Toy Fair '07 winds up with feature buzz

By Gail Schiller
The Hollywood Reporter
Feb 15, 2007

NEW YORK -- In a year marked by transition and questions about the future of Toy Fair, entertainment-themed toys once again brought excitement to the show amid expectations that three proven film franchises -- "Spider-Man 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Shrek the Third" -- will generate blockbuster toy sales this year.

"Transformers," the first live-action movie based on the popular 23-year-old toy line from Hasbro, also had Toy Fair abuzz this week, as did Disney Channel's runaway hits "High School Musical" and "Hannah Montana."

"There's a lot more buzz this year at Toy Fair, and the biggest reason why is the entertainment properties," said Scott Goldberg, promotions manager at toy company Zizzle, Disney's master toy licensee for "Pirates." "It's a summer of threes -- 'Spider-Man,' 'Pirates' and 'Shrek' are the most anticipated."

While not expected to be in quite the same league as "Spider-Man 3" from Marvel/Sony Pictures or Disney's "Pirates," other film-based toy lines at Toy Fair this year with strong sales potential included "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," "Ghost Rider," "Ratatouille," "The Golden Compass," "The Simpsons Movie," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Bratz: The Movie." Still other movies with product showcased at Toy Fair this week included Disney's "Enchanted," New Line Cinema's "Hairspray," Sony's "Surf's Up," DreamWorks Animation's "Bee Movie," 20th Century Fox's "Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!" and "Beowulf" from Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures.

There also are new toy lines for "Star Wars" commemorating the 30th anniversary of the most successful film franchise of all time and for Disney's "Cars," which according to the studio sold $900 million worth of merchandise in fiscal 2006 and is expected to sell close to $1.5 billion in its fiscal 2007 year. "Cars" won property of the year at the Toy Industry Assn.'s Toy of the Year awards ceremony Saturday night. "Star Wars" guru George Lucas was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame at the event.
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