The Mercury News
February 10, 2001

LOTR Merchandise Among the Next Hot Toys
Maureen Fan

NEW YORK -- Every February, toy manufacturers, game designers and journalists descend on Manhattan for the biggest toy fair in the Western Hemisphere. Each year, experts say it's too early to predict what will be the hot toy of the year.

But that doesn't stop scores of manufacturers from backing new launches with multimillion-dollar ad campaigns and predicting trends that favor their line of educational, high-tech, traditional or family-oriented toys.

This year, Harry Potter, ``Lord of the Rings,'' ``Jurassic Park III,'' Bob the Builder and a Survivor board game show that licensing is back in a big way after last year's disappointing lack of successful tie-ins. Robotic pets and handheld electronic organizers for kids continue to soar in popularity as they become more advanced and less expensive.

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