February 28, 2014 |
Mattel Inc. dominates the market for dolls with its Barbie, Monster High and American Girl brands. But now it also wants to play with blocks. The El Segundo giant is paying $460 million to buy Canadian construction toy company Mega Brands Inc. as it pursues what it calls a “strategic imperative” to grow beyond the categories upon which it has relied for years. The acquisition essentially heralds a turf war between Mattel and Danish company Lego, which makes the popular plastic bricks currently being featured on-screen in box-office king “The Lego Movie.” Lego said Thursday that its global sales rose 10% last year even as the toy industry slipped slightly.
February 19, 2014 |
Forget Barbie on the cover wrap of Sports Illustrated's 50th annual swimsuit issue. My personal bathing suit hero is 27-year-old Lena Dunham, who has done more to improve the self-esteem of young women in her scant career than the iconic plastic doll has ever done, despite a 55-year career that has seen her transformed from princess into pilot, police officer, paleontologist and presidential candidate. In last Sunday's episode of “Girls,” Dunham's delightfully transgressive HBO series about an annoying quartet of self-involved, post-college adultlets, Dunham spent most of the 30-minute show, set in a resort town on Long Island's North Fork, in a green string bikini.
February 13, 2014 |
Barbie isn't sorry anymore. She's taken to the pages of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition to come out with a message for all the haters, in all of her plastic, unrealistically sculpted glory. With her hair and diminutive shoulders pulled back, she appears in a black-and-white one-piece declaring, "This is #unapologetic," in Mattel's latest effort to bring Barbie back into the cultural conversation -- on its terms. "She very much has a place in societal conversation as well -- we're always talking to multiple audiences," said Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni . Clearly, the campaign and the SI spread featuring 22 dolls aren't aimed at our children of doll-playing age. "This program is about underscoring who you are, being unapologetic about who you are and celebrating that alongside all these great women and legends who are more than just pretty faces," Chidoni said.
February 12, 2014 |
The Toys R Us store on La Cienega and Santa Monica Boulevard is likely to be swarmed by screenwriters and producers this week, given the $69-million opening of “The Lego Movie” over the weekend. If Legos can kill at the box office, they will be asking themselves, which toy on these shelves is the next hot property? I only wish I had anticipated this trend. If I had simply written an action-packed script, hired a small film crew and reassembled the tens of thousands of Lego pieces my son long ago left packed away in the basement, I could be a millionaire by now. But who knew chunky little plastic people would be the new stars of Hollywood?
February 11, 2014 |
At 55 years old, she's no spring chicken, but come Feb. 18, Barbie will strike a sexy pose for Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary swimsuit issue along with famous beauties such as Christie Brinkley, Kathy Ireland, Heidi Klum and Kate Upton. The appearance will be the Mattel doll's first in the magazine's pages. The toy, a perennial bestseller despite a recent slump in sales, first appeared on shelves in 1959 wearing a black-and-white chevron bathing suit. Barbie's spread in Sports Illustrated, shot by Walter Iooss Jr., will feature 22 dolls.
January 31, 2014 |
Mattel Inc.'s earnings during the all-important holiday season left Wall Street cold, suggesting that kids weren't clamoring to be given toys. The El Segundo company's net income was up 23%, rising to $1.07 a share, or $369.2 million, from 87 cents a share, or $306.5 million, a year earlier - a period that had been dampened by a massive litigation charge. But the toy giant's performance disappointed analysts, who had expected profit of $1.19 a share. Revenue also fell short of projections, declining 6% to $2.11 billion and missing the $2.37-billion mark set by forecasters as well as Mattel's own expectations.