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Old 07-14-2014, 09:04 PM   #1
CyberCubed
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How did Playmates manage to have the TMNT toy license for 30 years?

Is anyone else shocked that for nearly 30 years Playmates has always been the toy company for TMNT, barring some off-shoots like Neca, Lego, etc?

From 1987 to 2014 and counting, Playmates has gotten the toy license for all 3 cartoons, the Next Mutation, and all 5 movies. Howcome after all this time they're able to continually get the master toy license time and time again, even though the franchise has changed partners from Mirage to Viacom?

Does Playmates hold the master toy license for TMNT forever? Will we be in the year 2030 and Playmates will still be making toys for the 4th-5th TMNT cartoons?
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Old 07-14-2014, 09:56 PM   #2
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Great question. I like to think that because Playmates was such a small company in the beginning and took a big chance by entering the action figure market with the TMNT that there has been some devotion on the business end by Mirage. Add to the fact that they had incredible marketing with the original series and embraced the wacky-ness of the concept, they really were deserving of the vast amounts of money they made.

As for the 2003 series, I think they really hit it out of the ballpark. The figures were highly detailed, articulately painted, and represented the cartoon accurately.

Now if they could just jump on the bandwagon and create highly-detailed and more expensive figures for the adult fans they would be so much more deserving of the devotion.
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Old 07-14-2014, 09:58 PM   #3
I Crave Pizza No More
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Well, they had amazing success with the vintage line and were logical choices for the 2K3 line, with which I also think they did a good job. The new figures...not so much.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:02 PM   #4
Newton Gimmick
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Laird always felt a debt of gratitude for Playmates pretty much making him a millionaire. So when the time came for a re-up (mind you up until the end of the NM there was really no reason any other toy maker would have been considered because TMNT was crushing them all) he went with them.

You also have to realize, that despite everyone's complaints, Playmates has always done a good job. The figures may not have the most articulation and all that crap, but Playmates has always gotten shelf space and always done tons of items, etc. If anything, Mirage greatly held Playmates back in the 2K3 run when Laird had more sayso over things.

And most of it comes down to experience. When Playmates snagged the master license again right as Nick took over, it only made sense for them to get it. Mattel, Hasbro, they may have made a case for the TMNT, but Turtles is the single most important brand in Playmates history. So when they come in for a pitch, you know they flaunt their TMNT experience and success. Nobody else really stood a chance in that regard.

It would be a HUGE coup for another company to get the TMNT, but it's very unlikely it'll ever happen. And truth be told, if any other company did get it, it'd probably be something like Bandai off the back of their other kids licenses like Ben10. Hasbro or Mattel would almost never be a real contender, because it's unlikely either will ever be able to give the Turtles the attention that a company would want. And your other companies like NECA are practically garage operations compared to the big companies.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:20 PM   #5
Zulithe
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Look around, there aren't many toy companies that are able or willing to produce a licensed toy line so massive and with so much market penetration. Playmates has made it their bread and butter.

Hasbro and Mattell have a lot of products already I doubt they'd take on TMNT even if they were offered it. AND if they did it would be hugely, hugely scaled down.

I wish Playmates would focus on higher quality toys but they have done a really good job at putting tons of product on the shelf for the fans.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:25 PM   #6
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As much guff we give Playmates. They're still better than Jazwares and Jakks Pacific at the very least. But yeah, I'm with Zulithe, it be nicer if they up quality.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:36 PM   #7
DJSoulPole
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newton Gimmick View Post
And your other companies like NECA are practically garage operations compared to the big companies.
Sure, Playmates has more money but everything is made in that big country in Asia so I think it's more of a quality vs quantity decision.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #8
Newton Gimmick
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Originally Posted by DJSoulPole View Post
Sure, Playmates has more money but everything is made in that big country in Asia so I think it's more of a quality vs quantity decision.
More NECA figures break than Playmates ones. So it depends on how you define "quality". If you doubt me, take ANY NECA figure and chuck it down the stairs and do the same with a Playmates figure. See which one lasts. But I digress. With a major brand like the TMNT, quantity is always going to be more important. And it's not like Playmates it making that bad of figures anyway. They don't compare well with $20 specialty market figures, but they also cost under $9. It's a give and take.

The point was, that NECA or a company of that size, will never be able to hold the master license to a property like TMNT because they're far too small. They just don't have the ability to produce the amount of stuff in the time it takes to keep up with demand or meet market expectations. Even if it's all made in China, the size and control over your factories is very important. NECA is a bit player.

And I love NECA, BTW, but unless they explode in growth (which is very unlikely) they'll never be in a position to be the master license holder. They will pretty much always be a sub license, doing "adult collector" toys for the much, much smaller niche market.

The nice thing with Viacom, is that they are more willing to give out the TMNT license to 3rd party and sub licenses, and they've loosened the stranglehold that Playmates had on all toy product in the past. In years past, we'd never seen some of the stuff we have under Nick.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:55 PM   #9
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All good points, Newton. This thread already has too many respectful and substantive replies. Abandon now.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:57 PM   #10
Newton Gimmick
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All good points, Newton. This thread already has too many respectful and substantive replies. Abandon now.
Haha. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

Cheers.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:58 AM   #11
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They've survived because people buy their toys. People can bash the new line all they want, but it sells. The past two christmas seasons almost all the TMNT in my area were gone from the selves, and when new stuff comes out it takes forever to find.
Kids love the cartoon and will continue to buy the toys.
Playmates could care less about people bashing paint jobs and articulation issues, if it sells, they will make more.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newton Gimmick View Post
More NECA figures break than Playmates ones. So it depends on how you define "quality". If you doubt me, take ANY NECA figure and chuck it down the stairs and do the same with a Playmates figure. See which one lasts. But I digress. With a major brand like the TMNT, quantity is always going to be more important. And it's not like Playmates it making that bad of figures anyway. They don't compare well with $20 specialty market figures, but they also cost under $9. It's a give and take.

The point was, that NECA or a company of that size, will never be able to hold the master license to a property like TMNT because they're far too small. They just don't have the ability to produce the amount of stuff in the time it takes to keep up with demand or meet market expectations. Even if it's all made in China, the size and control over your factories is very important. NECA is a bit player.

And I love NECA, BTW, but unless they explode in growth (which is very unlikely) they'll never be in a position to be the master license holder. They will pretty much always be a sub license, doing "adult collector" toys for the much, much smaller niche market.

The nice thing with Viacom, is that they are more willing to give out the TMNT license to 3rd party and sub licenses, and they've loosened the stranglehold that Playmates had on all toy product in the past. In years past, we'd never seen some of the stuff we have under Nick.
Funny story: When I was a kid I accidentally dropped Mikey from Movie 3 down the stairs and it did break the Helmet off. Fortunately it broke off in such a way that it could be put back on. The peg was still intact on the helmet and then I had a removable helmet Mikey. Did this at the time to the Leo and Donnie from movie 3 (yes I tossed them down the stairs as well, with similar results).

I remember getting six figures for the MacFarlane line known as Spawn Interlink Six (Power Rangers robot type connector only with monstrous designs) They were cool and badass looking, but just like every other spawn item when out of the case they were very easy to break. I was never that hard on my toys (except for the few tmnt I just mentioned), but if you looked at that thing wrong, it would break. Pieces fell, never lost, just dropped off and/or came unglued.

Toys are meant to be played with, even if they get absolutely destroyed by there owner. Believe me, as a delivery driver I have seen some true toy nightmares in yards that I have gone through. Nerf guns, Power wheels, other riding toys, McDonalds toys, oh my.

It also depends greatly on the temperment of the kid getting the toys. I took care of what I got for the most part and even had most every weapon to every figure, even if I had to tape or glue things back together; Mikey's Nunchucks usually broke.

It's awesome that playmates has lasted this long on the property. The 2K3 line was the best all around for there quality, articulation stunk at times though the paint was usually very good for a kids line.

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All good points, Newton. This thread already has too many respectful and substantive replies. Abandon now.
tmntmikey23 where are you?!

I kid. That dude made things funny on here, even though arguments he and others would continue on with would get threads canceled (not as cool).
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Old 06-01-2018, 05:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Newton Gimmick View Post
More NECA figures break than Playmates ones. So it depends on how you define "quality". If you doubt me, take ANY NECA figure and chuck it down the stairs and do the same with a Playmates figure. See which one lasts. .
That might be the case now, but back when Playmates was a smaller company, the TMNT figures broke constantly. Especially those weak hip joints. So neither company can really throw stones.

I just wish Playmates was not so defensive about others making TMNT toys. What are they afraid of? losing the license? They know their own collector focused merchandise failed. Instead of making threats to pull products from stores if another company has their TMNT merchandise there, why not play nice? Team up with NECA, share resources so everyone wins? Since it's a joint venture, it wouldn't be a threat.
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Old 06-02-2018, 02:24 AM   #14
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I think playmate is the best companey to make the kids toys AS they have done fore 30+ years.my problem is that they dont let other companey make adult collector toys.and playmate clearly is not intrested and suck at it.just look at the 2012 give away figures(se pic if you dont know wath i mean)that was a big mistanke not relasing figure from the basis line like this and sell it like a adult colloctor line.
I also do think that playmates does not want to make new toys fore the 03 series so my wish is that playmates can make toys fore the new shows and let Neca make colloctor lines fore 84-2012 and Get add on new shows whene they END.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:45 AM   #15
Raptor86
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Playmates it is not so bad...for kids' toys it is OK.

The problem is they do not want to address adult collectors
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:06 PM   #16
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I am fine with Playmates making the smaller less expensive lines. I just wish they'd realize they are not loosing out letting someone else do the adult license. At least their not with me. That or do it right themselves.
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:01 PM   #17
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I am fine with Playmates making the smaller less expensive lines. I just wish they'd realize they are not loosing out letting someone else do the adult license. At least their not with me. That or do it right themselves.
Their license does allow for just that. How else do you think we have gotten TMNT Mini-Mates, SH Figuarts, NECA figures, Revoltech and more. They only restrict them from selling them via mass retailers where they would directly compete with Playmates' lines even if it is just for shelf space.
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