New ‘Cars 2′ characters & toyline revealed at 2011 Toy Fair

NEW YORK–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Disney revved its engines and kicked off American International Toy Fair today as it unveiled the all new Disney·Pixar Cars 2 toy line of more than 300 toys before a capacity crowd of toy industry insiders and members of D23, Disney’s official fan community. Academy Award®-winning actor Michael Caine, voice of the charming and eloquent new Cars 2 British agent Finn McMissile and actress Emily Mortimer, voice of his spy-in-training Holley Shiftwell, were on hand for a panel discussion and were presented with custom-built toys celebrating their Cars 2 characters. From toys that interact, speak, and climb up walls to new collectable die-cast and buildable play sets, the new Cars line-up is packed with creativity and innovation. The hottest toys at Toy Fair and this year’s most anticipated, new Cars toys unveiled at the event included: Mattel’s Lightning McQueen Alive, The LEGO Group’s Spy Jet Escape, and Spin Master’s Zero Gravity Finn McMissile radio control vehicle. The event culminated with a reception showcasing the hundreds of new toys that will release this May and into the holiday season, plus a sneak peek at the upcoming multi-platform Cars 2: The Video Game and a first look at a life-size Finn McMissile car. Cars 2 hits the track June 24 and will be presented in Disney Digital 3Dâ„¢ and in IMAX® 3D in select theaters.

In less than five years since the film’s release in 2006, the Cars franchise has generated global retail sales of more than $8 billion — making it among Disney’s top franchises and quickly establishing itself as a true classic. This momentum will go into high gear as Cars 2 becomes what Disney Consumer Products expects to be its largest licensed film merchandise program ever. The program is anchored by an array of innovative toys featuring the film’s World Grand Prix race and international espionage themes. Cars 2 will also be supported with unprecedented product lines from stationery, apparel and accessories to home décor, books, and food, health and beauty, and an exclusive range from Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.

Returning to the driver’s seat to direct Cars 2, John Lasseter surprised guests via a special videotaped greeting and revealed John Turturro as the voice of new character and Lightning McQueen rival, Francesco Bernoulli. “The idea for Cars 2 began when I was traveling around the world doing publicity for Cars. I found myself looking out at these amazing cities and imagining, ‘what would Mater do?’ I couldn’t help but laugh thinking about Mater lost in the maze of Tokyo streets, driving on the wrong side of the road in England or navigating the gigantic roundabouts in Paris,” Lasseter said. “I’m sure fans and collectors will be as thrilled as I was to see these new adventures come to life in this exciting toy line, which features some of the most amazing technology out there.”

At the event, Disney also revealed two additional new Cars 2 characters: Miles Axlerod, voiced by the talented Eddie Izzard, is a former oil baron who has sold off his fortune, converted himself into an electric vehicle and devoted his life to finding the renewable, clean-burning energy source of the future — he’s also the car behind the World Grand Prix; and Nigel Gearsley, an Aston Martin DB9R racer bearing #9. His cool British refinement makes him an imposing presence on the World Grand Prix courses.

With more than 200 million Cars die-cast vehicles sold worldwide to date, innovation was critical to keep the new Cars toy line fresh. Disney challenged the best in the toy industry including Mattel, The LEGO Group, Spin Master and Hasbro to deliver the next generation of Cars toys. The resulting line includes new innovations such as Lightning McQueen Alive (sneak peek demo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djVlI-pqtVM) which was unveiled at the event and is the first toy of its kind to utilize touch sensors and cutting-edge micro technology to capture the look, sound, moves and animated personality of everyone’s favorite red racer with never-before-seen features in a 1:55 scale car.

“The first Cars film has been a phenomenon because kids love the characters and racing. Cars 2 not only has great racing, but it also has a spy twist that is pure toy bliss,” said Vince Klaseus, senior vice president of Global Toys, Disney Consumer Products. “Cars 2 is our largest toy line yet with more 300 new toys and it offers something for everyone — we have cars that can be dramatically customized in wild and expressive ways, cars that transform and even cars that climb walls.”

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