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For the past two months, I've been following ABC's THE TOY BOX, an eight-episode competition series in which independent toy inventors battle it out for a chance to have their creations produced by Mattel, with the winning toy to be sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Starting with a preview post in which I took an early look at the series alongside mentor and Pixar Consumer Products Creative Director Jen Tan (read it here), each week I've been sharing previews of what's to come on Friday night. As someone who writes about and reviews toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff, and that's why THE TOY BOX has held such a personal appeal. In fact, over the course of the series, a few products pitched to me in early development (as far back as January of 2014) have popped up on the show. Now comes the final Friday - a double-dose of THE TOY BOX, starting with the seventh episode and ending with the final round. On Saturday morning, Toys "R" Us will become the destination to pick up the winning toy. Here's a preview...

I still can't believe that we're a decade into Paramount Pictures' TRANSFORMERS franchise. For me, it started in an era pre-kids, and because of the first TRANSFORMERS movie, I ended up becoming a part of that history by voicing several characters in a short that aired on the late G4 Attack of the Show (check this IMDb listing for Starscream and scroll down - you'll find me). Now, I'm raising a pair of TRANSFORMERS fans, and judging from the new International Trailer for TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, the latest film from Michael Bay just might be the best in the series - a chapter that completely changes things. Check it out...

It's that time of year again - the time when all the toymakers start rolling out the news on their SDCC Exclusives - the sought-after collectibles that will only be offered at San Diego Comic-Con International this July. Since I don't attend SDCC (I've long-said that I'll avoid it until I have a creative project to promote again... like one of my own comic or film endeavors), I sorta look at these as a bit of "window shopping" from afar. The first reveal here at Rock Father HQ comes from my friends at Hasbro, with a 12" Daredevil Figure from their MARVEL Legends collection. The SDCC Exclusive features impressive detailing, 30 points of articulation, premium packaging with original artwork by Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada. Check it out...

Sony Pictures' THE EMOJI MOVIE has lost its initial tagline (it was announced as The Emoji Movie: Express Yourself), and that's just fine since it's probably best to keep things simple. Today the full trailer for the new film has arrived, and it's our first real look at what to expect when THE EMOJI MOVIE hits theaters on July 28. So what does a feature film based on the icons that live within your phone look like? Sorta like a kid-friendly Sausage Party. Check it out...

On May 19, the fourth film based on Jeff Kinney's smash hit Diary of a Wimpy Kid series arrives in theaters with the release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. To celebrate the release, 20th Century Fox and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to give you a shot at winning a $50 Gift Card to see the film in theaters, along with a hardcover copy of the original book! Before we get started, how about you go Wimp Yourself?

I've owned a lot of NERF blasters over the years, and right now we have an arsenal of decent size here at Rock Father HQ. Still, I can't think of a time when I've specifically looked at a NERF blaster and thought: "that is beautiful." That changed today, when my friends at Hasbro sent over details on their NERF Rival Star Wars Battlefront Apollo XV-700 Blaster and Face Mask Set. The special edition Mandalorian set will be available exclusively at Gamestop this spring, and comes decked-out in a full Boba Fett color scheme, ripped straight from EA's STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT!

PJ MasksBack in March, there was a ton of excitement when it was announced that PJ Masks Live Tour was in the works. Now comes the official reveal that Entertainment One (eOne) and Round Room Presents will bring PJ Masks Live! Time to Be a Hero to cities across North America starting in September 2017. The "brand-new, fully-immersive musical stage production" is based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series, which airs daily on Disney Junior. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko, and all of the Baddies will face-off in live performances featuring world-class production, familiar and original music, acrobatics, and immersive interactivity. Exclusive pre-sales begin Tuesday, May 16, at 10am EST, with the general public on-sale starting Friday, May 19, at 10am EST.

This inside look at Cars 3 is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father and Disney•Pixar...

"Sequels are increasingly challenging. There has to be a meaningful story, or there's just no reason to tell it." - Scott Morse, Story Supervisor, Cars 3

When the first teaser for Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 hit the scene, audiences immediately knew that the third chapter in Lightning McQueen's story would be very different than anything we'd seen before. It's been eleven years since the world of Radiator Springs first came speeding into theaters, and in the decade-plus since, McQueen and the crew have never gone away - though with several short films and one theatrical sequel in 2011's Cars 2 (the film I credit for starting The Rock Daughters' love of cars in general), it was always a grey area as to whether or not another cinematic adventure would be in the cards. For Cars 3, the spirit lies in the groundwork provided in that very first film - largely by inverting it. When we first met McQueen, he was on top - a brash newcomer with an unstoppable spirit... but as history has shown us, you're never on top forever.

As someone who writes about toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff. With that, I've been digging ABC's THE TOY BOX, in which independent toy creators find themselves vying for the attention of the judges in hopes of being crowned champion. At the end of the 8-week series, the winning toy will be produced by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Check out a preview of the week five toys below...

Production has begun on what will likely be a huge hit next summer - Disney’s Zombies, "a music- and dance-filled story about a groundbreaking semester at Seabrook High School." Now, what will be "groundbreaking" for "the pride and joy of Seabrook, a suburban town preoccupied with uniformity, traditions and pep rallies?" How about the arrival of transfer students from Zombietown, who "integrate into the school and a cheerleader and zombie football star, Addison and Zed, fall in love?" There's certainly a bit of a "Monster High" vibe being given off in the production announcement, with themes of coexistence and acceptance running right alongside the forthcoming Disney Junior series, Vampirina as well.

This feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™, Cub Cadet and Life of Dad.

Over the past week or so, I’ve largely neglected my normal work. With April having been such an unusually rainy month (“April showers bring May flowers”) here in Northern Illinois this year, the sunny, albeit cool days of early May have been pretty inviting in terms of getting outside to explore one of my real passions: working the yard. I’m usually eyeing the outdoor tasks by February, when I start taking a good look at the depressingly drab and battered landscape that the winter has left behind, with plans of creating a lush, green suburban oasis when the weather breaks. I’ve already been trimming, fertilizing, weeding and caring for the landscape - I do mean the entire picture. A proper yard is more than just a “lawn,” but the total package of everything surrounding it. I do have #LawnGoals, though - and this year the girls and I are working not to meet them, but to exceed them in every possible way. Here’s the rundown on what’s been done so far…

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales drops anchor into theaters on May 26, but those looking to re-enter the world of Captain Jack Sparrow today can do so with JOYCITY's newest mobile game, Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War. The new strategy game just arrived for iOS and Android today, and I've got the launch trailer and game details for you below. Check it out...

Disney-Pixar's Cars 3 is racing into theaters on June 16 (get tix via my affiliate, Fandango), and there's plenty to get revved-up about. For kids, there's always the high-octane excitement that racing brings, but as I've been discussing in my preview coverage of Cars 3, this is a film that brings so much more to the table in terms of emotion and learning. The latter is something that most people don't enter a Cars movie thinking about - but there's a lot of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) involved in racing, and when it comes to making an animated film, there's a whole lot of STEAM (the added "A" is for "Arts") involved. For educators, that's where Pixar in a Box comes in - a fantastic suite of FREE materials built around a curriculum created in partnership between Pixar Animation Studios and the Khan Academy, sponsored by Disney. We'll talk more about that in just about 2 minutes and 7 seconds, because first I'd like to invite you to check out the latest trailer for Cars 3... one focusing on the "Rivalry" between Lightning McQueen and newcomer Jackson Storm. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 10 2017 08:30

Ceremonial Placement of The Garden Jawa 2017

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It's become a tradition, one that first began in the summer of 2010 when we moved into what would become "Rock Father HQ." The Ceremonial Placement of The Garden Jawa is a special time - when our little friend from a galaxy far, far away returns from the sands of Tatooine to watch over our garden for another season. This little scavenger is not interested in stolen droids - she (determined to be a girl by The Rock Daughters™) has one goal, and that's to help ensure a lush landscape and a bountiful harvest. Armed with a garden hose and a set of tools, our little friend has started to look pretty weathered (can't tell from the pictures), despite being brought inside for the winter months.

As many of you are probably aware, we're big fans of Disney●Pixar’s Cars franchise here at Rock Father HQ, hence I was pretty excited to have a chance to take an early look at Cars 3 while working with the folks at Disney to support its launch. As we approach the June 16th release, new promotional partners are rolling out, and the latest is Autotrader. This week, they've got a new commercial racing onto screens co-branded with Disney●Pixar’s Cars 3. Why does it make sense? Because "every car has a personality." and Autotrader can help match the personality of a car with the personality of its driver. Check it out:

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