As part of the 110th American International Toy Fair in New York, Disney offered an invite-only look at some of the upcoming toys and clothing to support Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University, in theaters on June 21, 2013. The majority of the products on display were from Spin Master who serves as the master licensee for the film. Spin Master, who recently also began releasing products in support of Monsters Inc., previously created waves in the Disney universe when it served as the master licensee for TRON: Legacy, infusing technology in play that hadn’t been seen before. The tradition continues with Monsters University in which some of its most advanced toys don’t use batteries at all, yet manage to produce detailed and intricate amusing actions just the same.
Among the previewed collection were the Scare Majors featuring Art, Mike Wazowski and Sulley. By squeezing each of the figures’ legs together, the action figures respond with realistic and often humorous movements. The Scare Students figure collection offer a level of poseability along with some creative features respective to each character: Squishy is (naturally) squishable while Mike’s eye can be rotated. Other figures in the first wave include Sulley (in both naked and Oozma Kappa forms), Johnny, Art, Terri & Terry and Randy. Spin Master will also be releasing buddy pack sets of figurines called Scare Pairs. The first wave includes: Squishy, Sulley (both naked as well as Oozma Kappa), Mike Wazowski (both naked and in Monsters University form), Art, Randy, Terri & Terry, Dean Hardscrabble, Carla, Johnny, George Sanderson and Carrie. Also available will be the Roll-A-Scare collection of figures which comically spring to life from a spherical form to full-body and can be used with the Roll-A-Scare Playset, sold separately. Not quite action figure size is the Archie the Scare Pig football-shaped-thing-that-makes-funny-noises-when-you-squeeze-it, whatever it does.
Spin Master really shows off its innovation with the Scare Off Sulley which features several modes of play, allowing Sulley to engage in a scare off with children (scare him enough and he will fall over) along with acting as a room guard. The My Scare Pal Sulley has a few modes of play of his own allowing him to respond accordingly when you give him a squeeze. Meanwhile the innovative (and adjustable) Sulley Monster Mask takes role play to the next level, allowing children to operate the power-less mouth and eyebrows which open/close and raise/lower automatically along with their jaw.
Also on display at the event were Fisher-Price’s Imaginext line of toys which now bring Monsters University to where Carsand Toy Story have also successfully been. In addition to several figurines, Fisher-Price will be introducing three sets which include University Row, the Scare Floor and a CDA truck with agent. All of the sets include interactive elements which help children bring their favorite moments from Monsters University and Monsters Inc. to life. Mike and Sulley plush from Just Play as well as Monsters University shoes from etnies were also on display.
Although Disney Store wasn’t represented, the official Monsters University Campus Store brought a couple of its items to display at the event, though everything shown was already available. We do have it on good authority, however, that the campus store plans on introducing many more items in support of the school/movie as time goes by. As will Disney Store, who will introduce an entire collection including toys, action figures, luggage, apparel and more. One of the more unique items from Disney Store will be the the Monsters University Speak N Scare Action Figures. In tandem with a free digital app, kids can rate their own ‘roar’ or enhance it using different tools. The app can also sync with the action figures to control their scaring actions. Other modes of play include play mode with more than 40 phrases, scare mode with five different sound-activated roars and interactive mode that allows the action figures to converse with one another.
After the event, we were invited up to Spin Master’s booth on the Toy Fair floor to take a sneak peek at even more Monsters University items coming out later this year. Although many of the items are still top secret and we unfortunately can’t share any details yet, there were plenty of upcoming toys that we are pleased to share with you below.
The first item to catch our eye was the ‘Who’s Behind the Door?’ board game. With recognizable game play (think ‘Guess Who?’), the board game adds a bit of an updated twist and — of course — features characters from the film. Although we were unfortunately unable to see it in action, the Scare Simulator Playset brings a touch of the original Monsters Inc. film to the world of play, allowing children to use the included exclusive Sulley figure to learn scaring techniques including ‘shadowing’ in addition to the scare itself. Other more traditional toys include the R/C Monster Truck Sulley, the Monsters University Monster Slingshot, talking flashlights which project an image specific to the character and giggle balls, which rattle off soundbites of the respective character as they roll across the floor.
Just as they have been recently for Monsters Inc., Spin Master will also be producing a line of plush for Monsters University. We caught glimpses of a Sulley in a Monsters University tee, a medium size Art plush and small Shake & Scare plush which produce lines from the film when shaken. Spin Master will also be producing a My Scare Pal Mike which humorously reacts when you pull his arms and legs and poke him in the eye.
Below is a short video of our tour of upcoming Monsters University toys from both the event as well as Spin Master’s booth, followed by a gallery of images of some of the toys we got to play with ahead of their release. The first wave of Monsters University toys are set to hit the shelves on May 10 while many more will be released later this year in the fall.
If you’ve seen at least three advertisements on children’s television lately, you’ve no doubt seen the one for CuddleUppets by Jay@Play. For the uninitiated, CuddleUppets are precisely what the earworm of the jingle says — blankets with puppets. Children can wrap themselves up with the cuddly blanket portion of the CuddleUppets while manipulating the puppet portion with one hand. For your convenience, we’ve embedded the commercial below — you’re welcome!
Beginning this spring, Jay@Play will be releasing an entirely new line of CuddleUppets featuring popular characters from across the Disney brand. Pictured above are Lambie and Hallie from the popular Disney Junior show ‘Doc McStuffins,’ along with Agent P from Disney XD’s ‘Phineas and Ferb.’ Additional characters waiting to hit the shelves include Sulley from Disney/Pixar’s Monsters Inc. and Monsters University, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Also included in the bunch are Marvel’s Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk from Disney XD’s ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ and ‘Avengers Assemble,’ respectfully. While both the Marvel CuddleUppets allow children to manipulate the head, the mouths do not open as they do on other entries in the line.
The Disney CuddleUppets should be hitting the shelves in May and June at most major retailers such as Walmart, Target and Amazon. In addition to CuddleUppets, Jay@Play informs us that they will be producing Disney branded Shamzee pillow cases and that it’s likely the Disney characters will be incorporated into their entire line over time.
Note that packaging featured here is for positioning only (FPO), is not final and thus is subject to change.
While potential film spoilers and the American International Toy Fair often go hand-in-hand, rare is the opportunity that we are able to actually photograph (with permission) new items that contain information not yet disclosed to the public. That said, yesterday we were able to do just that with some supporting merchandise for Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University, just ahead of the new trailer launch at 9 am ET and the full Toy Fair product launch with John Goodman and Billy Crystal which kicks off an hour later, at 10.
Despite their products being highly stylized, Funko brings us our first good look at a Randall Boggs in his younger form. It’s probably not a stretch to imagine that back at Monsters University, the bespectacled Randall — or Randy as he appeared to be called based on other merchandise — may have excelled in the scare program, but not so much in the quad, helping to shape the monster he becomes and his relationships with others in Monsters Inc. Funko will offer POP! vinyl figures and wacky wobblers of Randall, Mike Wazowski and Sulley; Mike and Sulley POP! plushies; and a Sulley 3D bookmark. The ‘top secret’ patches on the pictures Sulley figures is covering the Oozma Kappa fraternity logo, which is ironically odd since that fact has been public since November.
Monogram International, best known for its desk accessories, keychains, banks and other tchotchkes, offers up a slew of small items in support of Monsters University. Items include magnets, a lanyard/badge holder, eye poppers and fingerboards (which reveal Randy’s name as well as art for a character named Johnny).
Lastly for now (and in addition to other Monsters University toys we’ve already shared) is the Monsters University Imaginext collection from Fisher-Price. Building on the success of earlier franchises such as Toy Story and Cars, the Monsters University collection will launch with three sets. Of the three, we were able to preview two: the Child Detection Agency (CDA) vehicle with CDA agent figure and the Scare Floor playset with Mike Wazowski and Sulley figures. The figures appear as they do in Monsters Inc, but we are told this is still considered Monsters University as there is overlap between the two films. The third playset, which will preview later today at the media event, was called Monsters University [Fraternity?] Row, which will more directly reflect the content of the film.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter as we tweet live from the Monsters University media event as well as the American International Toy Fair to get a sneak peek of upcoming Disney products in real-time.