There is a lot of excitement in store for kids (and the kid is us) in 2017 from Mattel. Read on for the highlights.
Mattel held their annual blogger event for Toy Fair 2017. Here they highlight all the fantastic toys, dolls, cars, games, and more for the coming year. Some are in-house and some are licensed, but everything exuded fun play. The enthusiasm shown by the Mattel reps weren’t surface.
The DC Comics license certainly isn’t being wasted. On the boys side, there will be numerous action figures planned for the comics and live action TV series. Those 6-inch assortments each include a unique piece which can be assembled to build an additional larger character. The action won’t stop there, not with the Justice League Action series of figures based on the new animated series. The toys will be in different scales and each have their own weapons and accessories to expand the collection. With an entire league at their disposal, look forward to a wide selection of heroes and villains to come. And speaking of Justice League, a certain movie of the same name will hit theaters. Expect Mattel to have action figures to coincide with this release. While none were on display, they did bring a fully-functional Batmobile prototype. This thing is remote controlled, with moving tires and steering wheel, moving gun turrets, and actual smoke from the exhaust. The Batmobile will be a very well-received item. Lastly, Mattel is making mini-figures, vehicles, and a playset for ratings juggernaut Teen Titans Go! Like them or not, these toys will print money for Mattel.
On the girl’s side, DC Super Hero Girls continues their success. Hawkgirl and Starfire join the action figure collection, and Frost (of Killer Frost infamy) is the latest doll to make the grade. Added are also a transforming van/bus that fits 5, and a neat locker with Supergirl that showcases her x-ray vision. Like Justice League, the Wonder Woman movie is also getting a series of action figures and dolls. Expect a slew of characters, styles, and expressions for Wonder Woman, Princess Diana, Steve Trevor, Hippolyta, and (spoiler alert) Ares.
Monster High is finally making it a real family affair. The assortments shown includes Draculaura’s father, Lagoona Blue’s sister, among others. They seem to be playing up a more toothless image than the edgier, counter-culture monster style that made them initially stand out. Perhaps their original audience has outgrown Monster High and they are trying to cast a wide net to ensnare parents using a less threatening image. I thought sister brand Ever After High filled that void, but there wasn’t one new doll shown for the brand. That doesn’t bode well for the storybook progeny. As something of an offshoot of those lines, there is a new (unrelated) series called Enchantimals. Each doll is an animal hybrid, whose style and pet reflect the animal they represent.
On the preschool/toddler front, there weren’t really any notable new items in their Imaginext line, except for an incredible Batbot and a Pharaoh’s fortress playset. Both incorporate the power pad technology seen in previous years, and both also have voice-change microphones for role play purposes. The Batbot Xtreme stands over 2 feet tall, with release batcycle through the foot, hollow torso chamber where Batman can be elevated to the head, multiple projectiles, flare-up wings and Rock-Em Sock-Em Robot-style punching fists. The Pharaoh’s fortress includes figures, a lava ball, collapsing bridge, and a sliding façade which reveals a figure-eating striking serpent inside.
Mega Construx is Mattel’s rebranding of the Mega Bloks lines, catering to a more sophisticated and discriminating audience no doubt. The licenses are across the map: American Girl, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Halo, Destiny, Despicable Me 3, and Pokémon, just to name a few. The construction aisle will never be the same. Even with every building brand appearing derivative to Lego, kudos to Mattel for appealing to a markedly older demographic with their properties.
There is a lot to be excited about for Mattel in 2017. This has been the most creative Mattel has been in years with toy execution. They are riding high with WWE and DC, while giving equal love to their flagship Barbie and Monster High brands. It will be interesting to see how well Enchantimals, Wonder Woman, and Justice League performs. If the media is anything like the toys, Mattel has nothing to worry about.