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eFX Collectibles to produce Muppet Replicas

Discussion in 'Muppet Replicas' started by FennShysa, Jun 9, 2009.

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What Muppet Replica do you want the most?

  1. Rizzo the Rat

    42 vote(s)
    13.7%
  2. Miss Piggy

    77 vote(s)
    25.2%
  3. Pepe the King Prawn

    41 vote(s)
    13.4%
  4. Fozzie Bear

    146 vote(s)
    47.7%

  1. muppetguy

    muppetguy Member

    I guess it's no more...

    So, I guess it's safe to say and assume that efx has squashed their plans in EVER making these muppet photo puppets...right? No news from the company, no plans to try to sell even reporter Kermit? Any news on Disney pulling out of working with efx? It's a shame, cause I really would have liked a Piggy and Fozzie..and Rizzo. :sympathy:
  2. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    sadly im not surprised if the line never sees light of day...i think the time frame was just to soon and costs were just to high
  3. Reevz1977

    Reevz1977 Well-Known Member

    My honest opinion of EFX (in regards to the Muppets atleast) is that they are a complete waste of space. As harsh as it sounds, during the latter days of Master Replicas there was disappointment after disappointment, broken promises after broken promises. It's my understanding that EFX is made up of some of the same key people and...shock horror...it's the same story here. I have sent probably 5 or 6 emails asking where the line stood and I've not had even one reply. There seems to be a complete lack of common courtesy and very little regard for the customer. Like I said, harsh but indeed fair!
  4. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    Not totally safe, BUT, it looks like Rizzo,Reporter Kermit and Miss Piggy have moved into the hospital on life support with Fozzie.:cry:
  5. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I found that chain that MR's Animal was supposed to come with - EFX has been yanking it all along! It appears their business plan was to hype this nonexistent product into being. Many companies do that, but EFX had begun talking accessories and leading us to believe these items were months away from hitting store shelves.

    I commend them for taking a stab at the Muppets. Posers are such a gamble with a very slim profit margin, but EFX knew the challenges. Let's be honest, they aren't just staffed by MR employees, they really *are* MR, but leaner, with a different shingle and tax ID number. Many insiders who have spoken to me expressed some of misgivings long before they announced the Muppet line. I never felt they were quite on the level either.

    Anyone can open a collectibles company out of their garage with a little start up cash and some connections. Follow-through is what counts. EFX has the Star Wars license. They really don't need anything else. We're really not "entitled" to anything, but I deal with large and small collectibles companies on a daily basis and EFX's customer service has fallen remarkably short of the median. Where most companies have bent over backwards to keep my business or that of my little store, EFX comes off as either evasive or abrasive. Maybe that's just an isolated incident. I'm an incredibly customer-service-friendly. You have to be in this business unless you're selling hemp-filled Yodas. (No, we do not sell hemp-filled Yodas.)

    I admit to being a little bit sour about the posers, but in the end I still want to see them made - by EFX or anyone! If affording one requires my pulling a bank job then so be it! Our store would still be proud to display Rizzo, Reporter Kermit or whatever Muppets anyone releases! I'm at work right now and just received raves about Animal, Kermit and Gonzo. There is a market for these guys.
  6. MuppetCaper

    MuppetCaper Active Member

    They haven't fallen short in the customer service part at all. Over @ RS (Star Wars forum) we hear from Bryan ALL the time. Believe me. They are not losing customers or money for that matter. They just sold three helmets, one studio scale model ( which my money will be going for as soon as I save up the rest.) Two Light Saber replicas and more. Also they have the disney line going on which I don't know how that's doing, but they are still on the move.

    Yes, it is really sad that they are not moving with the Muppet line and I understand their stand on this. If they are not made right, we are going to hear a lot of complaining. If they cost too much, people won't buy them and be complaining. We all have been through this three times with MR. So Byran wants to put out good products and I don't blame him. So their is not where to really go with this at the moment with the economy the way it is. My whole outlook is if they make them, they do, and if it doesn't happen oh well. Move on to something else. Only time will tell.
  7. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    My personal experience has been quite different in the area of customer service and I'm not alone, but I'm sure the more avid EFX forum members enjoy their experience over there.

    As stated, they only need the Star Wars license and talented artists to make the replicas for them to do okay. Still, they really should remove the Muppets from their site if they have no intention of making them (no matter what the reason). I guess they paid a lot of money to place the Muppets sticker on their list of licenses.
  8. Davina

    Davina Member

    Honestly, if they were to outright tell us that the line was on hold due to the economy, etc, that would go a long way to helping us all keep faith, even if only to put them to rest. But the fact that they simply aren't telling us anything about the line.. sure there might be nothing new and they might be tired of the same questions over and over, but come on.. this is a sign that we are interested and want the product, they could at least up date us once in a while, throw us a bone..
  9. BobThePizzaBoy

    BobThePizzaBoy Well-Known Member

    I'm calling it quits on waiting for eFX to get Rizzo out there. I think the poser line was doomed from the start. I only have the Master Replicas Kermit and haven't gotten around to getting Animal and Gonzo but eFX isn't getting anywhere with the line. They tried, that's the great thing, they were trying so hard and attempting to keep us posted on when Rizzo would be up for pre-order but it never came to fruition simply because the difficulties to produce the rat. We got three great Muppet replicas and it was fun while it lasted but I'm giving up on eFX. Though I give them big points for trying so hard.
  10. MadForPepe

    MadForPepe New Member

    I don't know why this poll shows most people want a Miss Piggy replica, because there are so many available? At least where I live.....

    Of coure, the anwser to this poll must be Pepe!
  11. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    Well they can't have the license for much longer so i think that time really will tell. It was a flawed decision to take on that license from the start. As a Muppet fan, i was glad of it. But if MR replicas couldn't even sell through the $300 budget ones, and the market for these is so small that they wouldn't get many orders for premium priced eFX ones then given the license cost, manufacturing costs etc they were never going to make any cash from doing Muppet posers, especially not in these times.

    I just wish we would have got Master Replicas Fozzie before the end.
  12. ElecMayhem

    ElecMayhem Member

    Hey guys-

    It’s been a long, long while since I’ve posted anything in the “Muppet Replicas” section – partly because there hasn’t been much to say, and partly because, well… I was licking my wounds a little bit after being laid off from MR.

    While I share everyone’s frustrations regarding the situation with the Photo Puppets (or perhaps, the lack thereof) and the lack of information from eFX, there are a few things that I think deserve to be cleared up. I mean, as much as anything can be cleared up -- literally, I lived through this and I know all the players, but I would be remiss in saying “I know the whole story.”

    So, let’s go back to 2005. I was still with Palisades Toys, but my friend Kevin Eslinger worked for Master Replicas, and truly, he was the one who pushed to get the Kermit Photo Puppet made. (The difficulties of that situation are a whole separate story.) I joined Master Replicas around Thanksgiving of that year, and became intimately involved with the project, and Kermit finally came out in 2006. And it was a moderate success. Didn’t light the world on fire or anything, but we sold most of them – enough that Kevin and I were able to scheme and get it changed from a single Photo Puppet, into a line of Photo Puppets. (The truth is that we actually slashed prices on the last 500 or so Kermits, and sold them at huge discounts to retailers sometime in 2007; the company’s financial situation did not allow for inventory to just sit, at that time… But more on that in a minute…)

    So, we got started on Gonzo and Animal. Gonzo was supposed to be second, and Animal third. Sometime during this process, Master Replicas went through a ton of changes. We merged with 2 other companies – Corgi & Cards Inc, both in the UK. And it was decided that instead of just a high end, collectibles/prop replica company, we were ALSO going to be a toy company. Right or wrong, that was the company’s new direction. Around the same time, our license with Lucasfilm expired, and for a variety of reasons, both companies decided not to renew. Internally, there were all kinds of changes – new staff (particularly lots of people with “mass toy” backgrounds), new policies and procedures. And many of the people that I had worked with left, or were let go.

    Still, we plodded on with our little collectibles. Kevin was still managing the project from a product development perspective, and I was handling the marketing… only, with the company’s new focus on toys and the lack of revenue from Star Wars, money became tighter and tighter. You have to understand – the corporate climate changed; things were very different all of a sudden. I’ve heard lots of griping here that we didn’t properly “market” the line. And that is true. But it was not for lack of WANTING to properly market the line. We were no longer the same company that had built a stellar reputation in the collectibles arena. (Part of the problem, I think, is that most of us didn’t know what we were...)

    So, we plugged on. Eventually, Animal’s development overtook Gonzo’s… there were, as you all know, lots of issues with Gonzo. And sometime in this period– like so many of my other co-workers – Kevin left the company to pursue other opportunities. So, not only was I championing this (and other) collectible lines with little internal support and no financial backing, I lost the driving force behind getting the products made well. But still, we trudged on.

    So, Animal had his issues, but I was fairly pleased with the way he came out. I cannot remember the exact timing of Kevin’s departure, but I think he had more of a hand in Animal. (No pun intended.) Gonzo on the other hand, was a nightmare. I remember going back and forth and back and forth with our product development team, trying to get things right – particularly that nose. And, it just wasn’t happening. (At one point, they ordered the wrong color fur, based on a baby Gonzo PMS color from a style guide, just to show you how messed up things got!) But you see, this was not a priority for the company, and the PD people – who knew how to make lightsabers in their sleep – just couldn’t wrap their brains around this project. Ultimately, the “sock nose” was Disney’s call… but it was really a “lesser of two evils” kind of situation. And so, we ended up going with it. Do I hate the product? No. But it could have (should have) been much, much better. It actually haunts me a little… and it makes me sad.

    So, then we get to Fozzie… ugh, this was the bane of my existence. Because Kevin was long gone before this happened, and I was the Disney/Muppets brand manager… So this was my baby. But by this time, collectibles were virtually not even being discussed internally anymore. We still had a few things on the schedule (Star Trek, James Bond… and you’ll note that most of those never came out either…) But mainly, we were trying to get into making mass (i.e. Walmart and Target) toys. But that didn’t seem to be getting off the ground either, and as we all now know, the company was on its way down… So Fozzie would get put on the schedule and taken of the schedule... and get pushed around and pulled around... and dropped and picked back up… And so, I stopped coming here with info. I literally just shut down all communication. And everyone cried foul and complained that we weren’t giving you any information… But I honestly did not know what to say, or what to tell you. But I kept fighting internally to get Fozzie made! Until the bitter end... And I know that the guys who picked up the mantel after I was gone were in the same boat… they wanted to make Fozzie, too. But we were as confused as you were, most days. How could we market something when it was on the schedule one day, and off the next? It was a nightmare. And I am sorry that I could not give any more information than I did…

    Anyway, the rest as they say (who are they, anyway?), is history. MR eventually folded or went out of business or went bankrupt… I honestly don’t know what the technical term is for what happened over there. It went ka-boom. And my few friends who were left at that once-great company joined us in the unemployment line.

    So meanwhile, eFX starts up. (Again, how that happened is a story for another day!) Now YES eFX is made up entirely of former Master Replicas employees. However, there are two important things to note: (1.) None of these people were involved in the Muppet line at Master Replicas. So when you say “Oh it’s the same people pulling the same thing…” That is not true. And even if it were, those of us who WERE involved with the Muppets at Master Replicas, really had our hands tied in terms of impacting what was going on, and what was being said or communicated to the public. And (2.) eFX is a very, very small staff in terms of full-time employees. Literally, I think (though I have not spoken to anyone there in some time) there might be two full-time employees, and one part-time person. So, not to excuse their lack of communication, but they’re swamped.

    But I am getting ahead of myself. So, eFX called me up and asked me to consult for them for a few months, and during that time, asked if I would introduce them to the collectibles people at Disney, as they were interested in picking up both the Disney Classics & Muppets lines. (See, had they been involved before, they would not have needed me to make the intro!) And, of course, I did. It actually cracked me up -- for a while on MC, there was a thread called “We saved the Muppet Photo Puppet line!" Not to be rude or condescending, but actually it was myself and Bryan at eFX that “saved” the line. (And more Bryan than me!) But that’s neither here nor there... especially now two years later, looking back and seeing that actually, nothing has happened with the line!

    I went to bat for eFX and introduced them to Disney, because I truly believed (and still believe) that if anyone in this industry could pull these products off, it would be these guys. They (and their web of prop fanatics throughout the world) really the best prop replicators there are. Now, truth be told, I’ve had no real contact with eFX in some time, outside of having seen Bryan briefly in Orlando at Celebration V…

    I understand that everyone is frustrated about the lack of news… and knowing the guys at eFX as I do, I can tell you that no one is more frustrated by lack of progress than they are. But that is probably of little consolation to you guys; nor should it be. I think a number of factors have probably come into play. And I think that Muppet Caper summarizes them beautifully in his post... To be objective though, eFX does need to do a better job answering customer service emails. If they can answer SW ones, they can answer Muppets ones. Just calling a spade, a spade. On the flip side, I don't know what's going on there internally and maybe -- like the last year or so at MR -- they just don't know what to say. Doesn't excuse it; but believe me, I can relate to how hard that can be.

    Believe me, as a long time Muppet fan/collector – and someone who has put blood, sweat and tears into this line – no one wants these things to come out more than me. I know that eFX was still trying, the last I spoke to Bryan. But it’s a long, difficult road… and things have not gone as planned. So, I cannot give you any official word – all I can do is retroactively tell you (and apologize for) what went down with MR and, once again, vouch for the integrity of the eFX guys. Believe me, they don’t want to sign licenses and not put anything out… They’re good, hard-working guys.

    The whole situation is just tough. And wow, I wrote a book. Sorry about that… Somewhat therapeutic though.

    Sorry to ramble guys. Hope this helps in some small way…

    Travis
  13. MuppetCaper

    MuppetCaper Active Member

    Welcome back Travis...long time no see. It is so nice to see you back on here again. Thanks for all the pain and stuggles you guys went through in the past. I hope things have gotten better for you after your leave from MR. I know that Bryan and everyone their is trying hard. It may not be now, but maybe later in the future we will get to see another Muppet of some sort. Thanks for sharing with us and take care.
  14. GonzoLover85

    GonzoLover85 Member

    @ElecMayhem:
    Thank you. Sincerely, it's nice to hear some actual facts instead of hearsay and complaints.
    So, again. Thank you.
  15. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    :sing: It's great to hear from Travis on this. Nobody knows the Muppet posers' journey better and I completely agree with what he's said.

    Anything Kermit always sells, but the other Muppets can be more of a challenge. A lot of the last few non-KermitPalisades' figure releases are still lingering a low prices. The Muppet Busts from Sideshow took a while to clear-out and MR had trouble with the posers. Muppet products take a savvy plan, patience and a lot of warehouse space. Maybe next year's film will provide the appropriate boost.

    I imagine it will be years before Muppet posers are attempted again from any company. It would still be nice if EFX or somebody could make Muppet replicas in another area aside from posers, but that would require an additional license.
  16. MadForPepe

    MadForPepe New Member

    is this plan still alive?

    Hi there,

    Things get a lot clearer, now I've read this eFX story.
    I can relate to how things get messed up as companies merge. Ah, managers!

    On the other hand, if the company/department is so small and they do have the license, what kind of thinking is this. Even when you merge. Come on, it's the Muppets! If the Simpsons or Transformers can do well, so can they. If you can't do anything with the license, than try to sell the rights to another company that is willing and able to put effort in it. Of course, you can't just sell the license, but surely there is another solution possible than just keep it there so nobody else can get a share of the big Muppet pie?

    Maybe it was to big of a gamble to get the license anyway......?

    The bad economy in the US is offcourse not helping much, but the Muppets are not only famous in the US, they are also famous in Europe. I don't know about Asia, but I can imagine there are fans there also. So even with a bad economy, you could still get a nice (price-quality) product.
  17. MuppetCaper

    MuppetCaper Active Member

    Well the economy and Disney didn't make it very easy for eFX. I know that Bryan wants perfection on these or anything they sell as far as props are concerned. But Disney wants them one step further and making it difficult to find a factory to build these. If they don't get made exactly like the prototype, Disney fines the factory everytime till they get it right. It is like saying that if you don't cook by the recipe to it perfectly, you get lashed of slapped in the face. If I was a factory and had to go through this, I wouldn't want to make them as well. Then you got the economy on top of it which makes it very difficult to make them in regarding cost effectiveness and materials that HAVE to be exactly like the prototype which are getting harder and harder to find. So their is no win on these and it is making harder for eFX if not any company who takes this into their hands very hard to put out in the market. If it was a plush toy at Toys R Us, well, that's a whole another ball game.
  18. MadForPepe

    MadForPepe New Member

    Ok, well I understand but there has to be a solution somehow. If you keep focusing on problems than there will never be an anwser. Is the Rizzo doll or the Kermit Reporter doll/puppet ready for sale? Because they look finished on eFX. :shifty:

    Also, I've got a married couple of Kermit & Miss Piggy, they look exactly like the real thing.....I've bought them about 7 years ago. It can't be that hard. Or still....Ahh, this is so sad.

    :):mad:
  19. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    only 1 kermit and Rizzo were made i belive and EFX was taking them around promoting them

    dont quote me or take this as fact but i feel like once the price was released is when we kinda backed off and EFX took that hard...i remember i had major complaints about the price of rizzo and was worried at how much kermit would be
  20. MadForPepe

    MadForPepe New Member

    So it's your fault!

    So basically, I could have had my beloved Pepe and maybe even Rizzo if you just didn't complain! :D

    Ah!

    What would the price be, 100 dollars or so (would still be acceptable for me....but maybe not for kids of other enthusiasts)?
    Because I know professional puppets are very expensive, otherwise I would have had one made already.
    Is it even possible I can buy a prototype Pepe? If they would design it? Probably not eh....;)

    It's strange that eFX collectibles (indeed) doesn't anwser email questions.......Is there any other Muppet Line coming soon? And how are the odds for new Puppets when the latest movie will arrive in 2011? Good, or still mediocre? :eek:


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