In December, Marvel severed its odd relationship with ToyBiz and reached an agreement with Hasbro to produce toys based on its characters. The relationship was odd because Marvel owned a ToyBiz sister company, and essentially ToyBiz manufactured the toys which were then sold to the sister company which in turn handled distribution. ToyBiz was expected to ask for a lot more money when its contract expired in December 2006, as its deal with Marvel was generally seen as extremely favorable to Marvel.
Regardless, ToyBiz produced pretty much hands down the best superhero-related toy line over the life of its contract with Marvel, although some of the DC Direct stuff comes close (like the Alex Ross JLA figures). Apparently the designers of the ToyBiz figures, however, were in-house at the sister company so hopefully Hasbro will tap that talent.
What is amazing is the amount of money that Marvel was able to coax out of Hasbro,
In conjunction with the signing of the Hasbro license agreement, Marvel will receive a non-refundable advance of $100 million.
Damn. Hasbro stockholders better be hoping that X-Men 3 and Spider-Man 3 are enormous hits if the company is ever going to recover that kind of advance.
Hasbro Awarded Five-Year Strategic License to Marvel’s Library of Over 5,000 Characters; Product Inspired by Spider-Man 3 Movie to be Among the First to Market. Press Release, Hasbro, 2005.