Toys & TV dent toy company Playmates to produce a line of toys that would hit the market in 1988. At the same time, both Surge Licensing and Playmates struck a deal in late 1987 with Sachs Family Entertainment and Murakami, Wolf, Swenson Films (MWS) to create a five-part animated mini-series based on the original comic book. The series would coincide with the introduction of the Playmates toy line. By 1989, the TMNT property had already become a big success. The toys were selling well, the TV series aired five days a week in the fall of 1988, and licensing deals were pouring in, for everything from T-shirts to coloring books. Plus, the comic books were selling so well that three different comic book publishers could hardly keep up with the demand. In 1990, the first TMNT feature film
released from Golden Harvest Films and New Line Cinema. The film grossed more than $200 million in the U.S. and Canada, and more than $200 million through worldwide distribution, paving the way for sequel films and massive home entertainment sales. That same year, the Playmates toy line generated more than $500 million in sales. After additional feature films and another animated series, the TMNT brand was sold to Nickelodeon, which planned a full brand relaunch in 2012, leading with a new CGI-animated series, now airing its fourth season. The Turtles returned to the big screen in 2014 with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a 3-D action-comedy adventure that earned more than $493 million worldwide. A sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, will hit theaters in June, accompanied by a full toy line from Playmates.
TMNT proved that comic books provide wonderful source material for not only movies and TV, but also for toys and other consumer products, and that it’s not just the old classic superheroes that have potential for greatness. Lesser-known creative properties developed from the minds of independent artists are worth pursuing. These characters have achieved a great deal for more than three decades, and property owner Nickelodeon will pull out all of the stops to ensure their relevance to future generations. » Stuart Fischer previously worked at Universal Studios and Hanna-Barbera Productions. Fischer has written books including Kids’ TV: The First 25 Years and The Hanna-Barbera Story: The Life and Times of TV’s Greatest Animation Studio.
Nickelodeon re-launched the TMNT brand in 2012 with a new CGI-animated TV series. The basic action figures featured more than 12 points of articulation and were the most highly detailed figures ever made.
Playmates Toys launched a new collection of products inspired by the upcoming film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, set to hit theaters on June 3. The 5-inch basic action figures are highly detailed, fully poseable, and uniquely sculpted to capture the personalities and distinctive appearance of each Turtle.
TOYBOOK.COM | may/june 2016 | THE TOY BOOK 101
Many of us are traveling to Denver for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA’s) Marketplace & Academy trade show, and in...