ABC’s “The Toy Box” announced the mentors and judges who will select the winning toy to be made by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us after the series finale. In each episode, inventors present their toy concepts to a group of mentors that include Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren, toy guru Jim Silver and Pixar Creative Director of Consumer Products Jen Tan. If the toy maker gets past the mentors, they will move on to The Toy Box where a panel of young, no-holds-barred judges that include Sophia Grace Brownlee (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”), Aalyrah Caldwell (“Uncle Buck”), Toby Grey (“The Unexpected John Cena Prank”) and Noah Ritter (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”) decide which toy moves on to the finals and eventually crowned the winner. The eight-episode series hosted by Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) premieres on FRIDAY, APRIL 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network.
Eric Stonestreet, Host
Eric Stonestreet currently stars as Cameron Tucker on ABC’s comedy series “Modern Family,” a role in which he earned two Emmy Awards in the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category, in 2010 and 2012. Stonestreet also garnered a 2011 Emmy nomination, Golden Globe nominations in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Screen Actors Guild nominations in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and a TCA Award nomination for his portrayal. Stonestreet’s credits also include HBO’s “Confirmation,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “The Loft,” “Identity Thief,” “Bad Teacher” and “American Horror Story.”
Dylan Lauren, Mentor
Known to many as the “Candy Queen”, Dylan Lauren is the founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar. She is the face of the brand as well as the creative and strategic force behind it. In 2001, her childhood dream of opening the world’s largest candy store that merges fashion, art and pop culture with candy was realized. Since then, Dylan has opened 16 locations and plans to expand her candy empire worldwide. Dylan has been credited with changing the face of the candy industry and the way people view candy. Her stores are considered “the most original candy emporiums on the planet” and “must-see American cultural icons.” Dylan is also the author of “Dylan’s Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life.” Her book shares candy-centric tips for entertaining, decorating and gift-giving for every occasion—along with her chic and colorful, signature style. As the daughter of legendary fashion icon Ralph Lauren and author Ricky Lauren, Dylan was immersed at an early age in design, art and fashion. After graduating from Duke University with a major in Art History, she traveled the globe in search of the world’s most exciting confectionery creations.
Jim Silver, Mentor
Jim Silver is an energetic and dynamic innovator in the Toy and Children’s Entertainment industries, and is nationally recognized as one of the preeminent experts in play. Silver is the CEO/editor-in-chief of TTPM (Toys, Tots, Pets & more), the only website that combines expert third-party reviews (video and written) with live price comparison, sales notifications, one-click purchasing, and product availability information at major retailers. TTPM was the first site to review toys online and currently reviews more than 5,000 products every year.
Jen Tan, Mentor
Jen Tan is the creative director of Consumer Products at Pixar Animation Studios. In this position, her mission is to uphold and protect the integrity and legacy of Pixar films by enhancing and extending the consumer experience through the design and execution of all types of consumer products around the globe. Tan works side by side with studio executives and filmmakers to ensure that any product – including action figures, play-sets, games, ride-ons, journals, plush, etc. – is made to be appealing and authentic to the studio’s designs and stories of the films. Since beginning with the studio, Tan has worked on the consumer product lines for “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur,” as well the studio’s most recent feature film release “Finding Dory.” In addition, she continues merchandise lines for several franchise properties like “Toy Story,” “Cars,” “Monsters,” and a Disney•Pixar Collection for “The Incredibles,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Up,” “WALL•E” and “Finding Nemo.” Tan is currently developing the merchandise lines for the studio’s upcoming films including “Cars 3” and “Coco.”
Sophia Grace Brownlee, Judge
Sophia Grace Brownlee and her cousin Rosie McClelland, both from Essex, England, make up the duo Sophia Grace & Rosie. They quickly gained popularity by making regular appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” after posting a cover version of the Nicki Minaj song “Super Bass“ that went viral on YouTube. Sophia Grace debuted music videos on her official YouTube Channel like her Billboard Hot 100 charting single “Best Friends” and “Girls Just Gotta Have Fun.” After signing a recording deal with Capitol Records France, she has released her third single, “Girl in the Mirror,” featuring Silentó, in June 2016.
Aalyrah Caldwell, Judge
Aalyrah Caldwell hails from San Diego, California, and was a series regular on the ABC show Uncle Buck with Mike Epps and Nia Long. Other TV credits include a guest-starring role on “Code Black,” “The Fosters” and “Key and Peele,” and a leading role in the dramatic film “Cardinal X.”
Toby Grey, Judge
At seven years old, Toby Grey became recognizable for his comedic work on Fandango’s “Reel Kids,” commenting and reviewing family films. He continued to make us laugh with videos for “Buzzfeed,” “Funny or Die,” “College Humor” and “A Little Advice.” Earlier this year, his video “The Unexpected John Cena Prank” went viral, with over 30 million views on YouTube. Toby also has several TV/film/commercial credits. In his short career he’s been fortunate enough to work with James Franco, Kevin Hart and John Cena. He will appear in the upcoming feature film “Airplane Mode,” starring social-media influencer Logan Paul, and make an unforgettable appearance on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
Noah Ritter, Judge
Noah Borowski Ritter was discovered at the age of five while attending the Wayne County Annual Fair in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, with his grandparents John and Kathy Borowski. Local Newswatch 16 reporter Sofia Ojeda was reporting on opening day. She was interviewing attendees about the food, rides and activities of the annual fair. During his interview, Noah took the microphone from Ms. Ojeda and continued talking, saying the word “apparently” several times in course of the interview. The clip aired on the local news that evening and went viral. Ritter has appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” from 2014 thru 2015 and in commercials for Liberty Mutual Insurance and Visa that appeared on Ellentube 2016. He co-hosted the 2014 Viral Videos segment with NFL star Michael Strahan for ABC’s “The Year.”
“The Toy Box” is produced by Mattel, Hudsun Media and Electus. Michael Rourke, Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Richard Dickson, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Julia Pistor, Susan House and Hamilton South are executive producers.
About Toys ”R” Us, Inc.
Toys ”R” Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 875 Toys ”R” Us and Babies ”R” Us stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam, and in more than 765 international stores and over 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com, the company provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Toys ”R” Us, Inc. is headquartered in Wayne, NJ, and has an annual workforce of approximately 62,000 employees worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Since 1992, the Toys ”R” Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys ”R” Us, Inc., has donated more than $125 million in grants to children’s charities. For more information, visit Toysrusinc.com or follow @ToysRUsNews on Twitter. Follow Toys ”R” Us and Babies ”R” Us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus and Twitter.com/Babiesrus.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm