There is no better production company at the moment that casts as big of a shadow over the New York Toy Fair as Disney does. From their awe inspiring spread of kid friendly characters to their rapidly growing stable of boy and collector favorite properties, Disney at the top of its world at this expo.
With so many licensees showcasing products based on Disney’s characters, the movie giant was kind enough to host a small presentation for invited press, retail buyers, as well as other industry members, where they highlighted select products from just a handful of their highly anticipated upcoming movies and television programs.
Starting off the event was Jim Babcock, Director of Communications for Disney Consumer Products. Jim took the stage as host of the event and quickly jumped into things.
“We have a lot of fun planned – you guys ready for some fun?” Jim asked. “The great properties we have coming out are going to heat up theaters, TV screens, and more.”
Jim briefly went through the properties that they’ll be focusing on, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars Rebels, Planes Fire and Rescue, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, before introducing Josh Silverman, EVP Disney Global Licensing, to come out and start the presentation.
“We had a fantastic 2013, building momentum off of that, we have franchises sure to take off this year.” Stated Silverman during his speech. Silverman also specifically stressed the “continued growth of Marvel and acquisition of Lucasfilm.”
The first property to be shown was Planes: Fire & Rescue. The never before seen trailer for the film featured a lot of action with both completed and what seemed to be pre-rendered clips. After the clip Babcock came back wielding Mattel’s Fire-Blastin’ Dusty. The toy runs $49.99 and has plastic blue balls that play as water that Dusty can swoop down to pick up as well as drop down to put out fires.
Dane Cook, the voice of Dusty, came out in a very well tailored suit to talk a little about the film as well as the hours he joked he spent recording “OH YEAH” for the toy, which he also stated has a great likeness if him.
Dane lamented on how much he loved “voicing Dusty again. It’s really exciting, and I’m really porud to be a part of it. My nieces and nephews were the original critics. To be out and about and see kids with the toys, I go up and say ‘BULLSEYE!’ so they know it’s me. It’s a great reaction.”
The next property was Amazing Spider-Man 2. “What is a hero without villains, and Spidey is barraged with villains every second of this film.”
The video shown was the “Enemies Unite” trailer that was released on Super Bowl Sunday. When the lights came back on Babcock had An Electro Marvel Legends figure from Hasbro in hand. After a few moments talking about the villain we suddenly heard “Not so fast”.
From behind the audience a kid dressed as Spider-Man took the stage. After some goading from Babcock the child attacked both Babcock and his Electro figure with a web-shooting Spider-Man figure,getting silly string all over his nice suit.
After being asked who he was, the child took off his mask revealing his identity to be Jorge Garcia from the film. After a brief Q&A with Babcock asking Garcia what it was like working with Spider-Man Andrew Garfield himself came onto the stage.
“There are a lot of villains coming Spidey’s way, but me and Jorge will figure it out together,” Garfield said. Talking about Electro, he said “What’s fascinating about this character is that you care about him. It’s important to remember that villains, they weren’t born bad. Hitler was a baby!
“What’s amazing about Jamie Foxx is that he elicits so much empathy from everyone he meets. So Spider-Man given the duty to take down someone he cares for is interesting.”
“It’s more hellish being Peter Parker than being Spider-Man,” said Garfield, “the internal battles are much harder. The physical stuff is more freeing for him.”
Next up was the Guardians of the Galaxy where we were treated to a special press reel for the film! Kevin Feige said “we have as unique a cast of characters as we’ve ever had.” James Gunn, Director said he wanted to create a “gritty” but “colorful” world.
Chris Pratt said Star-Lord is a kid at heart who left Earth during the 80’s so that’s all he really has for pop culture references. “He doesn’t have superhuman strength or the ability to fly, but he talks his way out of things.”
Rocket Raccoon was referred to as the heart of the film and Groot is muscle with a certain sweetness to him. We saw a clip of Vin Diesel in the sound booth saying “I AM GROOT.”
Although he could not be there in person, Chris Pratt was seen in a pre-recorded message talking about the twelve inch Star-Lord talking action figure produced by Hasbro which he recorded the lines for.
“I’m playing with myself on camera! Not in a way that would be inappropriate.” He then played with the Quad Blaster from Hasbro. The ESRP is $19.99 and is expected to see release from Hasbro in July.
Last but not least is Star Wars Rebels! They started by showing a teaser trailer and Freddie Prinze Junior was on hand with two Stormtroopers on either side of him to talk about the new toys.
After looking at the LEGO “Ghost” ship based on the upcoming a Rebels show, Prinze said that when he went to the audition, he didn’t know he was going in for a Star Wars show but when a fellow actor friend who was auditioning told him it was for Star Wars he got excited stating that he walked in the door and said “is this ___ing Star Wars? You guys have to give me a minute” and left the room, collected himself, then came back in for the audition.
Prinze revealed that they have about half of season one of Rebels completed, and he said “when there’s a week we don’t record, I’m bummed out. I jones for it!”
Prinze also mentioned that they call Stormtroopers “Bucket heads” on the show, then he attempted to do a Jedi Mind trick on them on stage saying “I’m not the Rebel you’re looking for” before leaving the stage.
After the presentation we were escorted into a reception area where we had the opportunity to get some more face time with the products from the properties mentioned above.
In a small corner of this room we also saw a hands-on demonstration of the Disney Infinity video game! While new details on the future of the game, especially the rumors about Star Wars and Marvel expansions, we’re not discussed we did get to see some awesome world building action with many of the game assets that have already been released since the game’s launch this last fall.