When I was assigned to cover yesterday’s Time To Play’s Spring Toy Showcase in New York, my brain immediately changed the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s “Boys Boys Boys.” As I walked from display to display, I couldn’t help but think, “Toys, toys, toys, we like toys from Cars.” One, because I was a little proud of my version, even if it lacked much creativity; and two, because the toys from Cars 2 were actually really awesome! I even got to take home a few things for myself. (Try not to be too jealous.) Here’s an on-the-scene look at the new toys coming to a playroom near you:
CARS 2 (June 24) The Cars franchise has continued to grow since Lightning McQueen won his first Piston Cup in 2006’s smash hit. Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of TimeToPlayMag.com, told reporters that he expects the Cars franchise to surpass the Toy Story franchise in terms of toys sold. (There’s irony at its finest.) One new character caught my eye — British master spy Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine). I wasn’t completely impressed until I saw the Zero-Gravity McMissile in action. The car can drive on a flat surface, and then transition up a wall! (See below.) Color me impressed, along with everyone else who flocked to see the demonstration. The other new character on display was Francesco Bernoulli, the Italian race car voiced by John Turturro.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (May 20) Captain Jack Sparrow is back for another adventure, but the newest Pirates booty wasn’t all that impressive. At least Penélope Cruz’s Angelica gets the action figure treatment, and so does her father in the movie, Blackbeard (Ian McShane). The detailed replica of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s ship, was fun, though. It comes with a special light that reveals hidden details, like a skull and crossbones on the sails.
GREEN LANTERN (June 17) Let’s just say Sheldon Cooper would have loved this display. It was all about the power of the ring — every basic action figure in the collection comes with one. (I’m now the proud owner of one. What act of greatness should I complete first?) Additionally, the Ryan Reynolds action figure really looks like Ryan Reynolds — face and abs! There was also a Lantern-themed Hot Wheels race track, and a Mattel associate said there’s a scene in the movie where a little boy is actually playing with that same track! Of course there is.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (July 1) It’s no surprise that most of the toys on display were, well, Transformers. But fanboys everywhere will be thrilled with the Cine-Mask 3-D play masks. Each mask has built-in RealD 3-D lenses. That means you can wear the mask to the movie. And, don’t worry. It’s a half-mask, so you can still snack on popcorn while you channel your inner Transformer. The little kid inside me totally wants a blue Optimus Prime mask, and I haven’t even seen the first two films. Don’t judge me, please, on either of those admissions.
THOR (May 6) By the hammer of Thor! You can actually wield your own non-lethal version that lights up. Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins also get the action figure treatment, with their figurines boasting 3-D renderings of their face.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (July 22) To please all the fanboys, Hasbro is releasing dual lines of Captain America figures specific to the movie and the comic book. And to please the moms of the world, they’ve designed a shield that you don’t throw. Instead, their version shoots little discs. Of course, that probably won’t stop your aspiring Avenger from testing its aerodynamics.
Manufacturers expect us to spend a combined $3 billion on movie toys between now and the back-to-school period, but which of these movies is most likely to cost you a small fortune at the toy store? Will you join in on the merchandising fun?