Thinkway Toys and Disney unveiled the hero lines for this year’s highly anticipated movie during an
Disney unveiled a handful of under-wraps toys from its Toy Story 4 range at London Toy Fair yesterday, during an exclusive preview.
The entertainment giant previewed a highlight of its hero range from Thinkway Toys, which has been at the forefront of bringing Toy Story toys to market since the original movie first hit cinemas in 1995.
Buzz Lightyear and Woody both made an appearance alongside newcomer to the movie franchise Forky. The spork-turned-toy is available in four skus, each at a different price point and level of sophistication. The range includes everything from a base-level push-along Forky – pegged at between £15 and £18.99rrp and moves as kids wheel the toy around – to the fully featured Interactive Forky, which listens to voice commands, talks back and is programmed to dance along with music as varied as Opera, Calvin Harris and 70s disco, which was chosen for the demo.
But it’s with the core characters that the latest toy treatment of Toy Story comes alive. Darren revealed to TNP.MEDIA that Thinkway had been sitting one specific area of innovation for quite some time. “Most licensed movie toys are toys of the characters on screen, but with Toy Story that line gets blurred,” Darren says. “If the real version you can buy in stores is believable enough, then there’s very little difference between the Buzz Lightyear in the movies and the Buzz Lightyear in your bedroom; they’re both toys after all.”
That big innovation manifests in a unique play pattern. Both Buzz and Woody toys are voice activated and, when told someone is coming, topple from freestanding into ‘toy mode’, mimicking their behavior from the movies. Once prone, further voice commands instruct the toys to stop listening to the world around them and act like a non-intelligent toy, distinct from the ‘alive’ characters portrayed in the Pixar movie.
“Innovation that is authentic like this is unmatched, and it lets kids truly re-live the story of the films,” says Claire Terry, Retail Commercial Director at The Walt Disney Company. “Bringing that on-screen storytelling to life with the toys was so important for us, and Thinkway have done an incredible job with that. There’s plenty of play value and magic for kids and, much like the Pixar movies themselves, there are elements that parents will be wowed by too – that’s all part of the Pixar magic.”
The hero Buzz and Woody toys respond to a number of voice commands. If kids say, “someone’s coming!” Woody and Buzz will freeze, drop and go into silent toy mode. Say, “okay, no one’s here” and they come back to life with interactive voice and actions. You can also play with him as a regular pull-string toy to hear his classic toy lines.
A further two hero lines have yet to be revealed, but will revolve around new and favourite characters from the franchise. The collection launches from 22 April.
Toy Story is just one major release from Disney this year. “We haven’t even got on to Captain Marvel, Avengers, Dumbo, Frozen 2 or any others of the amazing movies we have coming this year,” says Claire. “I think any studio would be thrilled with just one of these productions, so we’re very lucky to be able to tap into so many. This year will be amazing, for sure.”