AmusementRC first reported this but here is the Mattel press release that FCDN will take the liberty of cutting down/summarizing phrases:

Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced plans to create the first multi-branded family entertainment centers featuring Barbie® and Hot Wheels®, with a global roll-out beginning in 2020. The centers, featuring immersive, hands-on play and entertainment experiences, will bring Mattel’s iconic brands to life by combining physical and digital play. Experiences, including content and attractions, will be geared toward families with children ages four to ten.

The first of these Mattel-branded [FEC’s] a 25,000-square foot space set to open in Spring 2020 in Toronto. The centers, partnership with iP2Entertainment, will feature distinctly themed areas for Barbie, Hot Wheels and Mega Construx®. Each themed area will offer a range of unique and creative play possibilities for kids and families that will:

  • Reaffirm that girls can be anything they want as they explore a magical Barbie mini-world filled with near limitless possibilities. This experience draws on the brand’s mission to support 21stcentury learning skills through play – specifically creativity, communication and collaboration.
  • Ignite kids’ challenger spirit by putting them in the driver’s seat for experiential activities –including customizing their own Hot Wheels car, designing their race track and creating custom rides they can experience on a massive racing simulator.
  • Challenge kids and families to design, build and test their construction skills in the ultimate Mega Construx building scenarios.

In addition, the FEC’s will offer events such as family game night, experiential retail and high-quality food and beverage options.

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“The family entertainment centers will extend the emotional connection of our brands with kids and allow Mattel to continue to bring wonder and imagination to families,” said Janet Hsu, Chief Franchise Management Officer, Mattel. “The family entertainment centers offer a powerful combination of physical and digital play that give kids the chance to interact with Barbie, Hot Wheels and Mega Construx through live events and experiences, gaming and content.”

Roger Houben, CEO, iP2Entertainment, said: “Our partnership with Mattel reimagines the indoor entertainment center experience, which, until now, has seen limited innovation for nearly four decades. Together, we’ll create brand new physical and digital play-based experiences for kids that will get them moving and engaged in ways that no small screen device could.”

About Mattel

Mattel is a leading global children’s entertainment company that specializes in design and production of quality toys and consumer products. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic franchises, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Fisher-Price®, Thomas & Friends® and MEGA®, as well as other popular brands that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 40 locations and sell products in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and technology companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in exploring the wonder of childhood and empowering kids to reach their full potential. Visit us online at www.mattel.com.

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What this could mean? I highlighted the key sentences/words above that really caught my attention. You get the idea that Mattel has really thought through their entry into the FEC space. Mattel FECs could be a game changer for the children’s entertainment sector. [Back in the late 1970s ColecoVision introduced the Telstar series of home video game consoles (I remember that ‘Telstar Ranger’ sold over 1 million units – the TV commercial featured a young actress, Karen Nagel who many of you old-timers in our industry may well remember. Coleco, along with Mattel and Atari led the way for the home video game console industry and we all know how that impacted the out-of-home video game industry.

Of course, without knowing the pricing model it is hard to predict if Mattel as a franchisor will be able to roll out huge numbers of these interactive FEC’s and get to the size of Chuck E Cheese, for example. However, the bar is once again being raised and all CEC’s and FEC’s need to stay on top of their game by taking advantage of new immerging experiential technologies. Who knows, maybe some existing CEC’s and FEC’s will become Mattel franchises???  On the other hand, remember the Coca-Cola/Columbia Motion Pictures/Gottlieb days?

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