Tag Archives: Disney

Mattel Loses $47 MM: First Quarter 2008

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Until major competitor, Hasbro – whose sales were up 14% in Q1, 2008 – Mattel posted a loss of $46.6 million … before you go blaming it on shortage of CARS, the problem is the Fisher Price division … sales in that division were down 13% percent

“Fisher-Price, Mattel’s education and preschool toy company, accounted for the brunt of the disappointment, with sales slipping 13% from the prior year to $341.3 million. The Fisher-Price Friends unit, which includes items like Elmo, Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street, reported a 49% decline as this year’s toys failed to attract as much attention as they did a year ago.

John Taylor, an analyst at Portland-based Arcadia Investment Corp., linked the drop to the current lack of an exciting Elmo toy and softening demand for Dora. “The magnitude was bigger-than-expected,” he said, but he added that Elmo Live, a new dancing toy to be introduced later this year, “has a chance to be another high point.”

Via the WSJ

We noted that costs were going up in this post but perhaps there’s another increase coming …

“Mattel added that it expects manufacturing costs to continue to rise in China as the yuan continues to gain on the dollar and as inflation in China nears the highest level in more than a decade. The toymaker said it may raise prices this year in the “mid-to-high single-digit range” to combat these forces.”

There was no specific mention of the Disney Pixar CARS …

The official press release on the earnings report is here.

An audio podcast of the conference call will be available tomorrow here.

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of the South Sneak Peek

Yes, we are are edging closer to an actual release date for the Motor Speedway of the South set with REAL evidence of the set. The “Sneak Peek” photos are up at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club (in the Red Line Club Sneak Peek section). Only PC users can see the photos so they are provided here before you sign up – info on how to join are in our post link at the end.

NO PRICE.

NO ACTUAL RELEASE DATE YET.

As we only in the ‘sneak peek’ phase of the sale.

For those unfamiliar with the normal process for the Red Line Club. During the year, Mattel sells 10-15 exclusive cars (or sets) to Red Line Club members. Often, they will put up ‘sneak peek’ photos (not always) but then about 11-12 days out will announce when the item will be available for purchase and start a countdown counter.

As of right now, there is an exclusive ’67 Ford Mustang with a countdown counter that ticks to zero on April 29th so what does that tell us about when the Motor Speedway of the South will go on sale?

We can do an additional process of elimination. Since there is a Hot Wheels car on sale to members on the 29th of April, and there is almost always 10 days from the announcement of “what’s new & exclusive” to the day of the actual sale process – the earliest the set will go on sale is probably May 13, 2008.

Mattel almost always lists the start time on a Tuesday and the 13th is a Tuesday.

So on May 3rd or May 4th, the official announcement, the price and the countdown clock should go up … IF the on-sale date is the 13th.

The subsequent Tuesdays are May 20th and May 28th.

It would highly unlikely to stretch into June as the “sneak peeks” rarely if ever go up more than 2-3 weeks out before the official price & release date announcement. (They also mention ‘time to go racing in May.’)

And it’s not likely to be the 6th, the first Tuesday in May since that sort of crowds/clouds the preview & selling period of the current car (the 2008 RLC™ sELECTIONs™ ’67 Ford Mustang) – every once in a while though, the cars offered will overlap, not likely but possible.

And no, we don’t know if there are any exclusives AND of course, they will not announce if the CARS will be available in another configuration or when.

The only real mini-surprise is that they are not on cards but that makes sense, it makes for a nicer display and it saves Mattel money – since some of the Piston Cup racers barely make it on screen and Mattel can apparently only use ‘official’ artwork rendered by Pixar (for instance, their Rollin’ Bowlin’ Mater card featured regular Mater), there would be a lot more work on their part to come up with card art for all 36 racers.

Any other questions – presumably, they’ve been answered in our recent & older posts so good luck everyone!

(the link shows photos & names of each CAR but the sneak peek from Mattel also included some more officially shots of the Piston Cup racers)

All Photos © Mattel Inc, Mattel RLC Club & Disney/Pixar.

By the way, for international customers – in an older post of ours, we have some suggestions on getting a US pre-paid credit card (scroll down to middle of post). Now, I have NOT tested this out for the Mattel Red Line Club purchases so I am not saying it’s 100% guaranteed but it’s a suggestion you can test out or try if you’re interested in trying to avoid eBay. Good luck

ALSO NOTE: To sign up for the Red Line Club, you must FIRST be a member of the Hot Wheels Club (which is free) so sign up in the HWC first – then click on SHOP and add a Red Line Club membership to your cart.

Un-boxing UPDATE POST here.

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Carrying Case II

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I’m not often in the CONTAINER STORE since my goal is to digitize anything but was wandering around one and ran across another CAR carrying possibility. It’s not cheap at $49.00 but it’s solidly built.

What’s classy is if you depress the dark blue bar, it “unlocks” it and removes as a tray.

What’s nice is the thing is solidly built so if you remove a drawer, it does not feel like it’s about to tip over or fall apart. The drawer is also pretty thick plastic and of course, once snapped open, reveals 10 compartments within each drawer you can customize the storage area within with the slats (ignore the non-related plastic shelves in the back of the photo).

You can view the item online here – with some other photos.

So, probably not the cheapest carrying solution but probably the nicest plastic carrying one – heavy plastic, solid built and with solid drawers that lock and in a apparatus that won’t tip over and is definitely not flimsy.

And also plenty of room on top to add stickers … let us know if you get one or if you looked at it and what you thought.

The Costco alternative.

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: What’s Next After Box J

From the Toyfair photos and setups, it’s somewhat safe to presume they’re moving all the pit crews and most if not all the pit guys to the three packs (Gift Packs) and going by the recent shipments – they seem to going to two of each of two new CARS per sealed case … (though, keep in mind Mattel counts re-releasing the WM8 on WOC cards as “new,” along with many of our our old favorites … of course if you’re started collected CARS, yea, finally Fillmore … if you started in 2006, you might not be jumping for joy.

So, what’s coming next?

Well, Revised Box J has been announced which is shipping in this & the next 2 week timeframe:

After that, there has been no official announcement – Mattel will be at New York’s Comic Con in a few weeks (April 18) so maybe we’ll get more official word or see more forthcoming displayed.

The following is what WAS SCHEDULED but is now considered ALL CHANGED. But based on the theory that most Piston Cup Crew Chiefs and Pit Crews are moving to the Gift Packs, here’s what’s most likely still coming in BLACK … what’s most likely NOT coming in GREY and what’s “new” that may or not still be coming:

Here’s what’s being reported as in BOX K (unconfirmed but presumably correct):

Bug Face McQueen (2)
Chuki

Crusin’ McQueen
Darrell Cartrip
Dinoco Helicopter
Dinoco Pitty (2)
Ferrari F430

Lightning Ramone
Octane Gain Pitty
Pit Crew Member
Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Pit Crew Member Guido*

Race Official Tom

Ramone
Tongue McQueen
Van (2)

(RED – NEW, BLUE – NEW TO WOC)
*Just listed as Guido but most likely PCM Guido.

We will probably get Van and maybe another of the “MISSING” CARS (list at end) or more likely, another WM8 CAR as one of the “new” CARS.

This looks like a catch-up box so it’s probably safe to say that this shipment probably isn’t going to change much – the Dinoco Pitty will probably be replaced by whatever else was considered “new” in Box K.

Box M of course is of greater interest to someone who did not find all the WM CARS last autumn but based on the new box configs, I highly doubt we will see all the RED “new” ones in this box. The blimp is also coming out as part of a Gift Pack so Mattel might put the blimp in CASE L …

For some odd reason, Mattel seems intent on not re-releasing Sarge so one of the “new” in Box M might get moved to here since this is really just a ‘catch-up’ box.

I might even venture that by here, Mattel might be done with Speed Racer & Batman and back to giving full attention to CARS. I might even be willing to go out on a limb and say this case might be mostly accurate. One other reason is that for some oddball reason Mattel loves helicopters and blimps (blimps are all plastic so that makes sense $ wise).

So, here are the CARS originally promised from Box E to Box P (around mid March 2008 to Summer 2008) that are still “missing” (other than Piston Cup crew CARS which again we’re presuming are part of the Gift Packs now). Though if Sarge really returns, Mattel should pack 4 to a case but that might be too logical ;-(

Of course, 4 of these are not really new (Sarge, Barney Stormin’, Al Oft the Blimp & Kori, but Mattel thinks they’re new) so 10 “new” and 5 boxes to come (not counting case P) … which of course, works out to 2 “new” in the next 5 shipments … which should bring us to the the end of summer. July is Comic Con also …

So, the heavy action (other than the Speedway of the South set) might be on the Gift Pack, launcher side of things until the end of summer.

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Disney Stores: Rewind & Back V2.0

If you didn’t know the THE DISNEY STORES are NOT actually owned by the Walt Disney, Inc. but rather by a company that sells clothing for toddlers & kids called, “A Children’s Place, ” you can save your brain cells in tucking away this fact as they are selling it BACK to Walt Disney, Inc.*

The deal is not finalized yet but Walt Disney, Inc has announced they want to buy them back. You think we go go through fad phases but so does corporate America. In 1987, when they launched The Disney Stores, it seemed brilliant – what better way to capture ALL the profit margins and of course, where most stores might only carry a limited amount of merchandise, what’s better than your own store to sell everything? It was a huge success at first – encouraging Warner Bros. to get in the act with the Warner Bros. Studio Stores (closed in 2001) but while the WB cartoons are beloved, Disney pretty much has the market from 1-month old to … well, I’m surprised they haven’t licensed coffins … the problem that they got caught up in thinking the huge profits from the store could be duplicated hundreds of times – the first were huge because they were at travel shopping destinations but pretty soon you go from Times Square (nice) to Beverly Center (still pretty good) to being next to Walgreen’s (um, not so special anymore) in Butane, Iowa.

And suddenly, they were questioning why they were running a retail business so they sold it off to a company that would ‘license’ it from them … only now, the cycle has returned, everyone sees how great Apple’s retail stores are – how they serve to reinforce the brand and image – and how much money they make so everyone is back on that bandwagon. Sony, Nintendo, Samsung and Dell have all opened stores … the Samsung in NYC is just bizarre. In order not to annoy anyone, Samsung does not actually sell anything – you can look and they will point you to a retailer. A short concise description of this is – WRONG!

Open a museum with a gift shop but not not open a gift shop that is a museum.

Anyway, back to the Disney Stores being Disney stores pretty soon – maybe we’ll see more 1:55 diecast CARS …

*If you live in the UK & Europe – ignore this as the Disney Stores there have always been owned by Disney and will continue to do so.

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Mattel Pixar Disney Cars: Visual Checklist 2008 (CARS 1-4 UPDATE)

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What do you think? I’ll start a visual checklist of each CAR in numeric order every few days – you can drag off and bubble in as a checklist. You can paste it into a journal/moleksin? One side for OPEN and one for SEALED. There’s no real way to add all the cards without making it too massive so it’ll just be the first card the CAR appears? What do you think. Give me your feedback and I can fix, I can quit or better yet, tell me your stories about the first time you saw the CAR or some reminiscing and I’ll add it to the bottom. Let me know what you think?

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Part II of ______

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Here’s PART/CAR #3 & 4. Instead of starting a new post, I’ll just tack it onto here … otherwise, seems too short to start a new post.

Again, be glad to add European info, send me any lists, even a partial and I’ll try and assemble some semblance …

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Mattel Pixar Disney Cars: Motor Speedway of the South Non-News Update (Now With Date Prediction :-) )

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Since we still get questions about the forthcoming Motor Speedway of the South set, here’s a recap of where we stand. Let me know if there any other questions.

What is the “Motor Speedway of the South” Set?

This seems to be the current official name of the 36 Piston Cup Race Set. It will be a giant box that includes all of the Piston Cup racers seen in the movie, CARS. Yes, this will include the Piston Cup Racers already out including:

Lightning McQueen
Chick Hicks
Dale Jr.
Gasprin
The King
Leak Less
Nitrorade
No Stall
RPM
Octane Gain
Tow Cap
Vinyl Toupee

So, the set will include 24 “new” Piston Cup racers and 12 “old” ones.

(Official Sneak Photos here).

When is the set coming?

There is no official word by Mattel but that would be like Apple announcing when the next iPod will come out or which Ivy League university Jessica Simpson will be attending so as official as it gets, one of the moderators on the OFFICIAL Mattel Hot Wheel Forum had this to say:

“It is temporary planned for release here on the site sometime at the end of Spring/beginning of Summer. When we get the rest of the information, I will let you know…

Thanks,

HWC Chris”

Additional post by Mattel Admin on Hot Wheels Board:

So that could mean as early as end of April or by early June.

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Is it absolutely positively going to come out during those three months (April, May or June 2008?)

Likely, yes – absolute guarantee? No. Why?

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Until it’s on the shore and ship shape, why take chances?

Where Can I Buy One?

ONLY at: HotWheelsCollectors Club

And more specifically, RED LINE Club members are given 24-hours priority online to buy one.

But when will it go on sale?

Again, in the next three months most likely AND Mattel will give us fair warning – either 7 or 10 days notice. So, it’s not a sneaky surprise.

Is this RED LINE CLUB an exclusive club?

Anyone who lives in the U.S., and has a credit card with a credit line of $29 – you can sign up. And of course, you’ll need internet access.

Do you have to live in the U.S.?

Technically no but you MUST have a U.S. mailing address (military FPO should be fine).

International out of luck?

Directly yes. If you can find someone with a U.S. mailing address and a U.S. credit card, you’re obviously okay. Using an international credit card is iffy as Mattel might insist that the billing and shipping addresses match. You can also try and buy a U.S. prepaid credit card (or you can send a friend/relative money to buy a prepaid credit card).

What’s the Mattel Red Line Club, how is it different than the Hot Wheels Collector’s Club?

Bigger shrimp at the parties … okay, just kidding … The Hot Wheels Collector’s Club is FREE. Sign up to get emails and you can join in some of the forums.

The RED LINE Club is $25 a year + ($4 shipping).

The two big differences are:

You get a “free” Hot Wheel special limited edition diecast car AND
You get a 24-hour priority window to buy things at the Mattel store.

The car this year is quite nice and even if you want zero Hot Wheels in your house, you can pretty much sell it on Ebay for $15-$30 dollars, essentially making your membership free … (each color was limited and in order of signups – they are on the last batch – purple).

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What is this priority window thing you speak of?

Every so often, they announce an “exclusive car” such as this one coming up on April 8th:

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As you can see, when I took the screensnap, there was a little over 10 days left – it usually goes on sale at 9 AM Pacific Time of whatever day. So at some point in the next three months, the counter will go up for “Motor Speedway of the South” and you’ll have 7-12 days before it gets to zero and goes on sale.

RED LINE CLUB (RLC) members get 24-hours where only they get to decide if they want to buy something. AFTER 24 hours, if there is any inventory left, it will go on sale to ANYONE who is the regular Hot Wheels Collector’s Club member (aka: general public).

Are there on occasion Hot Wheel cars left over after 24 hours that others can buy? Yes.

Do I think the Motor Speedway of the South set will last more than 24-hours?

UM, NO.

It’s NOT going to be a cheap set but I doubt it will last much longer then 4-6 hours.

How much will it cost?

Mattel priced the 27-CAR 2006 Factory Set (also a RLC exclusive set) at @$5.51 per car and really, every CAR was available elsewhere at $149 (there was some packaging differences) or about $200 after shipping + tax + RLC membership … since this is 36 CARS, if you presume based on the same cost scheme, it will be @198 + shipping + tax or @$250 … (+ the RLC membership) though now with the recent price bump by Mattel for retailers, I think we might be looking at $249 + tax + shipping (+ the RLC membership) putting the final cost probably closer or over $300+ … but that’s just a guess. That might be too scary for Mattel to try and sell so they might fiddle with the numbers until it’s closer to $260-$275 “out the door,” (not counting RLC membership costs) so perhaps $229 or $239 + shipping + tax.

I’m getting my economic stimulus relief check so I’ll be loaded, can I buy four?

Each RLC member is generally entitled to buy only ONE of whatever during the priority window so if you want more than one, you will need a second PAID membership and another email address – your shipping address is okay, you are allowed 5 memberships at the same mailing address.

To recap:

If you want to buy a second membership, that’s another $29 + a DIFFERENT email address (same shipping as membership #1 is fine).

If you want a third membership, that’s another $29 + a DIFFERENT email address (same shipping as membership #1 is fine).

After FIVE memberships, you will need a new credit card and a new shipping address but if you’re willing to spend $1,400 buying 5 sets, you can hire someone who can help you buy more sets.

So, of course, on ordering day, you’ll have to buy, log off and then log back on.

Can I just wait until eBay?

If you’re the gambling type, good luck! This will be an interesting freaknomics test – how much premium can a $300+ dollar item fetch hours or days afters it goes on sale at Mattel? Consider that you’ll be paying for “his/her” shipping + shipping to you so why not just buy it yourself as a RLC member.

Should I sign up now on the RLC?

In theory, membership to the RLC is limited to 22,000 members, that’s how many of the Hot Wheels car Mattel has readied for 2008.

DIRECT FROM MATTEL:

First 4,000 to join or renew: Boss Hoss in chrome with red stripes!
Next 5,000 to join or renew: Boss Hoss in Spectraflame® red with white stripes.
Next 6,000 to join or renew: Boss Hoss in Spectraflame® ice blue with black stripes.
Next 7,000 to join or renew: Boss Hoss in Spectraflame® purple with white stripes.

They are on purple so we know there are already 15,000+ memberships sold – leaving less than 7,000 memberships left. Will Mattel turn away the 7,001st person? I can’t imagine they would on some oddball principle (aka: Mattel turning down money?) but do you want to test out the theory if you’re 100% sure you’re willing to pay $275 to $300 for the Motor Speedway of the South set?

As I noted, the car is really nice this year and people are willing to buy it on eBay for 50-100% of the cost of a RLC club membership so why not?

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How many will be available?

The rumored number is 2,000 … even if the RLC is maxed at 22,000 members, clearly most are Hot Wheels fanboys* so they might not care … of course, I’m sure there are hundreds of eBay powersellers with a dozen memberships … so if you’re going to buy this, take the day off or book a conference room with a fiber optic broadband when this goes on sale to get in the queue.

*If you’re a noob to the HWC Club or the RLC forums, note, there are a majority of Hot Wheels citizens there who think of CARS as johnny-come-lately and that we’re horning in on their club … there was an undercurrent of resentment when the Factory set was offered last year but some are coming around …

Also

As part of your RLC membership, you also get the “badge” and a poster which I forgotten all about until I just got this the other day.

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As you can see next to it, it came in not just a tube but a giant box with foam peanuts via UPS so a $2 box, a $1 tube, $.50 worth of peanuts and $5 UPS shipping to mail me a slightly wrinkled poster of er, questionable value – no wonder RLC membership costs $30 … I guess I do appreciate Mattel going back to press to mail me this poster but honestly, I’d much prefer a coupon.

See ya’ll in the cyber line …

Final Predication

I’m going to say it’s going to go on sale May 20, 2008. Why? First, it’s a $300 item and you want to do it after tax season and this year, a bunch of people will also get the economic stimulus check by then. Second, if you want to sell an item for $300, you want to do it after payday – people feel flush and rich. If you have a “higher” priced item, you never want to ask people to buy it a few days BEFORE the paycheck arrives and a lot of people pay rent/mortgage on the 1st so middle of the month is generally better. It’s a Tuesday and everything from the RLC goes on sale Tuesday. So, my guess is previews will go up before the 8th and the countdown will begin 10-12 days beforehand. Again, good luck!

The original post and individual photos.

Singles?

Will they be (re)-released as singles? Here are some things to weigh and consider. Of course, $250-$300 for a bunch of CARS you will presumably only get to look at and not even get to play with is a lot of money – I totally understand if you are unable or unwilling to make a financial commitment this large (or you live overseas), that’s a choice you’ve made – it’s just a bunch of CARS, no biggie but you’re thinking, maybe I do want them but I’m just not willing to spend $250-$300 or about $6-8 a CAR all at once … keep in mind 12 of the CARS are already out and while Gaspirin & Tow Cap are a little more work, presumably you have the other 12 already. Now, all you need is the other 24.

My feeling is that Mattel is not going to walk away from you – we have already seen Gift Packs with Piston Cup racers not out yet (from Toyfair) so if the set is $300, that’s about $8 a CAR, conveniently about the same price as a “launcher.” And while there are only 5-6 molds for all the Piston Cup racers, there is no way Mattel is going to only paint 2,000 Mood Springs, Mattel is clearly going to re-release most if not all as launchers or in Gift Packs.

BUT and note that it’s in caps, that does NOT mean you might see them all in 2008 or even in 2009 … and while the line is assured in 2008 and probably most of 2009, ONE NEVER KNOWS. NOT EVEN MATTEL …

No one knows what will be out in 2009 … maybe the line is so slow they are back to the 14 townies … or as Mattel has hinted, that there will be exclusives in the set available no where else BUT AGAIN …

What Mattel considers “NEW” and “EXCLUSIVE” are not necessarily the dictionary definition – now, it might actually be but it might be like seeing Ghostlight Ramone on a WOC card with the snipe NEW. Technically, it is new and Marketing-wise, it is NEW but in the strictest dictionary sense, no. Or the WAL MART Exclusives … appearing in Sam’s Club (same company, different division) a few months later – again, technically at Sam’s Club, you had to buy an entire box to get some of the WM CARS but to the average person, exclusive means ‘exclusive’ as in the actual definition of UNIQUE and UNAVAILABLE elsewhere BUT Mattel has their own dictionary.

So, they say the Motor Speedway set will contain exclusives – but how exclusive?

I believe it will be exclusive as in packaging or maybe it will not appear until 2009 in a box set or some other configuration … however, the caveat to keep in mind is that Mattel INTENDS to release them in another configuration but will it actually be guaranteed on the store shelves? Impossible to predict – so while Mac iCar might be out on a single blister card, maybe it’s 2010 before it appears … so how does this affect whether you buy the Motor Speedway set in 2008? Will you open the set?

So, while the odds are pretty good ALL the Piston Cup racers will eventually appear in Gift Packs, Launchers, Box Sets or even as singles – when and IF is another question.

Mattel gets your money either way:

You either buy the Motor Speedway set and never open it to maintain its maximum value and buy the various re-releases in order to open & play with them …

OR

You buy them individually at $8+ (as Gift Packs, Launchers, Box Sets, etc …) eventually.

Mattel does not lose money either, it’s just whether you pay them $300 upfront and continue to buy them to open or whether you buy them in smaller gulps.

APRIL 18, 2008 UPDATE HERE.

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