Mattel Feature ‘Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams’ Headed to Digital and DVD May 10 From NCircle and Distribution Solutions

Mattel’s animated feature Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams will be released on digital and DVD May 10 from NCircle Entertainment and Distribution Solutions.

Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams takes the cultural icon across the country to New York City as Barbie enrolls in a highly competitive summer program at the Handler School for Performing Arts where she meets a fellow student named Barbie Roberts. They become fast friends and quickly adopt nicknames inspired by their beloved hometowns, Malibu and Brooklyn, for their many new friends to distinguish them when together. The film includes all-new music.

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The cast includes America Young (Barbie Dreamhouse Adventure) as the voice of Barbie “Malibu” Roberts, Amber May as the voice of Barbie “Brooklyn” Roberts, Greg Chun (“Star Wars: Visions”) as the voice of George Roberts, Kirsten Day (“Gossip Girl”) as the voice of Skipper, and Emma Adele Galvin (“Blue Bloods”) as the voice of Daisy.  

 

‘Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1’ Due on DVD and Digital Nov. 16 From NCircle and Distribution Solutions

The children’s title Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1 will be released on DVD and digital Nov. 16 from NCircle Entertainment and Distribution Solutions.

Viewers peek into the everyday life of Barbie in this animated series and join her as she embarks on adventures with her family and friends — including Ken. From fun road trips to sister shenanigans, Barbie discovers that with a little bit of help and a whole lot of laughter you can be anything.

The series features the voice of America Day as Barbie and Kirsten Day as Skipper.

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The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2

DVD REVIEW: 

Street Date 5/7/19;
Screen Media;
Documentary;
$29.98 DVD;
Not rated.

This eight-part documentary series that originally premiered on Netflix delves into the history of some of the most influential toy brands from the past 50 years.

With a particular focus on toys that were big in the 1980s, when the loosening of the rules governing television programming blurred the line between content and advertising, it’s no surprise that many of the toy lines profiled here also rank among the most significant pop culture franchises as well.

Fittingly, then, the first episode deals with “Star Wars,” and how the George Lucas space opera forever changed the landscape of movie merchandising, while elevating a small toymaker such as Kenner into a national powerhouse. Not that other major players such as Hasbro and Mattel aren’t represented.

The hour-long episodes are divided into two seasons — one season per disc — and smartly focus on a different toy brand each episode. That allows each episode to find its own voice in telling the story of that particular toy, while letting viewers pick and choose which episodes they want to watch based on which of the toys are of interest to them.

Other season one episodes focus on “Barbie,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “G.I. Joe.” Season two deals with “Star Trek,” “The Transformers,” “Lego” and “Hello Kitty.”

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Aside from some invaluable under-the-radar lessons about business and marketing, the episodes offer a pure blast of childhood nostalgia, particularly for Gen Xers who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s.

Which isn’t to say that younger viewers can’t find something to enjoy in the show, as most of these toy lines are pretty timeless. Plus, the upcoming third season will look at newer toys such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Power Rangers” (in addition to “My Little Pony” and professional wrestling toys).

The shows offer a lot of fascinating details about how the toys were created and evolved. The “He-Man” show is entertaining simply for how so many of the line’s creators want to take credit for coming up with it. The story of the creation of Battle Cat is particularly hilarious.

The first disc offers an eight-minute behind-the-scenes featurette with series creator Brian Volk-Weiss, who delves into what his goals for the show were and why certain toys were chosen to be profiled.

It seems like a bit of an odd choice to include “Star Trek,” which has never really been associated with a robust toy line. But as the narrator continually brings up how less successful “Trek” toys have been compared with “Star Wars,” the episode comes across more as an avenue to profile the various toy companies like Mego, Galoob and Playmates that tried their hands at “Star Trek” toy lines over the years, with varying degrees of success.

In fact, the lone deleted scene included with the DVDs is from the “Star Trek” episode, consisting of a two-minute clip of various talking heads wondering why the toys based on the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” reboot didn’t sell well.

That discussion hints at the challenges that not just toymakers, but any steward of a popular brand face in the rapidly changing information age. Some brands have always had better success than others in crossing from one generation to the next, but the means of instant gratification brought on by the Internet have altered the tactile relationship viewers have with their favorite content, both in the collectability and playability of the merchandise associated with it.

As one of the talking heads notes in the deleted scene, we don’t really have pop culture anymore. We have a customizable culture, in which consumers can focus on their fandoms like never before.

Whatever the case, at least we have shows like “The Toys That Made Us” to help remind us why we love these things to begin with.

Documentary Series ‘The Toys That Made Us’ on DVD May 7

Screen Media will release The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD May 7.

The eight-episode Netflix documentary series chronicles the creation, marketing evolution and rise in popularity of several key toy lines, with each episode focused on a different brand.

The first four episodes focus on “Star Wars,” “Barbie,” “He-Man” and “G.I. Joe,” with the second season dealing with “Star Trek,” “Transformers,” “Lego” and “Hello Kitty.”

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Mattel to Capitalize on Growth of Content Platforms With Slate of 22 Programs Based on Its Franchises

Mattel announced it is in development on a new slate of 22 animated and live-action TV programs based on the company’s characters and franchises created by Mattel Television for multi-platform distribution. The productions are based on more than 20 properties in Mattel’s IP portfolio.

The slate will encompass a broad range of genres, including action adventure, humor, game shows and music, and are designed to reach a range of demographics including toddlers and preschool, boys, girls, tweens, teens and families, according to a Mattel release.

“With the proliferation of broadcasting and streaming platforms, there is a growing demand for high-quality content driven by global brands,” said Ynon Kreiz, Chairman and CEO of Mattel, in a statement. “Mattel is the owner of one of the strongest portfolios of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We have countless opportunities to bring these brands to their fans through episodic programming that will capture the imaginations of kids and families worldwide. This marks another important step to capture the full value of our assets as we drive our transformation to become an IP-driven, high-performing toy company.”

Mattel Television is led by Adam Bonnett, who recently joined Mattel as executive producer. Bonnett is a 21-year Disney Channel veteran, working on such hits as “Hannah Montana,” ‘Descendants,” “Kim Possible” and other Emmy Award-winning children’s shows.

Bonnett will work with Christopher Keenan, SVP and executive producer at Mattel Television, whoc has been responsible for animated content development and production of short and long-form episodic television for Barbie, Thomas & Friends, American Girl, Monster High, Bob the Builder, Fisher-Price’s Little People and many other properties within the Mattel portfolio.

Mattel Television will work in partnership with Mattel’s Franchise Management division, in particular, global content distribution led by Fred Soulie, SVP, content distribution and business development. Soulie, a 7-year Saban veteran, will oversee Mattel’s approach to strategic distribution of the slate globally, across all platforms and geographies, according to the release.

On the theatrical side, Mattel also announced it is partnering with MGM to develop a live action motion picture based on Mattel’s American Girl line of books and dolls. Mattel Films, MGM and Picturestart’s Erik Feig will produce the film. Cassidy Lange, MGM’s co-president of production and Robbie Brenner, Mattel Films’ executive producer will oversee production.

Mattel recently announced an upcoming Hot Wheels live action motion picture and the Barbie feature film, starring and co-produced by Academy Award-nominated actress Margot Robbie, both in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures. Mattel has also partnered with Sony Pictures for a reimagining of “Masters of the Universe,” based on Mattel’s toy line which became a successful animated television program.