Though rarely considered to be an example of Pixar’s greatest work, CARS does seem to be its most enduring property in terms of merchandise and toys! Every month we get new items and pre-orders for a bunch of great collectibles based on the hit film and fans just keep snapping this stuff up! And when you take something as exciting as Cars and pair it with the equally popular building block toy, LEGO, then you can pretty much bet it’s going to be a success.

And after the success of so many of Cars’ LEGO items, they’ve moved to a similar building block aimed at the younger crowd: DUPLO!

Mack’s Road Trip DUPLO set is a 33-piece item featuring a couple vehicles and enough to build a little set-up ideal for display. It’s a great way to introduce the even younger set to a great Pixar adventure.

Three New Toys from Toy Story 3

From The Vancouver Sun:

Toy Story 3 is a kind of valedictory, a farewell to Andy, the little boy in the first film in 1995, and now -15 years later -grown to adolescence. He’s going off to college, and he no longer needs Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang: They’re bound for the attic, although as things develop, they wind up in the rarefied hell of the Sunnyside Day Care centre, where they are thrown against walls, put into mouths and noses, stretched, covered with goo, disassembled and, in some cases, decapitated.

It’s an intense experience, and Toy Story 3 feels like a farewell itself.

The reviews are in. Critics call it everything from melancholy to uplifting, emotional to thrilling and everything in between but with few exceptions, they all call it another Pixar masterpiece. I haven’t gotten a chance to see it (which makes me feel all kinds of guilty–this weekend, I swear!), but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Naturally, the merch has also hit the shelves and beyond the stuff we already have for the rest of the Toy Story figure and toy collection, here’s a look at three items specifically based on the third and final installment of the incredible franchise.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is a fan favourite and one of the two stars alongside Woody the Cowboy. This figure is a straight-forward Buzz, standing 6-inches tall and featuring full movie-based articulation. Whether it comes to life when you’re around or not, we cannot say. (probably)

Woody’s partner in crime and girlfriend to Buzz, Jessie here comes with loyal steed Bullseye to complete the Woody’s Round-Up Trifecta. Missing is an unpleasant Prospector, last seen headed East in a box.

Stretch is a new character for the film, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. She works for the villainous Lotso’ Huggin at the Sunnyside Daycare and provides a challenge for Andy’s toys as they try to escape.

New Disney/Pixar CARS Figures: Lenticular Eyes Series

There’s a new series of toys from the folks at Disney and Pixar, bridging the gap between the hugely successful 2006 film and its upcoming sequel. Of all the Pixar films, it seems that Cars’ Hot Wheels style merchandising has been the most successful. From individual vehicles to playsets and race courses, these items fly off the shelves whenever we get a shipment.

The latest collection is the Cars “Lenticular Eyes” series, featuring eyes that look around and give the figure even more life than the clever, film-loyal designs generally allow.

The characters available in this group include several variations of Lightning McQueen, Hudson Hornet, Lightning Ramon, Sarge, Fillmore, The King, DJ (Chase), Leak Less and more!

They join the growing collection of Disney/Pixar Cars figures we’ve got over at CmdStore. If you’re a fan of the film, be sure to check ’em out!

Meanwhile, in other Cars news, a blind item recently appeared at The Orlando Sentinel which an interesting question.

Just got off the phone with a delightful British character actress who was “running late. I was just doing ADR (voice over) work for Cars 2.”

She’s in a couple of films now making the rounds. And we don’t know exactly what vehicle she’ll play in Pixar’s Cars sequel.

But she strikes me as a Mini Cooper sort of girl. Not Aston Martin or Jaguar or Land Rover.

Anybody care to hazard a guess?

Army Men on Patrol: Toy Story 3 Lego Set #7595

If you’re anything like me, the wait for Toy Story 3 has you as excited as it does apprehensive: can anything really live up to the first two? Can Pixar continue its unbroken winning streak? Is Cars 2 really coming out when Incredibles 2 has yet to be written? So many questions!

We can’t exactly answer them with LEGO, but we can at least temporarily distract ourselves by playing with the latest addition to the Toy Story LEGO collection: Army Men on Patrol!

It comes with: 4 Lego-fied Army Men minifigures, a jeep (with spare tire) and a stretcher for any injured soldiers. Taking a look at the reviews, they are overwhelmingly positive and who can blame Lego fans for loving these? The army men and their Jeep are exactly the kinds of things that translate to this format perfectly.

Disney and Pixar Unveil a New Virtual World

With a sequel on its way, it’s no surprise that there’s more Cars figures and toys being rolled out. We just got a group of items in that you can check out in our Cars section over at CmdStore.com. The new figures include die-cast 3-packs and a bunch of Mega-sized vehicles like Lightning McQueen, Chick Hicks, Kathy Copter, T.J. and a bunch more. Be sure to take a look if you’re a fan of the film, but read below the jump for even more good news for Cars lovers.

If you’re a Club Penguin fan on top of enjoying the Disney-Pixar brilliance that was Cars, then there’s good news ahead because the two are about to collide!

The LA Times has the full story! Or you can check out the World of Cars by clicking here!
Walt Disney Co. believes that World of Cars, its new subscription-based online community aimed at boys and based on the Pixar movie “Cars,” won’t get lost in the traffic of virtual worlds.

Things are already a bit congested. Some 200 virtual worlds target children under 12. Each competes for a slice of the 10 hours and 45 minutes a day the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that kids spend viewing media, simultaneously vying for screen time against a growing number of portable media players and smart phones that offer their own diversions.

That’s not deterring Disney, however, which is testing World of Cars for rollout this summer. The game will allow kids to create their own car persona and rub hubcaps with characters from the movie, such as Mater, the bucktoothed tow truck, or play online games such as tractor-tipping.

The launch marks the latest exercise in corporate cross-branding for Disney, which hopes it can leverage the movie’s popularity into monthly subscription payments from boys and their NASCAR dads in advance of the release of “Cars 2” in summer 2011 and the Cars Land attraction that opens in 2012 at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.[…]

World of Cars is modeled after Club Penguin, the online game of scarf-wearing penguins and igloos aimed at the juice-box crowd that Disney acquired in 2007. The site had 12 million active players and 700,000 subscribers when Disney bought it, although over the last year U.S. visitors to Club Penguin have leveled off, according to research firm ComScore Media Metrix.

Its global reach is broader, with Club Penguin attracting visitors from 190 countries as the site has been translated into Portuguese, Spanish and French. Kzero Worldwide, a British consulting firm, estimates that Club Penguin reaches as many as 35 million users globally, ranking it among the top five virtual worlds for children.

[…] The trick, however, isn’t inventing a virtual world, but designing content that keeps children clicking back.

“Kids have notoriously short attention spans,” said Steve Prentice at Gartner, a technology information and consulting firm. “They are intrigued by novelty, but unless there’s an enduring reason for them to come back, they won’t.”

That’s the challenge for Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin, who oversees Disney’s virtual worlds.

Pixie Hollow, the virtual world in which players flutter around with Tinker Belland other characters, has grown since its 2008 debut to 1.6 million monthly users in December, up from 1.3 million a year earlier. Toontown Online, one of the first virtual worlds, saw usage spike in the summer — but the number of visitors in December fell below year-earlier levels, according to ComScore.

Meanwhile, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, the multi-player computer game that was launched in 2007, is taking on water. The number of online visitors fell below 192,000 in December from 500, 000 a year earlier, ComScore estimates.

“It’s no secret it had some technical issues. There were some hurdles there,” said Merrifield, who has been working to retool the game. “There were big downloads, and a lot of machines couldn’t carry it.”

Merrifield worked with the development team in North Hollywood to apply some of what he learned with Club Penguin. Players needed to be able to dive quickly into Pirates and play the game as soon as they launched their browser, he said, instead of waiting for a time-consuming download.

More fundamentally, Merrifield encouraged the Pirates team to depart from the game’s linear storytelling to adopt Club Penguin’s open-ended approach, in which the players have more say in the narrative and provide direction on the types of weapons, battles or quests they experience online.[…]

Allowing players to determine the action on screen, Merrifield said, provides “a limitless supply of new content” and allows kids to become the storytellers. He credits 8-year-olds with some of Club Penguin’s most popular ideas — like the addition of ninjas.

Merrifield is applying the same approach to World of Cars. Players start by designing their own car, picking from among body types (stock car, say, or sleek, aerodynamic Porsche), colors and race-car numbers. As they roll down the main drag of Radiator Springs, they can choose to interact with characters from the movie, or head to Fillmore Fields to race through a hay bale maze with friends playing online.

“My goal is to make sure that Disney, from a virtual world standpoint, has the same tradition that Pixar does in 3-D computer animation,” Merrifield said

Toy Story Lego and New Toy Story 3 Characters

A few items from the new Toy Story Lego collection has arrived over at cmdstore.com! Any fans of either the film franchise or the world-famous building blocks can now find Buzz’ Star Command Ship and the Construct-a-Buzz set, the first of the collection to ship. Others available for pre-order and shipping in the coming months include Woody and Buzz to the Rescue, Woody’s Round-Up, Army Men on Patrol and more!

Of course, the reason for the sudden influx of Toy Story items is the upcoming Toy Story 3, the final chapter of Disney-Pixar’s franchise (or so we imagine until they announce a fourth installment). In the film, the toys are given away to a daycare, where they must contend with a group of toddlers and join on with a slew of new toys in order to escape.

Images of those new characters are slowly being released by the folks at Pixar. We’ve seen a good amount already, from Ken to Peas in a Pod, but here’s a look at the latest: an octopus by the name of Stretch. Take a look!

Den of Geek reports:

You pretty much know the drill with these by now, we suspect. Disney is drip-feeding through, one-by-one, the new additions to the cast of the Toy Story franchise. The latest addition to the cast is Stretch, who bears a little bit of a similarity to B.O.B. from Monsters Vs Aliens, from where we’re sitting.

There are still quite a few more characters to be revealed in advance of the film’s 18th June debut in the US (we get it the month after in the UK), but the finest bit of promotional imagery we’ve seen thus far – discounting the trailer – is still this poster from last week.

We’ll bring you news on more characters as we get it.

Toy Story: Buzz Lightyear SDCC 2009

Just hearing that familiar music was enough to bring back dozens of fond memories when I saw the Toy Story 3 trailer a couple months back. If you don’t remember it or missed it the first time around, then here’s a look.

I can’t wait. The original cast returns, with the sad exception of the late Jim Varney, whose character Slinky Dog will instead be voiced by actor Blake Clark. And joining the cast are the likes of Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Bonnie Hunt and a few other notable names.

With Clash of the Titans, the Wolf Man, The A-Team, Kick-Ass and now Toy Story 3, 2010 is already shaping up to be a banner year at the movies!

And of course, with the TS3 announcement, there was already excitement at the San Diego Comic Con. To capitalize on the fervor, Mattel released an Exclusive Buzz Lightyear figure that we now have available at CmdStore! Take a look!