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Classic Henson Properties Now Available for Merchandise Licensing Opportunities

Discussion in 'Family Worlds' started by Traveling Matt, May 11, 2009.

  1. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt New Member

    Classic Legacy Properties from The Jim Henson Company Now Available for Merchandise Licensing Opportunities

    Recently expired licensing agreement with HIT Entertainment, Fraggle Rock and other properties to JHC control in time for Licensing Show 2009

    HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 11, 2009)- The Jim Henson Company announced today that the internationally beloved property FRAGGLE ROCK will be available for merchandise licensing opportunities directly through the Company’s own newly formed licensing division now that its five year agency agreement with HIT Entertainment has expired. Joining this property in the marketplace just in time for Licensing Show will be classic Henson properties LABYRINTH, DARK CRYSTAL, FARSCAPE and EMMETT OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS. Melissa Segal, Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products for The Jim Henson Company will be considering potential licensees for toys, apparel, accessories, stationery, home furnishings and publishing for these fan-favorites. These properties will be part of the Henson presentation at the Licensing Show in Las Vegas on June 2nd through 4th.

    These classic properties have tremendous recognition around the world and endless potential in the world of consumer products, providing fantastic opportunities for licensees and marketing partners interested in evergreen properties with incredibly strong fan bases” said Segal. “We are looking to answer demands from fans both new and old with new merchandise partners that can create a fresh, hip take on these classics across a wide product mix.”

    With millions of DVDs sold and 5 international Emmy Awards, this wonderfully inventive program which hit the air waves from 1983 – 1987 with 96 original episodes was designed to entertain while encouraging an understanding and embracing of diversity. In 2005, an online petition was signed by over 30,000 fans to get FRAGGLE ROCK back into their homes. HIT Entertainment responded with the release of the first three seasons on DVD and a special collectors’ editions box set of all four seasons.

    A groundbreaking sci-fi production, FARSCAPE is a global favorite. Named by TV Guide as one of television's “Best Cult Shows Ever” and by Empire Magazine as one of the "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time," FARSCAPE is known for the overwhelming fan-based campaign that led to its miniseries production, FARSCAPE: The Peacekeeper Wars. The show has continued to find new audiences as it is available on DVD around the world as well as on iTunes, where it debuted as the top selling sci-fi show. Figurines and plush are also available along with the FARSCAPE comic book series which was entirely sold out five days after its first volume premiered in December 2008. Recently The Jim Henson Company launched an online t-shirt campaign to celebrate FARSCAPE’S 10th Anniversary, where sales reached close to 2000 units in its 24-hour run.

    Produced by The Jim Henson Company with creatures brought to life by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, LABYRINTH was directed by Jim Henson who worked closely with acclaimed artist and conceptual designer, Brian Froud and executive producer, George Lucas. Today, fans both young and old can find LABYRINTH collectible figurines, sculptures, and plush in stores and online. TokyoPop collaborated with The Jim Henson Company to publish manga-style graphic novels titled "Return to Labyrinth", which have continued to be top sellers in Tokyo Pop’s slate. Almost thirty years since its premiere, DVD sales consistently perform well, most recently with Sony Pictures Entertainment release in 2007 as a newly restored, 2 disc anniversary edition, containing never-before-seen interviews, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes footage.

    Jim Henson's Creature Shop worked to build both animatronics and soft puppets for DARK CRYSTAL, marking it as the first ever all-puppet full length feature. This masterful live-action fantasy continues to sell in specialty stores worldwide and on the web in a collection of figurines, sculptures, and plush. The world of the Gelflings, Mystics,and Skeksis can also be found in the exciting new manga prequel, "Legends of the Dark Crystal", published by TokyoPop in collaboration with The Jim Henson Company. Sony Pictures Entertainment released the latest edition of high performing DVDs with its 2-Disc 25th Anniversary Edition featuring never before seen footage from The Jim Henson Company archives including new commentary by Brian Froud, deleted scenes, and never-before-seen footage.

    Based on a book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, and marking the first time puppets were radio controlled, this Christmas story is about Ma and Emmet Otter - a family that has little more than each other. HIT Entertainment recently released this holiday classic on DVD to celebrate the 2008 Christmas season and the stage version of Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas had its world premiere in December 2008 at the Connecticut Goodspeed Theater, the only two-time Tony Award winning theatre in the United States.

  2. bazooka_beak

    bazooka_beak Active Member

    Very anxious to see what will come of this (especially for Fraggle Rock and Labyrinth).
  3. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I hope they'll do some Fraggle figures. MindStyle kind of finked out on us. I hope they don't have the authority to hold up production for anyone else wanting to make them - or at least will release theirs soon. Waiting for the film is just too long. :smirk:

    Still, exciting news. It's about time.
  4. matleo

    matleo Active Member

    Mindstyle finked out on us? Let's not forget the bigger finker when it comes to Fraggles, HIT themselves. Or as I like to think of it "Fraggle Rock on DVD. Buy it again for the first time!" :smirk:

  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Or as I like to think of it... "Hey, at least they actually gave it to us on DVD when they could have easily just given up after 3 volumes of 4 episodes each."

    I have a feeling no one expected the Fraggle Rock movie to take so long to produce. Mindstyle wanted to wait until the movie came out to release the figures, and I really think they expected it next year at the latest.

    I'm really hoping this new company gives us the next Fraggle season we didn't quite get, and helps to hype them up for the movie... but think about it. had it not been for Hit, Fraggles would have just been a nostalgic buzz that lasted a year on T-shirts. We're talking a movie and a new Doozer show. Had they not done a good job initially, I don't think the movie would have come as far as it did now.
  6. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I don't get the Mindstyle thing .. buy license, create figures, wait for film. Aren't they in danger of license running out or maybe it has already. It's far from clear when the film will be released.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    As I just said, methinks Mindstyle got the bad info that the Fraggle Rock movie is coming out this year. I'd be surprised if they're even still in business by the time the FR movie comes out. And even if they wanted to get those things out, wouldn't they need to re-negotiate the license?
  8. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I will admit to wanting the Fraggle figure license away from MindStyle. Their initial take on blind boxing, kiddie alphabet bases and expensive SRP for the Fraggle brand just doesn't sit well with me. The same goes for their extremely and needlessly expensive Dark Crystal figures derived from conceptual drawings rather than the actual puppets. Their objective seemed illusive, overpriced and off the mark. People just want to go in a store and buy a good representation of the characters they remember at a reasonable price. MindStyle spends a fortune on the decorative box.

    I favor Neca's Skeksis figure for under 20 bucks (coming soon). I want a classic Boober Fraggle figure (articulated or static posed) for under 15. That shouldn't be so much to ask. Let's hope this is the trend of the future. Mindstyle is just an overly stylish, expensive ill-fit in my opinion. I want to see some more merchandise on shelves in the store where I work!
  9. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt New Member

    With the objectives they listed, I hope Henson can figure out what they want to do with Fraggle besides the film. Not only producing the figures (with or without Mindstyle) but also producing other material relating to the original series. They’d certainly have publicity opportunities once the movie rolls out.

    I believe the coffee table book could still be a wonderful collector’s item, if it had everything the initial report said it would – concept art, pullout pieces, production photos, everything you could imagine squeezed between the pages, from both company and personal collections. I maintain hopes for that, especially if publishing is a licensing goal.

    I’d also like to see the entire soundtrack to the series available on disc or download. There are so many terrific songs never released, and a complete CD collection would finally do those melodies justice. iTunes could be a supplemental method or perhaps an alternative if such a production proved cost-prohibitive. There are also other alternatives such as niche companies like Screen Archives, who find ways to cater to audiences wanting obscure titles, often made available in limited quantities with higher price points. Some of their offerings are large collections, such as their recent Superman 8-disc set.
  10. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I agree. I just know there's a market for Fraggles beyond preschoolers, Hot Topic or high priced gimmicky vinyl. They really should strike a deal to air the episodes again. Maybe that’s going to happen too. The Fraggle reruns should have a home on Nick. If that happened stores might be more receptive to stocking Fraggle items on their shelves.

    I'm still sad about the book. Has that gone away for good?
  11. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt New Member

    I don’t know if it’s gone for good or not, but I wouldn’t rule it out. The show is now the top priority among Henson’s classic brands, with the movie still to come, and they’re actively looking for a publisher.

    I think awareness and distribution are both key. It would help if the show was on the air again - the new Doozer show certainly should - but embracing new methods of getting people to know about products AND giving them easy, full access to those products is the way to go. And today, that’s distribution online as well as in store (especially for media).
  12. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    This sounds like good news to me. It's a wonder that Fraggle Rock and other shows weren't on Sprout when Hit! had the Henson license.
  13. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Anyone remember the epic year of 2003 as far as Fraggle merchandise at stores? Man I remember so much Fraggly goodness back then.

    I remember the HUGE obsession people had with Farscape, way bigger hardcore fanbase for Farscape than the Muppets I hate to say. Is that still around?

    I dont see much merch oppurtunity for Emmet Otter tho. But definitely still for Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.

    Anyways, youre right Dr Tooth...I never would have thought they would have four volumes out, talk of a real movie, a new tv show for kids, toys, etc. Crazyness!

    Isnt the FR movie not even a possibility til 2010 or beyond?
  14. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I WISH kids these days could be exposed to Fraggle Rock in some way. Even growing up in the 80's it was hard for me to see Fraggle Rock due to it being on HBO
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'd like to see figures similar to the Sababa Doozers... but with all the characters. I like some of what Mindstyle was doing, but the pseudo-Japanese blind boxing (which, coming from a collector of the actual Japanese ones works better when it's packaged with Candy and a trading card), the random letters, they didn't sit too well. Sadly, the only collector style figures they even make anymore are blind box vynals. There's like, what, 2 or 3 companies still doing action figures? Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if they were expensive. You can't even get a shrimpy Star Wars Hasbro action figure for under 8 bucks now. And that's a massive mass produced, mass market product.

    I just want them to say, "Heck with the movie" and release these as soon as they can, and let the license lapse after that.... It's a shame no company really does unpackaged PVC's anymore (except, maybe the German company Schliech or however that's spelled). Is Applause even still around?
  16. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt New Member

    Kids are being exposed to it today through the DVDs, of course. And they’ll get to see even more when the Doozer show airs.

    A re-broadcast would be welcome, but the original series is really more accessible now than it’s ever been.
  17. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    That's true, but it would help Fraggle DVD sales if kids were exposed to the Fraggles on television first. Watch for all things Fraggle to pop up after the Doozer's show. I just hope the classic stuff isn't overlooked at that point. :busy:
  18. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt New Member

    There is definitely a market, niche at least, for classic series merchandise other than just DVDs. I hope Henson is aware of that and takes advantage of new methods for getting stuff out there. That's the really big key.

    What keeps most items from making it to the shelf are costs due to either production, storage, shipping or all three. But if you had an online store whose model was small order, or even made-to-order like Warner Home Video's Archives program, you could produce items in volume more accurate to demand, reduce (or in some cases eliminate) storage costs and completely reconfigure your demographic standards in terms of distribution.

    After all, if online orders are shipped to each customer directly, there's no need to target audiences or specialty stores. People would come to you, instead of you going to them.

    Me too. The thing about a small or made-to-order model is that you could minimalize, or even avoid, having your more popular items wipe out the less popular ones. All while reducing bulk stock, creating better balance and availability, and potentially releasing everything a fan could want.
  19. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I honestly think some kids CGI Fraggle Rock TV remake would make most hardcore fans around here have nightmares if they saw it. I don't think Henson would make a TV show any other way .. both down to cost and down to what actually "sells" within the industry. Thankfully the Doozer things looks quite good and the whole concept does actually fit CGI quite well - so it should go down great and be less of a shocker. I think it was pretty obvious the Doozers would go CGI in the movie anyway, so its a great way of getting the kids to see the Fraggle film, and it won't mess too much with the actual Fraggles or Fraggle concept being kept as traditional as possible.

    I love the Henson company, great people and fantastic creativity - but i can't help but think that sometimes they really need to just focus and build up one or two different brands rather than pumping out these endless kids shows, which are usually too overly preachy (science sid, eco doozers) and not strong enough to catch on for whatever reason. They need to look at what else in this style has been around for years (Bob The Builder etc) and kinda learn some lessons on what kids like now. It's frankly a bit disturbing they are pumping shows out that have the "look" but are stuck back in the early 90's in terms of writing and theme. I've always thought kids tv should be about entertaining them more than educating them ... if they learn along the way its a bonus!

    As for licensing, that all comes into it, but i think especially with the classics, if they are being promoted to kids as well it needs a two tiered licensing programme. What adults want, and what will actually "sell" to kids toy distributors are two completely different things. I think the properties are probably strong enough for both, rather than making something in-between that just doesn't get picked up by the right distributors eitherway and dissapoints everyone.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    A Fraggle Rock CGI series I'd only accept in the terms of the Fraggle Rock animated series not having puppets in it... or if they use the Waldo system. Personally, I don't see why reairing the older series somewhere wouldn't work... remember when Scooby Doo came back in the 90's, and kids were watching the original 1960's episodes without complaint of it being old? I feel the same thing could work. A lot of kids are exposed to FR from the DVD's... seems to me, if they put it on television somewhere, they'd get the exposure they need to hype the property up for the movie.

    The problem is, where? Sprout seemed like the best place, but now that Hit's out of the picture, there's no chance of that. And other cable channels and PBS would rather air the new model programs, where characters ask the home audience to help them with everything in a pathetic attempt to be "interactive."

    That's what I really like about Sid... sure, it does have that 90's writing... but it treats the a home audience as a Home audience. The way he talks to the audience is no different from say David Letterman or a sports caster or something to that extent. Not like some computer game that really isn't a computer game. That is my main concern with the Doozers... will they talk to the home audience as guests (in a similar way to Sesame Street) or will they sit for 30 seconds waiting to answer their own questions, talking like they had a stroke, like Dora, Blue's Clues, Superwhy, and all that garbage. I would tend to think the former...

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