Monthly Archives: April 2018

WOWZA! Rudy Panucci Recaps Toylanta 2018 (Video)

Bottom Line: Another great video review from the Popculteer himself, Rudy Panucci. Enjoy!

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Lock-n-Load! GIjOE Collector’s Club Releases First Pics of its 2018 JoeCon “Green Beret Machine Gun Outpost Set” Featuring New Larry Selman Artwork

2018_12inchbox.jpg2018_12inchSET.jpg2018_GBaccessories.jpg

Bottom Line: You knew it was coming, and here it is. Look carefully, this is QUALITY stuff!

Tagged , , ,

Billionaire Brainstorm—or Boondoggle? MGA’s Issac Larian Enters Formal Offer to Purchase U.S. and Canadian Toys ‘R’ Us Stores and Remake Them Into a “Mini Disneyland in Every Neighborhood”

Billionaire Hopes to Preserve “Toys ‘R’ Us Experience” for His Grandson’s Generation

isaaclarian

Isaac Larian— MGA Entertainment mogel and owner of the “Bratz” line of dolls (Photo: Mediatly)

In a bizarre twist to the ongoing Toys ‘R’ Us bankruptcy saga, billionaire Isaac Larian of MGA Entertainment has offered to purchase over 280 of the 735 Toys ‘R’ Us locations currently facing imminent and permanent closure for a whopping $887 million. Why, you might ask, would ANYONE want to spend all that money on what appears to be a dying “brick-n-mortar” business model showing NO hope of surviving in today’s digital “get it now” Amazonian shopping age? For the latest on this unexpected and constantly evolving story, we refer you to a story posted yesterday over on the CNN website (HERE) which reveals the following surprising intel:

malecomment

“Isaac Larian said Friday that he’s entered a formal offer of $675 million to buy many of the Toys “R” Us stores in the United States, along with an additional $215 million for Toys “R” Us stores in Canada. Larian is looking to buy more than 200 of the remaining 735 locations in the US, and almost all of more than 80 locations in Canada, a spokesperson said. Larian, who runs MGA Entertainment, will use his own money for the bid, along with financing from banks and additional investors, according to a press release. ‘The liquidation of Toys ‘R’ Us is going to have a long-term effect on the toy business. The industry will truly suffer,’ he said in a statement. ‘The prospect of bringing the Toys ‘R’ Us experience to a new generation, my new grandson’s generation, is enough to motivate me to Save Toys ‘R’ Us.’ Toys “R” Us declined to comment.”

Can you imagine being ready, willing and ABLE to spend $887 million dollars—of your own money—to prevent some 280 Toys ‘R Us stores from closing? Is Larian truly serious? It appears so. The CNN article goes on to reveal that the billionaire’s long-term strategy for saving 280 failing stores goes far beyond providing a heartfelt or nostalgic shopping “experience” for his grandson’s generation. Here’s what his plans REALLY are:

Larian’s vision for Toys ‘R Us includes turning its stores into entertainment hotspots. ‘We will make Toys ‘R Us an experience in and of itself; a fun and engaging place where families can spend an entire day,” he said in his statement on Friday. ‘Imagine a mini-Disneyland in each neighborhood.”

tripadvisor

Been There, Done That— Larian’s concept of converting old Toys ‘R’ Us stores into “Mini-Disneylands” has already been tried—and failed. This one, the chain’s flagship store in New York City’s bustling Times Square district, was big enough to fit a ferris wheel inside! Guess what? Yup. It’s closed now. If this mega-store concept didn’t work in Times Square, with all of its never-ending foot traffic, how could it succeed elsewhere? How much do you think they’d have to mark-up TRU toys to pay for all of this? Perhaps Larian should give his ambitious plan a teeny bit more thought. (Photo: tripadvisor) Click to enlarge.

TimeSquareNight2-1920x570

Can You See Them NOW?— Before closing, the TRU flagship store in NYC also had the added benefit of a giant, wraparound video marquee. Can you imagine something like this surrounding Larian’s proposed 280 “mini-Disneylands” in the U.S. and Canada? Would such a monumental investment in time, material, and CASH really be worth it? Or is the lure and ease of “one-click” and “add to cart” online shopping simply too powerful for “brick-n-mortar” retailers to overcome? (Photo: tripadvisor) Click to enlarge.

toys-r-us-times-square

Welcome to Barbie Town— You’ve heard of the famous (also now gone) “Barbie Aisle,” right? Well, how about an entire Barbie TOWN? This amazing retail display was also in the NYC TRU store before it closed. Imagine a similar structure built by Hasbro called the “GIjOE PX” or something like that, full of Joes, Jeeps, equipment sets and more. Hey, we can dream, can’t we? (Photo: tripadvisor) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This is all so FASCINATING. And hopeful. And exciting! But will ANY of it actually come to pass? Will Larian’s offer be accepted? Will he really spend even MORE of his own money to convert a bunch of aging Toys ‘R’ Us stores into 280 “mini-Disneylands?” It’s been tried in major cities already, and sadly, it’s failed. To be honest then, its doubtful much will come of this new development. But don’t lose hope, dear readers. We’ll keep you updated as this ever-changing, high-stakes, and “quixotic” tale of money, family, and TOYS continues to unfold. Stay tuned!

Tagged , , ,

Hollywood Came-a-Calling—Creator of 1:6 Scale Accessories Asked to Produce Miniature Props for Use in Upcoming 2018 Film, “The Women of Marwen”

carellcloseupwjeep

Meet Steve’s “Little Women”— Actor Steve Carell sits on a park bench in Vancouver, Canada, while taking a break from shooting his upcoming (Nov. 2018) film, “The Women of Marwen.” Alongside him sits a “Jeep-full” of miniature female co-stars, some (possibly) sporting tiny 1:6 scale patches or other accessories created by Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride, (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

Steve Carell Pic to Feature Products Produced by 1:6 Company, “Patches of Pride”

This isn’t a “big story” by any means, but here it is, nonetheless: Patches of Pride (PoP), the well-known and respected producer of 1:6 scale miniature products (typically utilized by collectors and customizers of GIjOE action figures), has recently received (and shipped out) several mass orders of patches, armbands and other related accessories to various film industry costuming businesses in both Canada and Hollywood. Normally, that would be “non-news” to the public; the sort of boring, internal sales information typically only of interest to the businesses and individuals involved.

40-Year-OldVirginMoviePoster

Actor and toy collector, Steve Carell (Photo: Universal Pictures)

But in this case— the film industry costumers in question happened to be working on a new movie project that should hold GREAT interest for fans of 1:6 scale. In fact, the Canadian and LA costumers we’re talking about have been tasked with creating miniature 1:6 scale uniforms that will be utilized in an upcoming Universal production entitled, “The Women of Marwen” (aka “TWOM” see HERE). From what we can gather online, TWOM is being directed by “Back to the Future” auteur, Robert Zemeckis and stars actor, comedian, and action figure fan, Steve Carell, of “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” fame. The products ordered from Patches of Pride would be used to accessorize miniature costumes and military uniforms worn by some of the film’s “smaller stars.” We tracked down PoP’s head honcho, Mark Otnes, and asked him how he felt about undertaking this exciting new foray into movie prop production. He replied:

malecomment

“Well, I think it’s overstating it a bit to say that Patches of Pride has moved into ‘movie prop production.’ Yes, it is exciting to think that something we’ve created may appear ‘up there on the big screen,’ but this was probably just a one-time deal for us—unless they do a sequel. I’m a HUGE fan of both Zemeckis and Carell. Just knowing that they’re working on a film project together with 1:6 scale action figures is VERY cool news. And I LOVED Carell’s take on the societal pressures and ‘trials and tribulations’ faced by action figure collectors in ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin.’ You could FEEL his pain at the thought of selling his beloved collectibles. Hilarious!

As to my business’ involvement with this new film, ‘The Women of Marwen,’ I simply filled a number of orders that came in from new customers located in Canada and Los Angeles. That’s it. At the time, they were very nice and notified me that the patches and other products they were ordering were for something they called, ‘an untitled Robert Zemeckis project.’ I knew who Mr. Zemeckis was, but I didn’t know that this so-called ‘untitled project’ was going to be a film. I just learned that fact recently, myself! I’d thought it was going to be a TV documentary on WWII or something like that. But hey, a Steve Carell movie sounds a WHOLE lot cooler!

And keep in mind that I also don’t know if anything I made for them will actually appear on-screen in the movie, or if PoP will get any sort of credit. Most likely not. You know how unpredictable filmmaking can be. Our products may just be used in test shots or scenes that end up on the ‘cutting room floor.’ However it all works out, you can bet that I’ll be watching the movie VERY closely for any signs of my work. Everything we sell at Patches of Pride comes from original art files that I’ve created. That way, I can easily recognize my work whenever and wherever I see it. If someone uses ANY of our products on their custom figures or vehicles, I can tell. I know ALL of the (thousands) of PoP products by heart—AND by sight.”

POPLOGOinblue1_11

Bottom Line: This sounds like it’ll be a really cool flick and a wonderful opportunity for Zemeckis, Carell and Patches of Pride as well. We wish all concerned with this project the very best of luck. “The Women of Marwen” is scheduled for a November 2018 release. If any further information becomes available before that time, we’ll be sure to share it with you here on The Joe Report ASAP. Will any of Otnes’ 1:6 scale products actually end up on screen? Stay tuned!

Tagged , , , ,

Beware!— Dead-Eyed “Zombie Joe” Has Arrived

zombiejoe

The Walking Dead— Right out of the box, this new “black & white” 12″ club exclusive figure from the GIjOE Collector’s Club strikes many as, well, “DEAD” looking. It may be hard to see from this photo, but in person, our newly nicknamed, “Zombie Joe,” has a gray body that also (inexplicably) has a greenish hue to it, adding to its already moribund effect. Combined with EXTREMELY droopy eyes, ol’ “ZJ” appears destined to “haunt” collector’s shelves—or parts bins. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Is this REALLY the FINAL “membership exclusive” figure for fans of 12-Inch GIJOEs?

It’s rare that a package containing a brand-new GIjOE shows up, unannounced, in our company’s mailroom; but today was just such an occasion. Typically, such unplanned, “surprise” events have been met with grand celebrations among the overworked staffers here at The Joe Report, but sadly, today, that was not to be the case. When the receptionist dropped the morning mail onto my desk—I literally JUMPED out of my chair. I saw the box from the GIjOE club and immediately buzzed everyone’s intercom, calling for an urgent “all hands on deck” meeting in the conference room.

b&wjoehead

Ol’ “Dead Eyes”— Without a doubt, “Zombie Joe” wins the prize for having the DEADEST-looking eyes of ANY GIjOE brand action figure ever made. Depending on the steadiness of your hand and the fine point of your paintbrush, corrections CAN be made. But if you’re one of those fans who are “artistically-challenged,” you may just have to LIVE with it. CREEPY! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Standing elbow to elbow, we happily ringed around the massive, oblong conference table, our hands wringing and our breath held “in toto” in silent, anxious anticipation. As we all knew, first glimpses and first impressions were EVERYTHING whenever a new Joe joined our ranks, and this unusual figure would prove to be no exception. The room fell DEATHLY quiet (a term that would prove to be quite apropos) and as the plain, “coffin-style” mailing box was finally opened, the first, HONEST reactions from those present plunged wildly from eager, ecstatic anticipation—to stunned, silent SHOCK. A “temp” from the upstairs steno pool audibly gasped. A copywriter, unsure of exactly how she might describe or “spin” what she seeing, simply giggled. One of our “street-wise” freelance photographers actually seemed to recoil—but in what? Fear? HORROR? It wasn’t exactly clear. Finally, someone managed to speak up and blurted out, “What IS that thing?”

b&wjoeshorts

Super Surfer Shorts— The BEST thing about the new 12-inch exclusive figure from the GIJOE Collector’s Club is—without a doubt—his classic GIjOE logo boxer shorts. The vintage logo imprinted on them looks FANTASTIC and these nifty new “jams” will undoubtedly become highly-prized collectibles on their own, despite the “less-than-lively” figure they adorn. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Hello there, Zombie Joe! What stared up at us from that cardboard coffin box was indeed a shocking sight to many. It can only be described as some sort of gray/greenish “corpse-like” figure. Comparisons to zombies and TV’s “The Walking Dead” quickly come to mind, but the most common appellation that came up among our group was “lifeless.” Of all the GIjOEs we’ve ever seen, and believe me, we’ve seen a LOT of them, this is the most… DEAD looking. Oh well, a “dead” GIjOE will certainly find a place in many sci-fi or other such 1:6 scale custom dioramas. If you can think of a good use for this figure, please let us know. Without his “black & white” uniform, he’s quite literally, “lifeless.” But heck, a Joe is a Joe—is a JOE. We’ll take ’em ALL!

 

Tagged ,
Advertisements