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2014 Minimates "State of the Union"

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I wanted to get people's opinions on the current state of the Minimate brand in general, as there have been some significant changes to the status quo over the last year, including:

- New Licenses (The Big Bang Theory, TMNT, Mass Effect, Grimm Fairy Tales, ALIENS, View Askew, Kill Bill/Pulp Fiction, Plants vs Zombies, Godzilla, Sin City, Pathfinder, Lost in Space, Invincible, Thief of Thieves)

- Inactive Licenses (Tomb Raider, Star Trek, Lost in Space, Battle Beasts, Thief of Thieves, Thundercats)

- Returning Licenses (Ghostbusters)

- New retailers (Gamestop, Sears/K-Mart, Hastings)

- Blind Bag packaging (Mass Effect, TMNT)

- Luke's Toy Store finally got an exclusive

- Exclusive Minimates at GenCon

- Toys R Us has reduced the amount of unique lines they are supporting (Thor 2 got cancelled, no waves for Winter Soldier or X-Men DoFP)

- The last TRU Marvel wave (TRU 18) was released in January and Wave 19 still hasn't been formally announced.

- Toys R Us is now apparently only offering a single "TRU Exclusive" pack per wave (ASM2, GotG)

- Marvel now has Minimates variant comic covers

- Battle Beasts (and currently all other DST in-house brands) have been shelved.

- MMMV got a Minimates promo exclusive!

- The C2E2 2014 Minimates Meet-up was a success!

- Marvel's Heroes United DVD promo offer

It's been a crazy year for collecting Minimates, there definitely has been a lot of change. Let me know if there is anything you think I need to add to the list.

With SDCC looming, I thought now might be a good time to have this conversation prior to new reveals/announcements, and take a moment to look back over the past year. Maybe we can make this an annual discussion?

Edited by youbastards

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-New Licenses: Beyond excited for most of them. IMHO this has been a great year for new licenses.

-New Retailers: I don't live in the USA so it doesn't affect me that much but the more places that carry minimates the more exposure they get.

-Blind Bagging: Again, I live abroad so it doesn't really affect me.

-Luke's Exclusive: Extremelly happy!

-AFX: Sad but maybe they'll get back into the game sometime.

-GenCon: It's cool I guess.

-TRU: Pretty sad, I mean, TRU gave us Lockjaw and now we don't even get Movie figures.

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Luke ate a bagel.. Oh wait, that was a while ago.

Is this the year we get Agent 88 Minimates?!

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-Tons of new licenses, some surprisingly bad. Lines like Star Trek, Invincible and Tomb Raider dropped despite there being a huge window to do more. It's basically that we're getting all this new stuff and we can't squeeze out another boxset or wave for VERY incomplete lines? We probably won't see anything else from at least half the new properties than what we know we're getting so I hesitate investing in that knowing there could be huge gaps.

-New retailers worry me. Every K-Mart I've ever been to is in a constant state of Hurricane Katrina. Gamestops are often unreliable and full of awkward workers who will beg you to pre-order something and will insist on selling you a used game when you want new. But I love Mass Effect so I have to deal with these dweebs. Walmart is strictly TMNT? I have great Walmarts near me but zero interest in that TMNT line so that's a bummer. And the Sears near me, like most Sears, will be out of business soon. Wonderful.

-Blind bags are the absolute worst. There had better be a unique indentifier on that SOB for Mass Effect, especially at the $5 range.

-Luke is the aboslute best and the boxset is wonderful. I hope he gets more, it seems like a low production number would be great for exclusives to his store. You know, like a Star Trek or Invincible boxset.

-AFX must feel burned by Alpha Flight or idk? Seems like they used to get the coolest boxsets. Give them a Botherhood boxset or 2 and see what happens. Gee, what a thought.

-TRU is probably pretty conflicted, Walking Dead does so good but their Marvel waves went down in quality each wave. I imagine the deal was to cut back and offer something that would sell easier.

Overall the most interesting year I've seen for 'mates. Also it's the first year I've spend more on OLDER releases than new ones, BY FAR too. I'm really looking forward to Best of Marvel 3 and Mass Effect, I want to see where Aliens pans out first but it looks great so far. I'm not 100% happy personally but from a business standpoint it all makes sense so DST is in the right and hopefully it all works out.

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I made the following edits to the list above:

- New Licenses (Invincible, Thief of Thieves, Lost in Space)

- Inactive Licenses (Tomb Raider, Star Trek, Lost in Space, Battle Beasts, Thief of Thieves)

- Returning Licenses (Ghostbusters)

- Marvel's Heroes United DVD promo offer

I'm keeping Invincible off of the Inactive list for the time being.

Edited by youbastards

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Without discussing many of the specifics laid out here, or even attributing blame to the line at all necessarily (I did have a young, often sick baby to attend to and other life-related issues), I will say that I hit my nadir of interest in MInimates over the last year. I still picked things up here and there, and spent way more than I should have on discounted TRU packs, but it largely felt like I was going through the motions with Minimates in 2013-14. I have lusted after Aliens for years, though. Getting Alien is totally icing on the top of that cake. After Ghostbusters, this was my most highly desired dream license since I first got involved. I'm hopeful that this can rekindle my own spark of passion for these figures. But the difficulty with TRU 'Mates and blind bags, and ever increasing increases in price are definitely turn-offs for me personally, though.

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You forgot the Big Bang Theory mates

Thanks, will add them.

Also, added Thundercats to the Inactive license list since the licensing type was similar to Big Bang Theory.

Without discussing many of the specifics laid out here, or even attributing blame to the line at all necessarily (I did have a young, often sick baby to attend to and other life-related issues), I will say that I hit my nadir of interest in MInimates over the last year. I still picked things up here and there, and spent way more than I should have on discounted TRU packs, but it largely felt like I was going through the motions with Minimates in 2013-14. I have lusted after Aliens for years, though. Getting Alien is totally icing on the top of that cake. After Ghostbusters, this was my most highly desired dream license since I first got involved. I'm hopeful that this can rekindle my own spark of passion for these figures. But the difficulty with TRU 'Mates and blind bags, and ever increasing increases in price are definitely turn-offs for me personally, though.

I will say that it seems like we've known about the ALIENS license for a long time (announced February of 2013) but still don't have any product in hand. This happened to me with Wave 50, my excitement for it was gone by the time it was released, but then when I got them in hand I was very happy with the product.

Minimates 2-pack prices have remained steady for a long time, but there does seem to be increased interest in single packs and blind bags, so I see what you mean regarding increased price.

Even though they have sold Minimates for a long time, I added Hastings to the "New retailers" list because of their upcoming Pulp Fiction exclusive.

Edited by youbastards

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Licenses: None of the licenses introduced this year really have me excited. If anything I'm more concerned about how existing or previously announced licenses are being handled or sidelined entirely. (Alien and Star Trek, I'm looking at you.) I could understand if DST seemed to be moving on to the next hottest thing but properties like Zenescope and Mass Effect seem to be the next cheapest thing in terms of royalties and guarantees. I find DST's lack of faith in their more venerable properties perplexing.

Mass Market Retailers: The huge bump in the road that was the TRU reset was somewhat mitigated by the news that they would no longer be the only mass market Minimates player. Unfortunately that news was also somewhat undermined by the announcement of blind bags, which I'll concede is a strategy that can work for some lines but not all.

Specialty Market Retailers: AFX's loss will hopefully be Luke's gain. I'm thrilled to see the Porters get an exclusive, especially one that will be relatively timeless. Even if this first set lingers, it's loaded with definitive versions of popular villains and complements the "Best of" series very nicely. Add to that the fact that I can now get 'mates at Barnes & Noble and BAM! and I'm a happier collector.

Blind Bags: As a consumer who likes to know what he's purchasing, I personally loathe blind packaging. If that's what gets the brand into more locations and grows the market, so be it.

Publishing: It's great to see Minimates being recognized with comic book cover variants alongside Lego. Now if they could just get a game or movie deal.

DSTZach Goes Native: Reading that the folks at DST think that Zach has been assimilated by the Multiverse may have been my guilty pleasure highlight of 2014 so far. The fact that DST produced a Multiverse Minimate gives me hope that the rest of his colleagues aren't much further behind. [maniacal laugh]

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I don't see how you can fault DST on the Star Trek license. They gave it a good shot and the product just didn't seem to move. I don't see what else they could do unless they're going to put $10 bills in the packages.

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Licenses: None of the licenses introduced this year really have me excited. If anything I'm more concerned about how existing or previously announced licenses are being handled or sidelined entirely. (Alien and Star Trek, I'm looking at you.) I could understand if DST seemed to be moving on to the next hottest thing but properties like Zenescope and Mass Effect seem to be the next cheapest thing in terms of royalties and guarantees. I find DST's lack of faith in their more venerable properties perplexing.

The Zenescope thing I get, it's not exactly setting the stands on fire but Mass Effect? You may not like the license (each to his own) but to say that it's the next cheapest thing, well...... 890,000 copies of ME3 were sold on the first day of its release, and it made a bit over 200,000 million. Sure, games like COD sell much more but come on, COD isn't a game, it's a glorified annual release of multiplayer maps that has a far broader appeal. Yes, GTA V grossed over 1.000.000 $, Arkham City sold 4.6 million copies and Mario tops the charts every year. Skyrim sold 20 million copies. Thing is these are properties that made a name for themselves a lot earlier than ME. These are juggernauts. Give it time and I believe that it can reach them but my point still stands: ME is no small property. Especially compared to other shelved licenses like Invincible and Battle Beasts. Star Trek, yeah I get the frustration (which just doesn't move, I can't really fault DST for not giving it yet another go) but besides that, is there any other minimate property that could sell like hot cakes but isn't being used ? You could say Tomb Raider, but the deal was only for the newest game, not the whole series. And I don't really think there is much left to make.

I don't want to come off as a blind ME fan. I know that there are far bigger properties out there. The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Nintendo, etc... (and that's counting only the video game stuff).But these are all old and currently classic series that people will buy from the name alone. ME is a somewhat new property that's trying to create a whole universe. God of War 3 sold 5.2 million copies, the Uncharted series sold over 13 million copies. Numbers that pale in comparison with the other, older franchises. As far as new properties go, ME is definitely in the hot list (though I still mourn the loss of Sony mates, GODDAMN YOU SONY).

PS: DST tried to acquire the license a while back and EA refused, thinking that the designs wouldn't translate well into minimates (it was in an AskDST and the question was mine). Now this, I see as a major win for DST. Managing to win over one of the biggest video game publishers and have them rethink your proposition is no easy feat.Again, I'm not saying that you have to like the property, but you have to give it some credit for being one of the most critically aclaimed video games series.

Edited by Kostisfire

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The comic covers are a real highlight for me. Seeing Minimates get some real spotlight time in the comic reading community is a total win.

My 'Dream' for mininates going forward is for more waves like 54. Villains. Unmade characters. Women. so much goodness.

I also hope that we can see more waves like Cap2 & GotG. Movie waves with less double-up of characters are a win in my book.

And i am really excited for Aliens.

The flip-side is, that i'm sad to see BattleBeasts fail to find a home. Series 2 was looking to be an amazing collection of toys.

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So long as Blind Boxes never touch marvel, I'll be so happy. Blind Boxes are sinful evil things, and whoever created the concept should burn in their own personal hell of being locked in a cage, and the key is blind boxed.

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Retailers: No Minimates planned for Walmart. And we're working on something with AFX.

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Retailers: No Minimates planned for Walmart. And we're working on something with AFX.

know anything about Meijer getting mates?

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And we're working on something with AFX.

Awesome! AFX have done some great sets with you guys in the past. I'm looking forward to future offerings through them.

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I'd say it's a mixed bag, for most of the reasons that you've all already mentioned. On the one hand, it seems that the traditional markets (specialty stores and Toys R Us) have receded; on the other, it looks like there are several new retail outlets stepping up. Likewise, the two stalwart licenses, Marvel and Walking Dead, both seemed to see decreased activity; on the other, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is poised to be the tentpole that Walking Dead doesn't seem to have become.

The new licenses are a mixed bag. I'm glad that DST is getting into cult movies more... I just wish they they were doing so with cult movies I actually like (in other words, Kevin Smith down.gif , Coen Bros thumbsup.gif ). I'm hoping that the mysterious Halloween license is going to change that....

As for blind bags... really, it had to be done. Retailers want them, so what can you do? The more stores 'mates are in, the easier it will be to convince potential licensees that DST is the place to be.

Finally, I'll never understand the Grimm's Fairy Tales thing... but the little green fairy looks cool.

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Retailers: No Minimates planned for Walmart. And we're working on something with AFX.

know anything about Meijer getting mates?

Not at present.

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Coen Bros thumbsup.gif ). I'm hoping that the mysterious Halloween license is going to change that....

Damn. I would do backflips if by some freaky twist the Halloween license was a Coen Brothers film laugh.png

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I'm disappointed with the lack of figures forthcoming from the Trek line, but can understand if production has slowed down due to sales - it is a business. My favourite line of all, the Universal Monsters was canned due to this but I'm just grateful that the powers that be gave it a go and we ended up with the figures we did. I still love the Marvel - especially, contrary to popular opinion those. movie based lines and the Walking Dead and still dream of the day that we will see the return of the DC 'mates

The 'new' license due up that excites me most is Aliens but I will be dipping my toe into the Clerks, Sin City and Tarantino lines as there are some great looking dudes there.

If you take a visit to any shop where I live (the UK) and take a gander at the masses of different boxes of different properties then blind bagged figures seems to be the way most retailers want this type of small scale relatively inexpensive action figure - personally I don't like them but at the very least I hope to be buying a few Turtles and Mass Effect if possible to check them out.

I'm not sure how the announcement of new retailers will directly effect me due to my living outside of the USA, whether it will make the 'mates easier or more difficult to obtain remains to be seen.

The Luke's Toy Store exclusive is a great idea and I hope to support this excellent retailer with a few purchases of the set.

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