rikesh Desai, licensing director for merchandise, partnerships and interactive, BBC Studios, said: “The response to Bluey in Australia and the US has been phenomenal and we’re very excited to introduce the brand’s licensing portfolio to the UK hot on the heels of its arrival on Disney+.”