Disney, which makes more money from consumer products than any of its peers, will once again use the Javitz center event to showcase its fairies, which will benefit from buzz for a fall DVD release. Another evergreen line of characters are its princesses, which could see continued sales of "The Princess and the Frog" product and a boost from this fall's remastered "Beauty and the Beast" DVD release.
But "Toy Story" will be center stage as the company unveils "Toy Story 3" products with partners Mattel, Thinkway and Lego on Sunday.
Bringing together two of Disney's franchises, the studio and toy partner Fisher-Price also will unveil "Dance Star Mickey" dancing plush toy with the help of Donny Osmond, who won the most recent "Dancing With the Stars" on Disney's ABC.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products will present product related to new films "Jonah Hex" and "Guardians of Ga'Hoole." Plus, it will serve fans of TV favorites "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" and "Scooby-Doo," which will see the launch of a toy line that includes a Scooby plush and a Ghost Patrol Mystery Machine.
Viacom's Nickelodeon, generally seen as the top TV-driven licensor, will be present with a range of product tied to "Dora," the leader in licensed preschool toys. Besides such fare as the singing and dancing "We Did It" Dora Doll, Nick also will feature animation favorites SpongeBob SquarePants and Go, Diego, Go! as well as live-action stars iCarly and True Jackson.
Viacom also will put the spotlight on toys tied to M. Night Shyamalan's "The Last Airbender."
Marvel is presenting a helmet and a remote-controlled walking Iron Man, in time for the movie sequel, distributed by Paramount. Rice predicts that along with "Toy Story" it will be one of the year's biggest Hollywood toy franchises as it attracts both the core kids target demo and older collectors.
Hasbro predicts it will grow revenue and profit this year with its products tied to "Toy Story 3" and "Iron Man 2," despite last year's "Transformers" bonanza.
CBS Consumer Products is bringing games tied to this summer's edgy teen romance release "Beastly" along with licensed video games based on TV hits "NCIS" and "America's Next Top Model," as well as new fare for Trekkies.
Fox's licensing & merchandising team -- which had a particularly big toy year in 2009 thanks to such hits as "Ice Age 3" -- will be back with a second wave of "Avatar" action figures and prop weaponry. Summer release "Predators" also will get action figure and bobble heads treatment, with "The A-Team" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" toys also on display.
After a decline of less than 1% in total toy sales in 2009 amid the recession, NPD's Frazier is optimistic for the industry this year given that unit sales in the holiday quarter rose 4%, even though revenue stayed flat due to heavy retail price promotions.