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Last Friday, we closed-out the week with some casting announcements from Lionsgate's forthcoming PLAYMOBIL: The Movie. Now, we're starting off a new week with a first-look at some of the characters from the film! Directed by Lino DiSalvo and produced by ON Animation Studios, PLAYMOBIL: The Movie will feature the voice talents of Anya Taylor-Joy (The New Mutants), Gabriel Bateman (the upcoming Child's Play remake), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), comic Jim Gaffigan (Chappaquiddick) and singers Meghan Trainor and Adam Lambert.

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One of the greatest toy lines of all-time is getting a movie. After years of back-and-forth development between a few different companies with multiple attachments in-and-out, PLAYMOBIL: The Movie is on-track for 2019. Deadline broke the news this morning that film from Lino DiSalvo, a Walt Disney Animation Studios vet who previously served as head of animation on Frozen, is casting. Anya Taylor-Joy (The New Mutants), Gabriel Bateman (the upcoming Child's Play remake), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), comic Jim Gaffigan (Chappaquiddick) and singers Meghan Trainor and Adam Lambert have all joined the project, which will be told through a mix of live-action and CGI. 

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Sometimes things just have a way of working out... like launching the 2018 installment of 31 Days of Halloween alongside Phase One of the annual Holiday Wish Guide™. And since that's happening, it's only fitting that the debut entry for this year's celebration of October's finest moment is something that's in both. From PLAYMOBIL comes the new Take Along Haunted House (9312), an upgrade and expansion of an idea presented by the discontinued Haunted House Play Box (5638) from a few years back.

They say that history repeats itself, and likewise so do trends. One trend in play that's back with some serious bite this year is everything jurassic.  Yes, the dinosaurs are back, and at the forefront of popular culture that's being driven by the release of Universal Pictures' Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  While they might own the rights to certain stories, names and places, Universal can't lay claim to dinosaurs, and that keeps the gates wide-open for other toymakers to ride the wave of renewed excitement for the long-extinct (or are they?) giants that have been captivating imaginations for millions of years. For Playmobil, The Explorers are their new line of archaeological adventurers who are making their way into stores and playrooms with tales of a mysterious island called Roca, where dinosaurs continue to live peacefully thanks to a magical fruit. At the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York, I had a chance to see the new collection first-hand, and the folks at Playmobil recently sent us the new Hidden Temple with T-Rex Playset for a hands-on review.

Last year, PLAYMOBIL surprised audiences by getting into the realm of pop culture licenses for the first time. Now in their 44th year, PLAYMOBIL is entering their second year of licensed product by expanding upon the first to launch - PLAYMOBIL Ghostbusters. That line was a huge hit right out of the gate, and we were lucky enough to have received the Ecto-1 for review last year, along with the iconic Firehouse Playset as a gift from The Toy Insider. My girls and I were so into it that we eventually purchased all of the other sets. So with a collection based largely on 1984's Ghostbusters, it's only logical that the next step would be 1989's Ghostbusters II and the folks at PLAYMOBIL have done just that... but they're also looking for inspiration in a more unexpected place: The Real Ghostbusters.

In addition to my work here on The Rock Father™ Magazine, I veer off in many directions. As some of you may know, I am a member of The Toy Insider's extended family - contributing to their website as a member of their Parent Advisory Board, and a frequent participant in their excellent toy-based Twitter Parties. When it comes to the holiday season, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Holiday Gift Guide as expansive as the one that The Toy Insider puts together, one that exists in print (together with Family Circle) and online, with selections chosen by a team of experts and sorted by age and interest. Even I chip in with a "Rock Father Pick!" Now, despite the fact that we're often swimming in toys here at Rock Father HQ (much of which we donate), my girls do have a small "wish list," and with that The Toy Insider sent a surprise. In fact, all of the Toy Insider parents received a mystery box, and with ours we did a little early preview of Christmas morning here at home. With just four items, the response from all girls is all that a parent could hope for - and one that makes me really think about the "less is more" approach to Christmas. A few well-targeted gifts will beat the "piles of stuff" any day, and the video below shows just that. Take a look at the video, and then read on for some thoughts on these four Hot Holiday Picks!

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