Round 5’s pact with award-winning art toy designer/illustrator Jeremy "MAD" Madl recently yielded Bruce Lee's Temple of Kung Fu, a set of painstakingly-designed, collectible three-inch cartoonish Lee and Lee-related action figures including uber-villain Han from Lee's film classic Enter The Dragon. The line can be expanded virtually forever, with figures in various guises, poses, and colors, as well as quantities; some even have sound chips with famous Lee quotes like "Be water, my friend," from the Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey documentary.
Also on hand at the Round 5 booth was Bruce Lee Dragon Fists—a pair of oversized foam fists, styled after Lee’s, that fit over your hands and feature internal electronics and speakers, such that each movement and strike triggers the sound of Lee’s signature whoops and cries. It and the Temple of Kung Fu characters join Round 5’s Lee product including costumes, six-inch Fanatiks figures, five-inch Titans figures and four-inch plush figures also featuring clips and sound.
Round 5 president Damon Lau noted that the Lee merch has only recently emerged and evolved, after the rights to his name and likeness following his tragic demise in 1972 were reacquired by his daughter and president/CEO of Bruce Lee Enterprises Shannon Lee five years ago.
“There are cool icons like Ali and Elvis, but they’ve been done to death!” said Lau. “But Bruce Lee has been virtually untouched for 30 years or so as a brand, and we look at him as the ambassador of martial arts in general. So we’ve taken a creative approach in developing the line with Shannon--which is something that hasn’t been done.”
Citing his other Toy Fair offerings including UFC and Cut the Rope plush toys, playsets and collectibles, Lau said, “We’re not just trying to sell toys—which we are trying to do—but we do this because we’re fans, and that’s reflected in our product.”
Regarding the Lee line, he added, “You wouldn’t think Bruce Lee would do well at Toys ‘R’ Us, but they’re blowing up there, and we’ll be having new releases every quarter or so.”
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