On December 21st, a seemingly innocent press release hit the web, announcing that Spin Master was signing a new license with Warner Bros. for the DC Comics brand. The release announced that Spin Master would be getting the license to produce “boy’s action category, remote control and robotic vehicles, water toys and games and puzzles” starting in 2020. At the time, it seemed like this was just an all-new license being granted for Spin Master to produce items for kids. But, on the 24th, news began to circulate that this was a much larger issue for Mattel, and fans of DC Entertainment toys.
According to a report by Bloomberg, this license agreement signals the end of Mattel’s master toy license. Spin Master will be taking over the majority of the DC Comics licensing, with Mattel retaining just some of their previous categories. Mattel’s license will include “preschool and girls’ toys”, while Spin Master’s boy’s action toy category will likely include traditional action figures. On Monday, Mattel’s stocks, which were already at an 18-year low, had another drop of 4.5% on the news. The report also states that Mattel will aggressively be seeking new licensing partners, noting that both of Hasbro’s Marvel and Star Wars licenses will be up in 2020 (unless renewed prior to then).
So, where does that leave collectors? DC Collectibles is likely to be unaffected by the change in hands. You will still see higher end collector figures from lines like S.H. Figuarts, MAFEX, Hot Toys, One:12 Collective, and Revoltech. If Spin Master is taking over the production of mass retail action figures from Mattel, chances are that 2019 will be the last year for the DC Multiverse line. Mattel’s DC Multiverse line seemed to finally get on track recently, with some impressive 6″ scale figure releases of late, especially with the Aquaman movie assortments. Spin Master is more known for kid-oriented toy lines like Paw Patrol, Bakugan, and Hatchimals. At this time, their approach will be hard to gauge. Like all DC action figure fans, we’ll be watching and waiting for Spin Master to reveal what they have planned, as well as what’s next for Mattel.