Jakks Pacific has announced an agreement with Universal Studios which will make the fast-growing toy company the master toy licensee for Universal's Van Helsing movie, which will be released on May 7, 2004.  Jakks has also signed a license for the classic Universal Monsters, which coincidentally make their first screen reappearance since the 1940s in Van Helsing.  Stephen Sommers, the writer director who revived The Mummy franchise for Universal is behind Van Helsing, which features 'A' list stars, Hugh Jackman (aka Wolverine) and Kate Beckinsale.


Jakks is planning a full range of products for both Van Helsing and the Classic Universal Monsters including action figures, accessories, playsets, vehicles, Tongue Tape candy, slumber bags, lunch kits and backpacks.  Jakks will exhibit prototypes of the toys at Toy Fairs this fall, and the finished products should hit store shelves in early spring of 2004 in plenty of time to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the launch of Van Helsing, which is Universal's early season 'tentpole' for 2004.  Since Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man all play key roles in Van Helsing, the film should help relaunch the Classic Universal Monsters line.


The fastest growing toy company in America, Jakks Pacific has been boldly adding licenses while other companies are retrenching (see 'Who's Third In U.S. Toys?').  Van Helsing, which is likely to be one of the major summer films of 2004, will provide Jakks with the opportunity to see what the company can do with a major film franchise.