Friendship is Magic #33 Preview

Friendship is Magic #33  cover by Tony Fleecs

Friendship is Magic #33 cover by Tony Fleecs

A preview has shown up on iTunes for Friendship is Magic #33. The second and last part of “Night of the Living Apples” is slated to be released on August 12th. Check out the preview after the break.

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On Monday, Hasbro released their second quarter earnings for 2015. Hasbro beat street estimated by reporting $797.7 million dollars in revenue for the quarter whereas analysts expected somewhere closer to $775M. That former number is actually off 4% from this time last year, but would’ve been up 5% absent a negative $71.5M foreign currency exchange impact in the quarter. An example of this was that the Canadian Dollar was $0.82 USD back on April 20th. As of July 20th, it is down to $0.77 USD. The Euro was worth about $1.20 USD on New Year’s Day. It is now $1.08 USD as of July 20th. Hasbro was very much buoyed by sales from toys tying into Jurassic World, Marvel, and the upcoming Star Wars movie.

It was that FX impact that negatively impacted certain segments. The seven franchise brands (Littlest Pet Shop, Magic: The Gathering, Monopoly, My Little Pony, Nerf, Play-Doh, and Transformers) as a whole were down for the second quarter, though up for the first half. Again excluding the FX impact, five of the seven brands—including LPS and MLP—were up in the period. As expected Transformers (no movie) and Magic: The Gathering (release shift) declined in the quarter.

The Girls’ department fell 22% in the quarter again with Furby the main culprit. The Boys’ department went up 1% on the aforementioned properties and Nerf. Games declined 6%. And Preschool, led by Play-Doh, jumped 14%.

It was Play-Doh, Nerf, Monopoly, and LPS that were up individually despite the FX impact for both the second quarter and first half of the year. Magic: The Gathering was up overall for the first half as well. Transformers’ decline in both half and quarter was anticipated.

With MLP, there’s a bit of a mixed bag. According to Hasbro CEO Brain Goldner, sales declined for the second quarter and first half compared to this time last year (ending a long streak of quarterly gains going back to before 2012), but absent the FX impact, MLP actually gained grew in these periods. Goldner also stated that point-of-sale increased ‘meaningfully in nearly every country they track’ and that the “Cutie Mark Magic” theme is off to a great start and is optimistic about the Equestria Girls movie “Friendship Games” coming out in September. Both MLP and LPS grew in the US and Canada for the quarter.

During the earnings release, there was a question regarding the upcoming Jem and the Hollograms movie to Mr. Goldner, and part of the response included some tidbits about the upcoming MLP movie set for a 2017 release.

The question from Drew E. Crum of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. was regarding any updates on Jem regarding release date, product initiatives, and the pipeline of content for Allspark Productions (Hasbro’s movie wing).

Below is Mr. Goldner’s response as transcribed by Seeking Alpha:

“The date is October 23 for [Jem],” said Goldner. “We’ve already gotten some very positive feedback from audiences. As you know, early you get feedback and make sure you’re on the right track. We’re feeling very excited about the movie and we’ll have a range of licensed product and some collector-oriented toys during the launch of the film, a great program from Sephora and several other licensees. But it’s really our first step in reintroducing JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS to audiences around the world and we’ll build momentum around product, particularly toy product, as we move beyond the film, so not for this year but into the next couple of years.

“And as you look at Allspark, the next major production is the MY LITTLE PONY animated film, which will come out in 2017. We’ll announce a distributor shortly for that film. And again, we are able to make that movie for more of a nominal cost than a traditional animated film given all of our experience and expertise in animated television production, although this certainly will be on scale with all the other animated films you’ve seen in terms of quality and the look and the feel of the movie. The music as well as the cast is quite good but I won’t steal the team’s thunder. They’ll announce some of that shortly. And that will be the next project from Allspark.”

Hasbro’s stock price on Monday rose $4.90 to $83.15/share, which nearly quadruple’s rival Mattel’s stock price which now stands at $24.31/share. Hasbro’s market cap now stands at over $10.35 billion compared to Mattel’s $8.12B. Last Thursday, Mattel posted favorable earnings, though sales of Barbie fell by 19%.

INSIGHT:  Hasbro has every reason to be bullish about the future with the new Star Wars movie coming up and getting the Disney Princess line in 2016 to compliment the Marvel partnership. LPS continues to quietly show growth in sales, while the company remains optimistic on MLP for the future and expect big things in the Fall with both “Friendship Games” and likely the second half of Season Five. It’s just that foreign exchange rates were quite unfavorable for the quarter and first half of the year.




What I love about Princess Luna is that, while she has love and guidance to give, she is in need of these things as well.  She is strong, but frail – self-possessed, but not without an irrational streak.  Princess Luna is a living, trotting dichotomy.  The very pride that had lead to her corruption and downfall as Nightmare Moon has since flipped inside out, and sublimated into a shame so strong, that it poses an equally dangerous threat.

Pinkie Pie has dedicated her life to making others smile because she has a constant need to chase away her own sadness.  (We have seen this not only in her drastic reactions to situations where she has failed to bring good cheer, but also in the Smile song itself, where she literally pulls herself up out of a pit of sadness).  I wrote more extensively on this in “The Duality of Pony.”
This dualistic nobility is equally present in Princess Luna.  Her flaws are her strengths, and the reason she is so very good at helping others wrestle with their demons is that she is at constant war with her own.  Her redemption arc was the first one of many that the show took on, and the one that has been the most developed since.  There are always new layers to explore.

I think perhaps the most beautiful thing about Princess Luna is that the reason she is so apt at helping others – the reason she has so very much compassion – is that she herself has been to hell and back, and wants to protect all the children of the night from repeating her mistakes.

You can also follow Help!  My Heart is Full of Pony on Fimfic and Tumblr.

Friendship is Magic #32  cover by Thom Zahler

Friendship is Magic #32 cover by Thom Zahler

In addition to the preview of Friends Forever #19, we also have an extended preview of Friendship is Magic #32 thanks to Comic Book Resources. Part 1 of “Night of the Living Apples” will be available next Wednesday, June 22nd. Check out the preview after the break.

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Friends Forever #19 Preview

Friends Forever #19 cover by Amy Mebberson

Friends Forever #19 cover by Amy Mebberson

A preview of Friends Forever #19, starring Rarity and the Cakes, has shown up on iTunes. This issue will be available August 5th. Check after the break to see the preview.

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friendship games preview

The My Little Pony Facebook page has put up a new trailer for Equestria Girls: Friendship Games. Check it out by following the link.


IDW Solicitations for October 2015

Friendship is Magic #35 cover by Sara Richard

Friendship is Magic #35 cover by Sara Richard

Solicitations for the My Little Pony comics being released in October are out, thanks to PREVIEWSworld. Check out the details after the break.

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