The Pop Insider - No. 1 - Summer 2018

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The Inside Scoop on Entertainment, Experiences, and More

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM How Universal Will Bring Dinosaurs to the Real World


INCREDIBLES 2 The Supers are back in action— and there’s lots of fun in store.

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What’s Next for the Pop Culture Phenomenon


How Streaming Changed the Entertainment Industry and What the Future Holds for Content Creators and Viewers Alike

Read these books before you see the movies in 2018 and beyond.

28 | THE MAGIC OF WARNER BROS. Experience Your Favorite Fandoms IRL


Toys, accessories, apparel, oh my! See the hottest new products you need right now.


Going Beyond the Popular Mobile Game


WELCOME TO THE POP INSIDER Fueling Fandom Since... Right Now Every year, hundreds of thousands of grown adults grab their wallets full of cash and flock to comic conventions across the country dressed like Rey, Batman, Captain America, and Eleven. These superfans stand in lines for hours on end to scoop up every single exclusive Funko Pop! vinyl they can possibly get their hands on, play a 10-minute demo of a new video game, snap photos of the latest LEGO sets, and meet their favorite actors from The Walking Dead. Toys, games, and playing dress up is no longer just child’s play. Reading comics isn’t lame, it’s cool. Watching every science-fiction series available is not shameful, it’s mainstream. In short, geek is chic— and we are here for it. Pop culture fanatics are loyal AF and they aren’t afraid to tell the world! How, you ask? Through branded emojis, pet bandanas, special-edition beer, pop-up books, makeup brushes, backpacks, jewelry, and just about any other product you can imagine. They want to wear their fandom loud and proud. They want to experience their favorite brands IRL through concerts, amusement parks, and meet-and-greets (more on this on pg. 28). They want the coolest and most limited-edition artwork and collectible figures. And of course, they want to be the first to know and own every single thing that’s coming out— that’s where we come in. For the past 13 years, the Toy Insider told grown-ups which hot toys and games to buy for their kids. Then we thought, “Wait, what about us?” While kids wait for the next hottest toy of the year, there are plenty of adults out there toy hunting for collectibles and party games. At Adventure Publishing Group 6 | Issue No. 1 | THE POP INSIDER

(which also publishes trade magazines The Toy Book and The Licensing Book), we are all geeks ourselves, and we crave the chance to write about our favorite fandoms—from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones to Miyazaki films. And so, the Pop Insider was born. And here it is! Right now! In your hands! You have it! In this issue, we explore Isla Nublar with all things Jurassic World (pg. 16), save the world with Incredibles 2 (pg. 22), and tell you all about how to write screenplays for streaming sites (pg. 12). Plus, all the new toys and collectibles your geeky heart desires (pg. 30, ya nerds). Since it’s 2018, the Pop Insider is here for you 24/7 online, with tons of news and info on the latest and greatest new products and entertainment, including collectibles, video games, films, series, and more. So please, flip through the very first issue of the Pop Insider, and allow us to fuel your fandom. Love you. Mean it


JACKIE BREYER Publisher MARISSA DIBARTOLO Co-Editor-in-Chief ALI MIERZEJEWSKI Co-Editor-in-Chief MADDIE MICHALIK Associate Editor STEPHANIE GRASSULLO Associate Editor XANDRA HARBET Assistant Editor JACQUELINE CUCCO Editorial Assistant KELLY CORBETT Editorial Assistant JOE IBRAHAM Art Director BILL REESE Production Director ANAKIN Office Pupper @anakin_thechosenpup

U.S. Corporate Headquarters LAURIE SCHACHT CEO Adventure Publishing Group, Inc.® 307 7th Avenue, #1601, New York, NY 10001 Phone: (212) 575-4510 • Fax: (212) 575-4521

FOLLOW US! ABOUT THE EDITORS: Marissa DiBartolo and Ali Mierzejewski are editors-in-chief of the Pop Insider, as well as senior editors of the Toy Insider. They report on trends and hot topics affecting the toy and pop culture industries, keeping up to date with the latest in TV, movies, video games, collectibles, and more. Top toy experts, they have been featured on ABC World News Now, Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, MSNBC, Fox Business, and dozens more. Follow them on Twitter @thattoygirl and @ohsotrendy.





The official Metal Gear orchestral concert series will make its debut outside of Japan, starting in Los Angeles on October 10, before moving to New York on October 13, and Paris on October 28. The concert will feature more than 70 musicians on stage, including singer Donna Burke. During the show, HD footage from the game will be projected onto a giant screen in perfect sync with the music. This concert will revive the most memorable moments and the best music from the Metal Gear Solid games, with background music including “Main Theme,” “Encounter,” “Father and Son,” as well as memorable songs such as “The Best Is Yet to Come,” “Snake Eater,” and “Heavens Divide,” which Donna Burke will sing live. ✪


Get ready to see the world as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, and all our other Toy Story pals. Inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story films, Toy Story Land will open in Hollywood Studios on June 30. Guests will feel like they’ve shrunk down to the size of a toy in this larger-than-life backyard. Expect giant building blocks, game board pieces, and family-friendly roller coasters, such as Slinky Dog Dash. Hungry? Stop by Woody’s Lunch Box for some grub. Toy Story Land will also celebrate what once defined entertainment for a generation. Crayons, Rubik’s Cubes, Cooties, Green Army Men, and other retro toys and games will pour on the nostalgia for park-goers, including lamp posts shaped like Tinkertoys. In addition to Hollywood Studios Toy Story Land, another Toy Story Land opened in Shanghai Disneyland last month. ✪


TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES RETURN WITH NEW ANIMATED SERIES Everyone’s favorite guys in green are back with a fresh new look and powers. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will premiere in September on Nickelodeon. The series stars the voice talent of Omar Miller as Raphael, Ben Schwartz as Leonardo, Josh Brener as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith as Michelangelo, Kat Graham as April O’Neil, and Eric Bauz—from the original TMNT—as Splinter. The cast also welcomes John Cena, who will play villian Baron Draxum, an alchemist warrior mutant who seeks to turn all humans into mutants. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set to reinvent the TMNT mythos in several ways, equipping the crew with “mystic ninja powers” and new visual changes. While the show debuts in September, fans can get their hands on the first comic book in July, written by Matthew K. Manning and Chard Thomas, and published by IDW Publishing. ✪

WHO IS SHE? THE NEW DOCTOR WHO Jodie Whittaker becomes the first female to play the iconic sci-fi role of the Doctor in Doctor Who's 54-year history. It’s unknown how many series she’s signed on for. Whittaker made her debut as the Thirteenth Doctor in last year’s Christmas special with just two words: ”Oh, brilliant.” Doctor Who series 11 will premiere in the fall on BBC. A premiere date has not been released. ✪

JAMIE LEE CURTIS STARS IN HALLOWEEN REBOOT Jamie Lee Curtis returns to reclaim her role as Laurie in a reboot of Halloween, hitting theaters in October. While few details have been released, this film will pick up where the original 1978 Halloween left off. The new movie will serve as a sequel to the original, disregarding the seven sequels and two rebooted films from director Rob Zombie. ”There was the idea of, ‘What do you call it?’ If I had had my druthers, I probably would’ve called it Halloween Retold.

Because it’s being retold,” Curtis tells Yahoo. ”It’s the original story in many, many, many ways. Just retold 40 years later with my granddaughter.” ✪

in the near-future, and the latter in a more distant one. The story follows Flynne Fisher, a woman who discovers a connection between the two worlds when she’s testing a video game. ✪



NETFLIX ANNOUNCES TWO NEW ORIGINAL SERIES Grab your sweatpants, it’s binge-watching time. Netflix will launch new original series this year, including Dead to Me and PARADISE P.D. Dead to Me is a new dark comedy about a powerful friendship that blossoms between a tightly wound widow and a free spirit with a shocking secret. The series is created by Liz Feldman, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Jessica Elbaum. We're still waiting for the release date and cast details, but the first season will feature 10 episodes. Also coming soon to your Netflix queue is PARADISE P.D., a new animated comedy series for adults from the creators of Brickleberry and Bob’s Burgers. The show focuses on a small-town police department that’s bad. Not bad like “no nonsense,” not bad like “cool,” but bad like “sh*tty.” They’re the worst responders. The cast includes Dana Snyder, Cedric Yarbrough, Sarah Chalke, and more. The show is set to premiere before the end of the year. ✪

THE PERIPHERAL IS GETTING ITS OWN SERIES Amazon is working on a TV adaptation of the 2014 William Gibson novel The Peripheral. Although the project is still in the early stages of development, there is talk that it could bypass Amazon’s regular pilot process and get a straight-to-series order. The Peripheral is a complicated story about time travel, divergent futures, religious protest groups, and a massive corporation called Hefty Mart. It takes place both in an economically barren town in the U.S. and in a post-apocalyptic London. The former is set

Fans will marvel at these new attractions. The Walt Disney Co. announced that California Adventure, part of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim; Disneyland Paris; and Hong Kong Disneyland will all see Marvel attractions by 2020. California Adventure will see Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and other characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in new attractions and a new live show. At Disneyland Paris, a new Marvel-themed area will include an attraction where riders will team up with Iron Man and other Avengers on a “hyper-kinetic adventure” (psst, Disnelyand Paris will also host a Marvel Summer of Super Heroes stage show this summer from June 10 to Sept. 30). A new themed area in Hong Kong Disneyland will include an attraction where guests team up with Ant-Man and the Wasp. The new attractions were developed in partnership with Marvel Studios and Marvel Themed Entertainment. ✪

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? GETS A MOVIE ‘90s kids rejoice—and get ready for a chilling reboot! Paramount will adapt the Nickelodeon TV horror series, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, into a movie, set to premiere on October 11, 2019, just in time for Halloween. News of the Are You Afraid of the Dark? movie was unveiled late last year when It writer Gary Dauberman was hired to write and produce the film. Matt Kaplan will produce alongside him. The anthology series was created by D.J. MacHale and Ned Kandel and ran on Nickelodeon from 1992 to 1996. It was set around a group of teenagers who called themselves the Midnight Society and would meet weekly at a secret location in the woods to tell scary stories. ✪ THEPOPINSIDER.COM | #FuelYourFandom | 9


NEW ADVENTURES IN THIS DIMENSION Rick and Morty: A Pop Culture Phenomenon

Rick and Morty is a critically acclaimed, half-hour animated comedy series on Adult Swim that follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick Sanchez lives with his daughter Beth’s family and constantly brings her, his son-in-law Jerry, granddaughter Summer, and grandson Morty on intergalactic escapades. The cast includes Justin Roiland (Adventure Time), Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live), and Spencer Grammer (Greek). The series is created by Dan Harmon (Community) and Roiland, who also serve as executive producers. The series’ third season aired last fall, and was the No. 1 comedy across all of TV last year. Commentary sessions on the Rick and Morty Season 3 DVD and Blu-Ray include celebrity guests Peter Dinklage, John Mayer, and Russell Brand. Rick and Morty is a bona fide pop culture phenomenon. Adult Swim and Cartoon Network Enterprises’ RickMobile toured the 10 | Issue No. 1 | THE POP INSIDER

country last year, and more than 60,000 fans turned out to purchase exclusive products that sold out in nearly every city. The RickMobile will continue touring the country this year selling various products, including Funko Pop! Vinyls; board games, including Monopoly from USAopoly and Mr. Meeseeks Box o’ Fun Game from Cryptozoic Entertainment; accessories from Bioworld; and other custom products. Adult Swim will also hold its first music festival in October. The festival will include Rick and Morty special programming and exclusive products. The festival announcement included an original Run the Jewels music video featuring Rick and Morty. Celebrity fans often show their love for the series via social media and wear Rick and Morty-branded merchandise, including Big Sean and Logic, who appeared in an episode of season three and will be featured on a Rick and Morty T-shirt this year. Various celebrities also created custom Rick and Morty sneakers, including NBA star Karl Anthony-Towns and musician John Mayer. ✪


ENTERTAINMENT Get a first-ever taste of confectionary and other snacks from the Rick and Morty universe. This exclusive cereal is inspired by the episode ”Rixty Minutes.” Available: FYE, fall 2018; pre-order in all stores and FYE pop-up location at Comic-Con International: San Diego


Rick and Morty is one of the weirdest hit shows on TV—and fans can’t get enough. Courtesy of Cartoon Network

PIECE PREMIUM PUZZLE | USAOPOLY Journey into the insides of a homeless man with Rick and Morty as you piece together Anatomy Park. Add other Rick and Morty games and puzzles to your collection, such Chris Pratt meets a baby raptor in the new as Rick and Morty Risk, Trivial Pursuit, and Yahtzee.Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer Available: Mass retailers, now MSRP: $19.95


COLLECTION | PRIMITIVE SKATE Wear your fandom with this new skate collection, including apparel, headwear, accessories, and skateboards. Available: Skate and specialty stores, July 2018

FIGURES | FUNKO Collect new characters, such as Weaponized Rick, Weaponized Morty, Mr. Meeseeks, Mr. Poopy Butthole, Bird Person, Squanchy, and Snowball, in addition to Rick and Morty. Available: Mass retailers, now MSRP: $9.99, each sold separately

« RICK AND MORTY COMICS | ONI PRESS Rick and Morty comics have been said to feel like lost episodes of the Adult Swim show, contributing to their top-ranking success across the book and direct markets. Available:, now MSRP: $3.99, each sold separately THEPOPINSIDER.COM | #FuelYourFandom | 11


How Streaming the Entertainment Industry and What the Future Holds Subhead here in UniChanged Neue Regular Subhead here in Uni Neue Regular by Stephanie Grassullo, assistant editor Author, Position in Uni Neue Book 10pt

It’s 1998 and a curious new online DVD rental platform just launched. The outlet is designed on the same pay-per-rent model as its brick-and-mortar rival, Blockbuster. Fast-forward two decades later, and Netflix is now a 21st-century staple. What started as a media outlet for subscribers to rent from fewer than 1,000 titles quickly transformed into an online film and TV production and distribution giant. Netflix was the first of its kind and paved the way for subscription video-on-demand (SVOD). It wasn’t long before Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and countless others followed suit. “Binge-watching a series has completely changed home viewing. [Netflix is] flooded with fresh content from around the world, which means once you finish binge-watching a new show, you can easily scroll to another one,”says Geoffrey Calhoun, founder of We Fix Your Script, a digital outlet that provides amateur screenwriters with tips from professional writers. For better or worse, SVOD was a game-changer for the entertainment industry. It changed the way consumers watch TV and movies, and created an entirely new viewing experience. CHANNEL YOU A big selling point for SVOD is that the platforms are unique from user to user. Whereas cable TV is designed for the masses, streaming services let viewers choose what to watch from a large portfolio of content, and then streamline it to cater to each specific user. Once individuals log into their own account, they have an entire profile highlighting

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shows they already watched, as well as recommendations based on these preferences. It's like having a TV channel created just for you, with your favorite shows and movies available to watch whenever you want, wherever you want. It’s no wonder we deem platforms such as Netflix and Hulu responsible for the “binge-watching” culture we live in. The very premise of their designs is to draw users in and keep them watching for as long as possible. The next episode is always just a few seconds away, and we all know where that rabbit hole leads. There’s a streaming platform for every niche, and even non-fiction documentaries have their own binging culture. That’s what led John Hendricks, founder of Discovery Channel, to launch CuriosityStream, which brings documentary and factual programming to the world of online TV. “We’ve been called ‘the Netflix for Nonfiction’ for offering more than 1,800 titles that explore science, technology, history, nature, and other fascinating topics. We stream our content online globally to more than 196 countries,” says Elizabeth Hendricks North, president and CEO of CuriosityStream. Users can even pick up exactly where they left off. No matter the hours, workday, or errands that take place between one viewing and the next, SVOD easily lets viewers resume with one click of a button. New to the streaming scene, Second Screen is an app designed for the mobile culture. The service rebrands and repackages feature films for viewers to watch in the form of 10-minute episode series. It takes what consumers love about streaming TV shows,

and enhances it for the user on the go. “[Last year] 168 million people watched video on their smartphone more than they watched it on a desktop or DVD,” says Estella Gabriel, founder of Second Screen. “At [Second Screen] we know that repackaging these films in a fresh way [makes them] bingeable… We divide along natural story breaks so that every episode leaves you wanting more.” Second Screen also opens up more doors for industry “up-and-comers.” Producing an entire series based on a script can be very costly. Combine that with the risk that, in the end, the series may not even be picked up. This was a problem Gabriel—as well as countless struggling screenwriters—faced. “I won the Showtime Tony Cox award for my TV pilot script Americana. Although it was read around town by many of the big studios, there are only so many shows they make a year. I wanted to produce it myself, but couldn’t—not high-quality, high-production value—because it costs tens of millions.” She continues, “What if those who had a pilot script could develop a season out of that one-hour pilot, and what if they could go to indie film investors and get them to invest in season one of a high-quality 10-minute episode series?” That’s the future of Second Screen. Viewers no longer have the network giants dictating what can be watched based on the handful of shows available. Now, there is an entirely new world of talent and entertainment for viewers to unlock online. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED Not all content is created equally. Series

that air on cable TV are held to traditional censorship guidelines, while content that streams online is—for all intents and purposes—a free for all. Any given moment may expose viewers to an explicit scene sans clothing, or a gory blood battle, and it’s this risqué touch that draws us in. Whether it’s the supernatural plot of Netflix’s Stranger Things, the unsettling storyline of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, or the alternate reality of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, one thing is clear: Viewers love shows that leave them on edge. This content becomes even more addictive due to the way viewers physically watch it. Cable programming is often a family or group activity, but part of what entices so many SVOD subscribers is the solitary way they watch. Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, producer of the Disney Channel series The Proud Family, puts this into perspective: “Many are watching on a device, and it’s more of an intimate experience. Also, the stories are deeper with looser boundaries than cable, so I think streaming is changing the impact of storytelling.” Spicer-Dannelly is collaborating with Chris Bridges—known by his stage name Ludacris—and 9 Story Media Group for Karma's World, a new children’s series that is currently in development and will soon premiere on a major streaming service. A WRITE OF PASSAGE The viewing experience isn’t the only thing that differentiates SVOD from traditional TV. According to screenwriters, there is an entirely different writing process that goes into effect. Writers don’t have to worry about building up suspense before and after commercial breaks. Instead, they get to play the devil’s advocate and leave the cliffhanger until the last few seconds of the episode, tempting the viewer to continue watching. “You don’t have to worry about commercials. Revenue is based on a subscription basis,” says Calhoun. “This can give plenty of time to really dig in to a character and

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build to a larger, more meaningful episode cliffhanger at the end of the show, which then encourages the viewer to stick around for the next episode.” When viewers get to know the characters on a deeper level, they are hooked long after they watch the last episode. It’s this addiction that keeps the brands buzzing following the often one-day series releas. It completely engrosses the viewer, who then wants all the merchandise, apparel, and news on the latest fan events and exhibitions. Spicer-Dannelly elaborates on this: “I like to compare it to curling up with a good book all to yourself. With that, I like to write very layered stories with spontaneous moments… We writers and producers are paying attention to more than just the writing, but the feel of the show and what the viewer might absorb from the content.” TIMING IS EVERYTHING With this new form of writing comes a new way of releasing. There’s a bit more leeway when it comes to the release of new content on SVOD platforms. While a streaming service knows exactly when it will air new episodes or series, it also has the freedom to release content based on trending topics. For example, the passing of Stephen Hawking was a blow to the CuriosityStream community. When the news broke in March, the platform made an in-the-moment decision and premiered the final episode of its original series, Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, early to allow users to mourn with the program. This ability to stay ever-relevent is how streaming platforms are able to create such powerful entertainment brands. Another driving factor is network TV’s struggle to get its viewers to tune in to major broadcast events on the weekends. Yet, streaming services are known to drop a new series on a Friday night with all the confidence that its viewers will not only tune in, but also likely complete the whole series in a matter of hours. “I think dropping a fresh episode or a

series on a Friday is completely strategic and opportunistic,” explains Spicer-Danelly. “It’s come to the point where there are so many good shows out there, that if you had not watched a few of them in their entirety you are left out of the conversation at a party.” It’s a valid point. If you were one of the few who did not spend the weekend watching the second season of Stranger Things when it was released in October, it was impossible to go to a party, listen to the radio, or even show up to work on Monday morning without being entirely out of the loop. “Binge-worthy shows are released on Fridays not because the streaming giants want to cut us a break so we have the weekend to absorb their shows… No, it’s for one reason and one reason only: Free advertising,” Calhoun says. “[Streaming services] know they created a culture of binge-watchers who will dive into a new show, and then assimilate this show and light social-media abuzz with— hopefully—rave reviews, thus attracting more customers to the streaming giant’s doors.” This cycle is working. As consumers cut the cord on cable, streaming services continue to amass more and more subscribers. According to Calhoun, there’s a method to the madness. “When you binge-watch a show your brain releases dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel good. Really good. This release reinforces your binge-watching habit, so you can keep feeling those good vibes, which means you literally become addicted to a show.” We live in a world where binge-watching addiction is the new norm. Streaming entertainment is here to stay. You’re either with it or against it. The choice is yours. ✪

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Grassullo is an assistant editor at Adventure Publishing Group, where she contributes to trade magazines The Toy Book and The Licensing Book. In addition to handling news and updates, she ABOUT THE AUTHOR: also writes andresearcher commentaries for the Toy Owen Gradytoy is reviews a dinosaur Insider, which featuresWorld, the leading consumer holiday employed by Jurassic and one of gift main guideprotagonists and breaking in the toy industry. two innews Jurassic World, the other being Claire Dearing. He conducted a behavioral research on Velociraptors.



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It’s been four years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who’s still missing in the wild, and Claire has grown a respect for these creatures she now makes her mission to save. Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, the expedition team uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times. 16 | Issue No. #1 | 1THE | THE POP POP INSIDER INSIDER

Owen (Pratt) sees a familiar face in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Chris Pratt meets a baby raptor in the new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer

With all of the wonder, adventure, and thrills synonymous with one of the most popular and successful series in cinema history, this new motion-picture event sees the return of favorite characters and dinosaurs—along with new breeds that are more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before. Welcome to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Stars Pratt and Howard return alongside executive producers Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow for the film. They are joined by co-stars James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Daniella Pineda, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, and Isabella Sermon, while BD Wong and Jeff Goldblum reprise their roles from the original Jurassic Park series. Directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible), the epic action-adventure is written by Jurassic World’s director, Trevorrow, and its co-writer, Derek Connolly. Producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley once again partner with Spielberg and Trevorrow in leading the filmmakers for this stunning installment. Belén Atienza joins the team as a producer. ( THEPOPINSIDER.COM | #FuelYourFandom | 17


GET IMMERSED IN JURASSIC WORLD The Pop Insider's Ali Mierzejewski chats with Shayne Mifsud, senior director, franchise strategy, Universal Brand Development How do you incorporate aspects of the original Jurassic Park franchise into your Jurassic World product line to reach out to lifelong fans? Our Jurassic World program has evolved throughout the years and continues to expand into new product categories that appeal to all ages and genders, and range from mass to retailer exclusives. We are incredibly excited about our new global partner, Mattel, who is reimagining the Jurassic World line by leaning into the franchise with iconic storytelling moments through toys and innovative accessories. We’re also super-serving our collector fans with a legacy program from Mattel that features core action figures, as well as some of the most recognized dinosaurs and vehicles from previous Jurassic World films. Additionally, Funko debuted a collection of Jurassic Park 25th anniversary Pop! collectibles, featuring fan-favorites such as Dr. Ian Malcolm, T. rex, and a Dilophosaurus. On the lifestyle front, in the U.S., we collaborated with Gen Art to develop a men’s and women’s capsule collection, inspired by Jurassic Park’s 25th anniversary, which is available now at


Consumer experiences provide fans with a unique opportunity to go beyond watching the films to become fully immersed into the franchise."

What’s new to the Jurassic World product line that will surprise fans and collectors? Mattel is debuting the largest toy collection ever for the Jurassic World franchise. The multi-category program will feature more 18 | Issue No. 1 | THE POP INSIDER

dinosaurs, action figures, play sets, vehicles, plush, and accessories than ever before. The core segment alone includes more than 70 unique dinosaur figures and a variety of new action figures. Inspired by the franchise’s biggest stars, the collection includes authentic character details and is scaled to promote a variety of play opportunities in a way that feels organic and true to the franchise. Fans also can look forward to new innovations, such as the Jurassic World Kamigami Robots: Blue and Indoraptor, which promote STEM skills and teach coding, and the Jurassic World Pterano-Drone, which features realistic wings that flap in flight. Also, new this year from Mattel are the Barbie Jurassic World: Claire and Owen dolls. For the collector, we partnered with Chronicle Collectibles on a line celebrating the Jurassic World franchise that includes a wide array of action figures, dinosaurs, and accessories. How do you balance your product line between younger fans and adult fans and collectors? Twenty-five years in the making, Jurassic World is a unique franchise that connects fans across multiple generations. The program offers a wide range of both toy and lifestyle collections targeting every age segment. For example, through our continued partnership with LEGO, we are expanding into new demographics in construction with product offerings across LEGO systems, LEGO Juniors, and LEGO Duplo, as well as a LEGO Brickheadz exclusive. Additionally, Mattel’s product line features a broad multi-category program spanning preschool—with Imaginext—to adults. Whether it rests on the core dinosaur play pattern for the youngest fans or brings the wonder and thrills to adult audiences, Jurassic World is truly exciting for the entire family.

What are the benefits of incorporating “experiences” into the Jurassic World universe, such as the recently announced Jurassic World Alive mobile game? Consumer experiences such as Jurassic World Alive and Jurassic World: The Exhibition provide fans with a unique opportunity to go beyond watching the films and to become fully immersed in the franchise. In Jurassic World Alive, using location-based technology and augmented reality (AR), dinosaurs come to life to interact and roam freely alongside you in the real world. Currently on a global tour, Jurassic World: The Exhibition is an interactive experience that takes visitors through a park-like tour of Jurassic World through exhibits featuring life-

Owen (Pratt) meets a baby raptor in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Courtesy of Universal Pictures

size animatronic dinosaurs. Making its world premier in Melbourne, Australia in 2016, the Exhibition has set attendance records at venues in Philadelphia, Chicago, as well as Melbourne. The Exhibition launched in Paris on April 14. We also recently announced our partnership with Feld Entertainment to collaborate on a groundbreaking global arena show, Jurassic World Live, which will launch in the fall of 2019. The show will use state-of-theart projection mapping to transport fans to Isla Nublar and will feature life-size dinosaurs extending up to 40 feet long. Last year’s T. rex costume from Rubie’s Costume Co. became a popular meme and had

a great response. What has the demand been like to make more products like that? The response to Rubie’s Jurassic World Inflatable T. rex has been tremendous, and we continue to see fans create new videos to share online. Additionally, we are so proud that the inflatable costume received a 2018 TOTY Award for Innovative Toy of the Year. The Jurassic World Inflatable Velociraptor Blue is also currently available, and we are looking forward to the debut of all-new costumes, including the Jurassic World Inflatable Triceratops and Pteranodon at retail this fall. What are your plans for the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park? To celebrate the 25th anniversary of

Jurassic Park, we partnered with creative network Tongal to launch a user-generated contest that invited fans to submit videos re-creating their favorite moments from the Jurassic Park films. Compilation videos showcasing the best and most original fan-generated content were posted weekly to the official Jurassic World social channels as part of #ThrowbackThursday. Additionally, our consumer products program includes Funko Pop! collectibles, a legacy program from Mattel that includes core action figures and dinosaurs, and apparel and lifestyles collections from partners worldwide. Fans also can look forward to more celebratory moments with planned events coast-to-coast. ✪

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DINOSAURS IRL New products for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic Park's big 2-5.


With the Kamigami build-it-yourself robot platform, kids can create their own Jurassic World Velociraptor Blue or Indoraptor robot. They can connect to the Kamigami Jurassic World mobile app to customize their movements, interactions, lights, and special Jurassic World-inspired sounds. Anatomically correct legs give these dinos lifelike movement that kids can control with a smartphone or tablet using the free app, available for iOS and Android. Available: Mass retailers, now MSRP: $59.99 each


FUNKO POP! JURASSIC WORLD FALLEN KINGDOM | FUNKO Collect Owen Grady, Velociraptor Blue, and Claire Dearing Funko Pop! figures inspired by the leading characters from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Available: Mass retailers, summer 2018 MSRP: $9.99 each


FUNKO POP! JURASSIC PARK 25TH ANNIVERSARY | FUNKO Collect Paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammon, Mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and Embryo-Smuggler Dennis Nedry Funko Pop! figures, inspired by the characters from Jurassic Park. Better yet—collect the T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophosaurus Funko Pop! figures as well. Available: Mass retailers, now (Malcolm is a Target exclusive) MSRP: $9.99 each

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OWEN & BLUE 1:9 | CHRONICLE COLLECTIBLES This Final Battle Indominus Rex statue is the first of two installments. The second segment will be available at a later date for pre-order. Collectors can align the bases to create a diorama of the final battle scene from Jurassic World. The Indominus Rex is roughly 30 by 12 inches on her own. The Owen & Blue 1:9 statue was designed to show the relationship between man and beast, inspired by a photo in the Jurassic World periodical from Entertainment Weekly. The figure is roughly 12 by 8.5 inches. Available: Specialty retailers (Indominus Rex in fall 2018; Owen & Blue in winter 2018) MSRP: Indominus Rex $800; Owen & Blue $400


BARBIE JURASSIC WORLD DOLL ASSORTMENT | MATTEL Inspired by the two lead characters from the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom film, these Barbie dolls resemble Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Available: Mass retailers, now MSRP: $29.99 each

« JURASSIC WORLD PTERANO-DRONE | MATTEL Go to new heights with the Pterano-Drone R/C quadcopter, which features auto-circle and auto-land abilities for beginner pilots. Available: Mass retailers, now MSRP: $99.99


INDORAPTOR RAMPAGE AT LOCKWOOD ESTATE | LEGO Rescue Maisie from the Indoraptor inside the three-level building, featuring configurable walls, a museum, a lab, a collapsing roof function, and a large buildable Triceratops skull. The 1,019-piece set also includes six minifigures and two dino figures. Available: Mass retailers, now MSRP: $129.99

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Elastigirl prepares to ride off on her Elasticycle and change the fate of the Supers, leaving Mr. Incredible to fend for himself and keep the Parr family in order.

SHE'S INCREDIBLE Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 Puts Elastigirl Front and Center by Marissa DiBartolo, editor-in-chief Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl, aka Mrs. Incredible, is the definition of supermom. From doing the laundry to saving the world, there’s no doubt she’s stretched thin, but just like lots of moms out there, she gets everything done with enough time to put dinner on the table—complete with lots of vegetables. In Incredibles 2, the Disney•Pixar sequel to the 2004 animated film, Mom’s got a new job, and the fate of the Supers rests on her stretchy shoulders. Ready for her mission to change what people think about superheroes, Mrs. Incredible has a dashing new outfit, a sparkly new mask, and a sick new ride. Meanwhile, the fate of the Parr family rests on Dad, aka Mr. Incredible, and it looks like he still has a few things to learn. With the help of some fan-favorite characters, like the sassy, all-knowing super fashion designer Edna Mode, Mr. Incredible will learn that “done properly, parenting is a heroic act.” 22 | Issue No. 1 | THE POP INSIDER

Though Elastigirl is the main protagonist of the highly anticipated film, every member of the Parr family will play an important role in the story. The Parr kids—Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack—will flex their super skills more than ever before, helping the family save the day from multiple villains, including the Underminer—first introduced in The Incredibles—and the newly revealed Screen Slaver. It’s been 14 years since Brad Bird’s original animated superhero flick showed us a world that forced superheroes underground, and the latest installment teases us with the promise of a world that once again celebrates the non-caped crusaders (remember: NO CAPES!). Touching on current issues such as the changing family dynamic, our addiction to screens and technology, and outdated laws affecting modern society, Incredibles 2 is sure to resonate with multiple generations. “The sequel incorporates all the hallmarks

of a Pixar film while showcasing a relatable family (who just happen to be superheroes), which we know will appeal to fans of all ages—original fans of the film and those who are meeting the Parrs for the first time,” says Tonya Agurto, senior vice president, licensing, Disney & Pixar Animation. With more than 15 licensing partners in the toy space creating products based on the characters and themes from Incredibles 2, fans can expect to see action figures, dolls, preschool play sets, die-cast vehicles, costumes, games, puzzles, and more. “While developing our wide assortment of toys we were inspired by the whole family of Supers—each member of the family, with their unique super power, presents a whole new opportunity to bring the characters to life through new and innovative play patterns,” says Agurto. The Incredibles 2 Power Couple action

Fans will enjoy dozens of Incredibles 2 licensed products, including swimwear from Trina Turk, backpacks from Jansport, toys from Jakks Pacific (including the Stretching and Speeding Elasticycle and Mr. Incredible figure), and socks from Stance.

figure set from Jakks Pacific features a Mr. Incredible figure with more than 45 sounds and a rubberized Elastigirl. Fans of all ages can lock Elastigirl’s hands into Mr. Incredible’s, pull back, and sling her forward. The set also includes stands and targets for display, perfect for collectors. Jakks will also release the Stretching & Speeding Elasticycle, featuring a stretchable Elastigirl figure and her new ride from the film. For older fans, high-end watches from INVICTA, socks from Stance, and bathing suits from Trina Turk will also join the product mix this year. A line of jewelry from Alex Woo features silver and gold necklaces with the powerburst icon, Incredibles logo, and a “Powermom” wordmark, for all the incredible moms who are just like Helen Parr. In addition to seeing the Parr family in lots of products on shelves this year, fans can get excited about welcoming some new characters into the mix as well. “There are a ton of exciting new characters. The filmmakers have given us a great story to work with and we’re thrilled with the compelling product proposition it has allowed,” explains Agurto. While toys and collectibles are a great way to let fans bring the Incredibles’world to life, live events and fan experiences may be on the horizon to really allow immersion into the world of Metroville. “Fans should stay tuned for some exciting announcements that will be coming over the next few months,” teases Agurto. Incredibles 2 hits theaters on June 15, with products rolling out throughout the year. With a new protagonist, new villains, and a new mission, the Parr family is certainly in for some new challenges, and audiences are in for some incredible surprises. ✪

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marissa DiBartolo is the editor-in-chief of the Pop Insider, as well as senior editor of the Toy Insider. She reports on trends and hot topics affecting the toy and pop culture industries. A top toy expert, she has been featured on ABC World News Now, Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, MSNBC, Fox Business, and more.

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Read These Books Before You See the Movies LITTLE WOMEN BY LOUSIA MAY ALCOTT In honor of the novel’s 150th anniversary, Little Women hits the big screen later this year, taking on a more current and indie approach. The original Louisa May Alcott book (published in 1868 by the Roberts Brothers) chronicles the story of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March— and their journey to womanhood during the Civil War era. The new film appears to take place in a later decade, but still depicts the girls’ passage to adulthood, featuring scenes of the March sisters as both younger and older versions of themselves. While few details about the plot have been released from Paulist Productions, the trailer mostly focuses on Jo, played by Sarah Davenport. Feeling defeated after a story she spent a decade writing hasn’t gotten any attention, a professor and soon-to-be love interest of the film, played by Ian Bohen, gives her a new perspective. Lea Thompson stars as Marmee, Lucas Grabeel stars as Laurie, and Melanie Stone stars as Meg. Little Women will hit theaters in September 2018.

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB BY DAVID LAGERCRANTZ The Girl in the Spider’s Web continues the storyline of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. In this story, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2015, readers meet punk hacker Lisbeth Salander, played by Claire Foy, and editor Mikael Blomkvist, played by Sverrir Gudnason. Hungry for a story, Blomkvist follows Salander, and together they find themselves caught in a web of spies, cyber criminals, and corrupt government officials. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is slated for release in October 2018 and was produced by Sony Pictures’ Millennium and MGM franchise.

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR BY NICOLA YOON The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon, is an award-winning novel published by Delacorte Press in 2016. The plot starts with two teens, Natasha and Daniel, who fall in love 12 hours before Natasha’s family is supposed to be deported to Jamaica. This thought-provoking novel, told through alternating points of view about the romance of Natasha and Daniel, is narrated through their eyes and by people who are unintentionally part of their love story, mirroring our almost spooky interconnectedness. The movie will be produced by MGM Studios and Warner Brothers. Cast details have not been released, but it is rumored that Yara Shahidi from Black-ish will star as Natasha, according to Variety. 24 | Issue No. 1 | THE POP INSIDER

This 1989 film based on the 1983 novel published by Doubleday is getting a second remake. While a sequel was released in 1992, this remake from Paramount will only feature the first film, rather than continue the plot. The original Stephen King novel follows Dr. Louis Creed as he takes a new job and moves his family to Maine, where things are ominously strange. Trucks travel way too quickly by his new home and there is a makeshift pet cemetery out back in the nearby woods. Louis then begins to see warning signs, both real and in his nightmares, warning him not to venture beyond the borders of this little pet graveyard. Here, corpses come back to life as demonic, murderous versions of themselves after being buried in the cemetery. Cast details have not been released yet, but the film will hit theaters in April 2019.


THE CALL OF THE WILD BY JACK LONDON The bond between man and dog is unbreakable. The Call of the Wild, published by Macmillian Publishers in 1903, is an action-packed novel about Buck the dog during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush. Buck, half St. Bernard and half sheepdog, is sold to a group of American gold hunters who have little experience living in the wilderness and treat the dogs poorly. Buck is saved by hunter John Thornton and remains closely by his side, saving him from drowning and protecting him. But at the same time, Buck’s attraction to the wilderness around him is undeniable. This story illustrates the relationship between man and dog, and the draw of primitive instincts that pull Buck away from the conditioned animal he has become. Cast details have not yet been revealed. The Call of the Wild, produced by Technoprops, is slated for release in December 2019.

ARTEMIS FOWL BY EOIN COLFER Based on Eoin’s Colfer’s best-selling sci-fi fantasy series Artemis Fowl, Walt Disney Pictures brings fans the film of the same name focused on the first book of the series, published in 2001 by Viking Press. Artemis Fowl tells the story of a wealthy, intelligent, criminal mastermind named Artemis Fowl who discovers a hidden world of magic and falls into a battle against a powerful race of fairies who he suspects are behind his father’s disappearance. The cast includes Judi Dench, taking on the male role of Commander Root, Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums, and Nonso Anozie as Butler. Artemis Fowl is slated to hit the big screen in August 2019.


BY MARIA SEMPLE This 2012 novel, published by Little, Brown and Co. focuses on the relationship of a former architect, Bernadette, now ridden with anxiety. Bernadette promised her 15-year-old daughter, Bee, a family trip to Antarctica if she received good grades. As the promise must be fulfilled, reclusive Bernadette can’t refuse, but as travel plans begin, Bernadette gets tangled in an internet scam and goes missing. This part-comedy, part-drama follows Bee in her attempt to figure out what has happened to her mother. The star-studded cast includes Cate Blanchett as Bernadette Fox, Kristen Wigg as Audrey, Judy Greer as Dr. Kurtz, and Troian Bellisario as Becky. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, from Annapurna Pictures and Color Force, hits theaters in October 2018.


This spine-tingling fantasy children’s book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey (published in 1973 by Puffin Books), tells the tale of 10-year-old orphan Lewis Barnavelt, played by Owen Vaccaro, who goes to live with his uncle, played by Jack Black. This large, creaky house becomes even more mysterious when Lewis discovers a tick-tock sound coming from inside the walls. When Lewis accidentally awakens the dead, he pulls this sleepy town into a secret world of warlocks and witches. Cate Blanchett also stars in this mystery thriller. The House with a Clock in its Walls, produced by Universal Pictures, is slated for a September release.

THE ROSIE PROJECT BY GRAEME SIMSION The Rosie Project, published by Text Publishing in 2013, is the perfect quirky love story. Don Tillman, a socially inept genetics professor, is on a quest to find a wife. In the scientific fact-based manner that he conducts everything, he designs The Wife Project—a 16-page, scientifically valid survey­—to find his perfect partner. Rosie Jarman is perfect for him, yet fails to ace his survey and he disqualifies her. Still intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father, Don begins to form an unlikely relationship with her, and helps her launch The Father Project. Don begins to realize that Rosie is the perfect match for him, despite the data not lining up, and learns that one doesn’t find love—it finds them. Details have not yet been released about the plot or cast list, but the movie is under production by TriStar Pictures and is slated for release in May 2019. 26 | Issue No. 1 | THE POP INSIDER

SHAFT BY ERNEST TIDYMAN The original 1970s novel, published by Dynamite Enterntainment, focuses on private eye John Shaft, who likes to kill and is recruited to find the sheltered daughter of Harlem’s crime honcho. This film continues the plot that was furthered in Shaft, Shaft’s Big Score!, and Shaft in Africa. In this latest film, Jesse T. Usher plays Shaft Jr., a cybersecurity expert for the FBI who seeks out a different kind of expertise from his absentee dad, John Shaft, after his best friend’s untimely death. The film also stars Alexandra Shipp, Regina Hall, and Cliff “Method Man” Smith. Shaft, from New Line Cinema and Davis Enterntainment, hits theaters in June 2019.

The World of Warner Bros.

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC Warner Bros. Brings Fan-Favorite Franchises to the Real World through Unique Experiences by Marissa DiBartolo, editor-in-chief Collectibles, apparel, and costumes are great ways to bring your favorite fictional characters to the real world—but now, fans can actually experience the fantastic worlds of their favorite superheroes, wizards, and cartoon characters in person. Harry Potter fans can show their love for the wizarding world with hundreds of products, but what if you could actually warm up inside the Three Broomsticks and slurp down a sweet and creamy butter beer? You can— and it’s magical. Warner Bros. Consumer Products creates immersive, real-world experiences for their fans to enjoy on a global scale. From massive theme parks full of thrilling rides, to unique exhibitions and lively concerts, Warner Bros. pulls out all the stops to give fans one-of-akind experiences that connect them closer to their favorite fandoms. “Themed experiences are an impactful 28 | Issue No. 1 | THE POP INSIDER

touch point for fans to interact with the brands they love on a deeper, more emotional level,” says Peter van Roden, senior vice president of global themed entertainment at Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “By remaining faithful to the core values of a franchise and staying in touch with our consumer, we’ve been successful in delivering authentic experiences that resonate with our fans on a visceral level.” MAGIC, IRL The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida lets Potterheads explore Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and even Hogwarts itself. From Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans to Quidditch supplies, so many details fans know and love from the films and books are on display to enjoy, experience, and even bring home. “Authenticity is paramount when creating a new experience,” van Roden explains.

“We work tirelessly with filmmakers and our partners to deliver best-in-class products that accurately represent our characters and stories. There is no better example of this than The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Hogsmeade at Universal Parks & Resorts, which set a new standard for theme park immersion and authenticity.“ And, just like the stairs at Hogwarts, the park is always changing. In 2019, fans will experience a brand new attraction that is, according to Warner Bros., “one of the most highly themed coaster experiences” they’ve ever created. The ride is said to feature new levels of storytelling, adventure, and surprises. WE’RE GOING TO THE THEATER So many iconic Warner Bros. films feature enchanting original music. From the eerie rise and fall of the violin in the Harry Potter theme song to the twinkling tunes of the

« Inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Hollywood, fans test wands during the "Christmas in the Wizarding World" seasonal event. flute throughout “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, these memorable sounds shape the films we love. Mega fans can enjoy a night at the theater watching their favorite films play out on a giant screen, while a full orchestra plays the songs that set each scene live in concert. These engaging live events bring the magic of the films to life, giving fans a new way to enjoy their favorite flicks in an immersive, sensory overload. Last fall, fans of Willy Wonka enjoyed a sweet treat with Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Not only were the songs from the original 1971 film performed live by a full orchestra, but guest stars also turned out to perform their favorite tracks, including John Stamos, Elle King, and Weird Al Yankovic. Concertgoers even received scratch-and-sniff golden tickets to cap off the candy-filled experience. In partnership with CineConcerts, Warner Bros. also presents fans with a Harry Potter Film Concert Series, with more than 900 performances in 48 countries from 2016 through the end of this year.

While these immersive events cater to fans of these franchises, even those who have never seen Willy Wonka or a Harry Potter film can enjoy the CineConcerts. “We are storytellers at Warner Bros.,” says President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products Pam Lifford. “Whether the content is new or familiar to a consumer, our experiences are so rich in storytelling and detail that we are able to simultaneously reach new audiences and entertain existing fans.” GOING GLOBAL Of course, Warner Bros.’ fan service doesn’t just take place in the U.S. Fans worldwide can experience the DC Comics universe, the fun of Looney Tunes, and so much more thanks to international exhibitions and theme parks. DC Exhibition: Dawn of Super Heroes ran in Paris and London, giving European fans access to more than 200 original comic pages and 45 original costumes, models, and props used in the iconic superhero films. Harry Potter: The Exhibition popped up in Madrid, Boston, Toronto, Seattle, New York,

Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai, Brussels, and The Netherlands; showing off dramatic displays inspired by the films, along with costumes, props, and creatures. And, there’s a new theme park in store highlighting lots of Warner Bros. favorites. Warner Bros. partnered with Miral, Abu Dhabi's creator of destinations, on Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, a 1.65-million-squarefoot indoor theme park that will feature six immersive lands, including DC’s Metropolis and Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch, and Warner Bros. Plaza. The brand new, fully immersive park will open on July 25. “Our aim is to provide fans around the world with an opportunity to engage with our brands on an experiential level, which is why our portfolio spans from theme parks and live shows to exhibitions and seasonal activations,” says van Roden. From permanent fixtures to touring exhibitions to limited seasonal events, Warner Bros. gives fans more options than ever before to make fiction a reality. ✪


Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will open on July 25, featuring six immersive lands, including Cartoon Junction, seen here.

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FEISTY PETS I JAZWARES Feisty Pets: because we can all be a little over emotional. These interactive plush go from friendly to ferocious with a squeeze. Feisty Pet characters include: Princess Pottymouth the cat, Glenda Glitterpoop the unicorn, Sammy Suckerpunch the dog, Sir-Growls-a-Lot the bear, Vicky Vicious the rabbit, and Grandmaster Funk the monkey. MSRP: $19.99 | Available: now,


VERONICA FUNKO ROCK CANDY COLLECTIBLE I FUNKO Stylish and sassy Veronica from The CW’s Riverdale now has her own 5-inch collectible. Fans can add Funko Rock Candy Veronica, donning a chic handbag and signature outfit, to their collection. MSRP: $9.99 | Available: July, major retailers, pre-order now at



Designer superhero toys? Count us in! Artist Alley is an artist-designed vinyl statue line from DC Comics that merges indie design with the most iconic characters in the DC Universe. In the latest series, Chris Uminga gives fans his offbeat interpretation of The Flash, HaiNaNu “Nooligan” Saulque gives Nightwing a contemporary look, and Sho Murase takes on Batgirl. MSRP: $40.00 | Available: December,; pre-order this month on Amazon

You, too, can have your very own Wookiee BFF. Hasbro’s newest addition to its FurReal Friends line is Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie. At 16 inches tall, this animatronic fuzz ball comes complete with 100 different sound and motion combinations. Touch his stomach and he’ll laugh, or say hello and he’ll raise his arms and respond with a roar. Chewie also has a built-in accelerometer, which allows him to react to different kinds of movement. Rock him in your arms and he’ll close his eyes, go to sleep, and let out a loud Wookiee snore. MSRP: $129.99 | Available: fall, major retailers



These 6-inch-scale Black Series figures are carefully detailed to look like the characters from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Each figure includes two accessories and nine points of articulation. Characters include Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Range Trooper, Qi’ra, and more. MSRP: $19.99, sold separately

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Available: now, major retailers,

HOT WHEELS ROCKET LEAGUE RC RIVALS SET I MATTEL Bring a thrilling game of vehicular soccer to the real world. Hot Wheels Rocket League RC Rivals Set is a half-digital, half-traditional racing set that recreates the arena, the Battle-Cars, and the ball from the epic video game Rocket League. Kids can play an intense game of soccer by controlling their Battle-Car via a smartphone or tablet, and watching it race in real life. MSRP: $180 | Available: December, major retailers


UNTAMED BY FINGERLINGS I WOWWEE From the makers of 2017’s hottest toy, Fingerlings, comes a fiercer finger friend. Untamed by Fingerlings are interactive predators that put “ferocious at your fingertips.” The collection currently includes four fierce raptors, each with its own unique name and personality. MSRP: $14.99 | Available: now, major retailers



Part of CultureFly’s premium collection, the Game of Thrones box brings Westeros right to your door. Each uniquely themed mystery box contains eight to 10 items, including apparel, accessories, collectibles, homewares, and more. All items are exclusive to CultureFly, and each box is limited edition. MSRP: $49.99 for a quarterly one-time subscription, $44.99 per box for an annual subscription | Available: now,

What time is it? Super Mario time! The Game Boy-styled watch or alarm clock will remind fans of Mario, Donkey Kong, and other Nintendo favorites every time they need a time check. As if it couldn’t get any better, the Super Mario Land theme song will play when the alarm sounds. The watch also includes an alarm. MSRP: $30, sold separately | Available: now,


Inspired by Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Han Solo Collection from Her Universe includes dresses, shorts, pants, crewnecks, track suits, and more. The line features retro styles from the ‘70s, such as rainbow stripes and bell sleeves. Fans can show their Solo love with this hippie-chic, trendy collection. MSRP: $19.99-$64.99 Available: now, THEPOPINSIDER.COM | #FuelYourFandom | 31


GETTING PERSONAL WITH SUBWAY SURFERS by Kelly Corbett, editorial assistant In Subway Surfers, players have to think and act quickly to succeed. Much like its viral endless running game, SYBO is making its own zippy and strategic moves in the licensing business—and it’s safe to say that it’s not game over for this Copenhagen-based company anytime soon. Subway Surfers started as an animated short film on YouTube eight years ago by the company’s founders, Bodie Jahn-Mulliner and Sylvester Rishøj. The Subway Surfers game, created in 2012 by SYBO, surfed to success as the most downloaded game of 2017. This March, it collected another gold coin as the only game to ever reach 1 billion downloads in the Google Play Store. While the Denmark dynasty continued to create its newest mobile gaming experience, Blades of Brim, it also continued to cultivate the Subway Surfers brand. Licensing legend Naz Amarchi-Cuevas, whose previous work includes Rovio’s Angry Birds, was brought in to help champion the team’s licensing efforts. This cutting-edge crew wanted its brand to reflect the game’s signature street style and not just attach a branded logo

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to traditional merchandise. SYBO wanted as much as possible of its on-screen world to become tangible off-screen. “Our fans want rich content, cool consumer products, and ways to extend the experience that feel organic,” says Amarchi-Cuevas. “We are committed to adhering to these values and providing awesome content, on-trend products, and delivering them in a manner fans desire.” Behold: Subway Surfers’ edgy soul and style is now skating into the real, un-pixelated world.

SUBWAY SURFERS ANIMATED SERIES When playing Subway Surfers, players can choose to run as different characters. There’s Jake, the charming and confident leader of the surf squad; Tricky, the female breakdancer and brainie of the crew; as well as a few

others. Each character has very distinct traits, yet fans weren’t previously able to experience the crew’s charisma and spunky nature aside from choosing the character. To help fans get better acquainted with these characters, SYBO will release a Subway Surfers animated series on YouTube later this month. This brings the property full circle. “[Fans] get a chance to know the characters they’ve seen within the game, to delve into the world in which they live, and to hear the characters speak for the first time,” says Amarchi-Cuevas. The series is scripted by Brent Friedman, whose past work includes Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and produced by Daytime Emmy award-winning producer Sander Schwartz, whose work includes The Batman, Justice League, What's New Scooby Doo?, and Teen Titans. The first installment of the animated series will include 10 four-minute episodes, with one launching every two weeks. Each short will focus on a personal problem for one of the characters.


This mural dedication to Paris is among the first initiatives by SYBO to bring in-game content into the real world.


What makes Subway Surfers different from other virtual gaming worlds is its distinct style and radical skateboarding crew. It’s rebellious—in fact, during the whole duration of the game, players are being chased by an angry, villainous security guard. The property also spotlights a sport not often depicted in gaming—skateboarding—which is gaining more and more traction in modern culture as the sport makes its Olympics debut in 2020. The brand’s first merchandise line, SUBSURF, is expected to launch next year, allowing fans of the game to don the funky flare of the Subway Surfers environment. Think: graffiti skater-esque edgy apparel, accessories, and wearable street art. SYBO will also coordinate more street art opportunities, including a Bentonville mural to line up with the Bentonville Film Festival. SYBO started the mural project in February for Valentine’s Day, when it commissioned

Beautify Earth to design and create a mural at Rue Henri Noguères - Paris 19, reading “Liberte, Egalite, Amour.” This mural not only provided tourists with some Instagram fodder, but echoed the street-style art vibe of the Subway Surfers brand. It is evident that SYBO is striving to shake off the stigma that street art is vandalism, and instead show how it can beautify a community. For these gaming gods, staying genuine to brand is how to win the game. “Whether it’s the mobile game, the new animated series, or the overall brand itself, Subway Surfers resonates as the original street art brand, and our goal is to democratize street culture,” says Amarchi-Cuevas. She explains that SYBO is specific with partners, looking only for those that encompass the key elements of Subway Surfers: street smarts, edgy youth culture, skate music, and dance. “This style of art—whether it be graffiti, stencils, prints and murals, large-scale paintings and projects of artistic collaboration, among others—is very much part of the brand and represented in all aspects,” says Amarchi-Cuevas. ✪


“The point of each episode is this: There are always consequences to our heroes’ choices,” says Amarchi-Cuevas. In one episode, fans will watch as Jake gets grounded for lying to cover for a friend’s mistake. In another episode, Tricky will “lose” a family heirloom to send a message to her mother, and Fresh will accidentally create a controversial rap remix, reveals Amarchi-Cuevas. SYBO is in talks about creating a longform series as well, she says.

SUBSURF, a line of apparel and accessories, is set to launch in 2019.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kelly Corbett is an editorial assistant at Adventure Publishing Group, where she contributes to leading trade magazines The Toy Book and The Licensing Book. In addition to handling toy and licensing news and updates, she writes toy reviews and commentaries for the Toy Insider.

In the Subway Surfers animated series, we meet four best friends as they navigate the exuberant joys and ironically epic dilemmas of life as tweens. Together, these friends explore their magical city on skateboards and discover an amazing mystery that will change their lives forever.

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