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Lights, camera, action: Mr Baulch is ready for his close-up…..it’s the Friday Blog!

Published on: 23rd August 2013

Movies have figured strongly in the news agenda this week. In London, Leicester Square was closed off as hordes of One Direction fans descended on the capital to celebrate the launch of the band’s new movie, This is Us. The band apparently spent hours signing autographs for what the press described as “hysterical, screaming teenage girls.” After our highly successful One Direction feature a couple of issues back, we were thinking of sending our editor Tom along to the premiere to witness the pandemonium first-hand, but it was press week in the office, so unfortunately we just couldn’t spare him. Hopefully a few enterprising toy retailers read our ‘Have You Considered One Direction merchandise?’ feature and reacted, because if the scenes I saw on TV were anything to go by, there are an awful lot of fans out there who will be spending their pocket money on 1D product over the coming weeks.

It was also finally confirmed this week that the Moshi Monsters movie will be hitting the big screen in the UK and Ireland on 20th December. When I met with Mind Candy six weeks ago, they were hopeful that the movie would receive a theatrical release rather than going the ‘direct to DVD’ route, so they must be absolutely delighted to have received the green light. I saw some footage of the movie – which is actually being produced here in the UK in conjunction with Cornwall-based animation studio Spider Eye – and I’m sure it will prove hugely popular with its target market. Not to mention of course licensees and retailers, who will undoubtedly be looking forward to the sales boost the movie will provide just before and after Christmas (think of all that lovely Christmas money kids will have to spend…).

It has also been confirmed that Ben Affleck will star as Batman in the as-yet untitled Warner Bros project which excitingly will see Batman and Superman brought together for the first time on the big screen. Affleck will star opposite Henry Cavill, who will reprise the role of Superman/Clark Kent which he played in this year’s ‘Man of Steel’ blockbuster. The movie is due out in 2015.

Last but not least on the movie front, reports from Hollywood suggest that Paramount has once again delayed the US release date of the Michael Bay-produced live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (which in turn will obviously affect the UK release date). The film was originally supposed to debut on December 25 2013, then delayed to May of 2014, and eventually pushed back to June 6. Now Paramount is moving the release date back to August 8. The studio is believed to be delaying the launch because the June opening was too close to another Michael Bay film, Transformers 4 – although the new date now has it opening just one week after Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1. Clearly another crowded Summer for major ‘toyetic’ movies beckons, and there may yet be more jostling for position as far as launch dates are concerned.

Also over in the USA, Toys R Us has announced that it will be extending its price match guarantee to include online retailers such as Amazon.com and Walmart.com. It’s certainly an incredibly brave move, but is it a smart one or a misjudgement of epic proportions? I guess only time will tell.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, the treasury has apparently ruled out the prospect of introducing an online sales tax, preferring “an approach which ensures common principles apply to all businesses, whether operating online, from physical premises or a combination of both”. Online retailers such as Shop Direct, who have been lobbying hard against the move, will no doubt be mightily relieved.

Finally, I hope any other parents whose kids have been taking their exams this year are as proud as Anita and I – our youngest will be joining the Sixth Form to start her A Levels in September, whilst our eldest will be heading to the University of Surrey to study midwifery. Seems like only yesterday they were both excitedly running around the BTHA Fun Day, demolishing the go-kart track and being terrified of the giant costume characters. How time flies….

Have a great bank holiday weekend.

You can follow John on Twitter @Baulchtweet.