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When it comes to toys, after years of growth the construction/building category took a hit in 2017, with sales falling 6%. As Toy Fair approaches, toymakers will no doubt be looking to rebound from that, and one way to do that is to innovate. Strictly Briks is bringing the iconic Rubik's Cube into the brick construction universe, reimagining it as four-sided bricks across three distinct product lines geared toward kids aged 4-7, 5-12 and 10+. RUBIK'S BRIKS will debut with sets that go beyond typical building by challenging kids with 3D Modeling, colorful pixel images and Puzzles. Here's a quick look at some of the sets they'll be offering beginning in the fall of 2018...

It seems like everything in entertainment is divisive these days. If you keep things the same, it's too much like what's come before it. Change things up and go in new directions, and you've ruined a franchise. At least, that's what certain very vocal fans tend to say. The TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES franchise to me is a lot like BATMAN (who they've actually teamed-up with before). Since 1984, it's seen constant reinvention with different looks and new takes on familiar characters that sometimes inhabit an unfamiliar form. Most of the time, it works. Now, after running nearly six years in a CGI incarnation on Nickelodeon (which ran parallel to a vastly different-looking live action film series), the TMNT crew is being reinvented once more for RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.

The North American International Toy Fair is fast-approaching, and those in attendance February 17-20, 2018 can get their first-look at the latest character from IAmElemental, creators of the first female action figures designed specifically for children. The company is set to debut their latest Series 2/Wisdom Warrior Core Power action figure at Booth #5207 - this one inspired by Alexandrian STEM pioneer Hypatia.

It was rumored right around the time that my girls and I paid a visit to Nintendo of America HQ in Redmond, Washington last fall, and now it's official - a new Super Mario Bros. movie is happening. Nintendo and Illumination are partnering on a movie starring Mario, co-produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri. Universal will be distributing the film, but no additional details  are available just yet, making today's news about as simple as it gets.

Mattel163 will be a new home for developing mobile gaming experiences based on iconic Mattel Brands. The toymaker has announced a joint operation with China-based tech firm NetEase to launch the endeavor, which will leverage NetEase's "leading expertise in digital content and gaming." The first title is based on UNO, now available on Facebook Messenger and coming soon as a mobile app to iOS and Android devices. UNO  includes unique features and fresh modes of play, designed to appeal to a worldwide audience. Check out a trailer for the new UNO below...

It's gonna be another big year at the movies - but will it be at the box office? After a year soft on theater receipts and some less-than-stellar movie tie-ins, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is looming on the horizon, prepping for its June 22, 2018 release. While the promotional partners are vast, one returning from 2015's Jurassic World is LEGO Group, and today they've announced a joint partnership with Universal Brand Development for a collection that goes beyond the norm. Like the last time around, they'll offer an expanded line of construction sets, all-new animated content, and, for the first time ever, a lifestyle collection. Among the new collections will be construction sets that span every LEGO age category (Duplo/Juniors/LEGO), as well as two all-new, animated videos, and a collection of soft lines and publishing to reach audiences beyond the toy aisle. A few sets have been revealed this week, with more set to debut at Toy Fair in New York in mid-February (I will be in attendance for that).

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