Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Toy Fair 2018: Monster High Closed Down

pc-2-18-01The PopCult Toybox

UPDATE: For the latest news on Monster High, and signs of a possible revival, click HERE.

Mattel’s Monster High seems to be missing in action at Toy Fair this year. So far the only mention I’ve seen of it anywhere was in a press release about Mattel’s partnership with Tynker, an educational program that helps teach kids coding. This is no great surprise, as the doll line unwittingly paid tribute to another classic monster movie at retail last year: The Incredible Shrinking Man.

Unless Mattel had Monster High buried in a corner of their enormous booth that nobody’s bothered to cover on the internet yet, the rumors of the past two years are true. Monster High has been cancelled.

It’s been a precipitous fall for Monster High, a brand that, just four years ago, was pulling in almost two billion dollars a year, but it’s also pretty much the norm for the toy business.  Monster High had close to an eight-year run, which is pretty impressive for a toy line.

pc-2-18-03In 2016, Mattel, in dire financial straits following the loss of the Disney Princesses line to Hasbro, rebooted Monster High and tried to aim it at a younger audience.

Instead of extending the life of the brand, that move seemed to hasten its demise, as collectors rejected the new designs and the already dipping sales never quite recovered. The new designs were really out of touch with what fans wanted.

If any new Monster High toys  make it into stores in 2018, they’re most likely just the last few items that were in the production pipeline. Apparently the division was shut down last year (or earlier) and the design personnel shifted to other projects.

pc-2-18-07Last year Mattel introduced Enchantimals, which seems a lot like Monster High, only replacing the monster part with cute woodland critters, and that line is pretty much destined to have a short shelf-life. Hasbro tried the girl/animal hybrid thing with their My Little Pony Equestria Girls line, and that didn’t exactly set the world on fire.  I don’t see Enchantimals doing any better. Like with the failed Ever After High, Mattel cannot seem to catch lightning in a bottle again.

Interestingly enough, the core concept behind Monster High–adventures of the offspring of famous monsters as youngsters–is still alive and well in at least two new properties from other companies.

pc-2-18-04Videogame developer Beautiful Glitch and publisher Those Awesome Guys will release Monster Prom in April.  Monster Prom is a dating simulator with an angle familiar to fans of Monster High.

This new game places the traditional dating simulator into one of the most traumatic environments known to teenagers, high school.

Gone are the days of a solitary slog to find your perfect match, Monster Prom lets you pit your wits against your friends with 1-4 player modes available. Beautiful Glitch has released a trailer for what looks like a hellishly fun trip back to adolescence, and you can find out more on the game’s steam page. The game will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux.

More interesting, in terms of coincidental origins is Super Monsters, a Netflix animated kids series that will make it into toy stores via Hasbro’s Playskool brand.

pc-2-18-05Let’s go to the press release: “Super Monsters is an animated series about a group of preschool-aged kids who are descendants of the world’s most famous monsters, such as Count Dracula, Cleopatra and Frankenstein. The show follows the kids through their Pitchfork Pines Preschool adventures as they learn to master their own special powers while learning how to be the best they can be.”

Super Monsters is basically Monster High, set in pre-school. Monsters still remain popular with kids, and there’s still plenty of life left in the idea of the children of famous monsters learning monstrous life lessons.

I do have to wonder when Cleopatra made the jump from historical figure to monster, though.

Hasbro’s Super Monsters product line will include collectible figures of the core cast, plush, playsets and vehicles iconic to the show. The line will also feature role play products to let kids act out their own silly monster adventures. As the global master toy licensee, Hasbro will launch its line based on the Super Monsters series in fall 2018 under its Playskool brand in the U.S., with additional markets to follow in 2019.  Season one of Super Monsters is available now on Netflix. Season two of the series will launch in October 2018.

pc-2-18-08So Monster High is dead, but monsters live on. Super Seven showed new Universal Monsters action figures. Funko (seen left) will be producing more recent horror movie icons like Jason and Freddy as He-Man style figures. NECA continues their MEGO-style horror series with figures based on Re-Animator and The Fog, and plenty of other companies will be releasing spooky toy concepts this year.

The interesting thing to watch in the coming years will be how the large and passionate Monster High collector community evolves.  Will Monster High fade from memory completely, or will a group of dedicated collectors manage to keep it alive long enough to be revived by Mattel five or ten years down the road? The concept obviously has legs. Kids have loved classic monsters for over sixty years.  It all depends on the patience and persistence of the fans.  Plus, it’s hard to keep a good monster in the grave.

UPDATE: Additional information about the fate of Monster High can be found in an update to this post HERE.

45 Comments

  1. Shannah

    I am so glad I started a collection before my daughter was born in the hopes that I could share the dolls someday. I loved the dolls, and the reboot really did not help. That’s when the collectors stopped buying and I think they were the only ones left buying at that point. Mattel has a lot of quality issues anyway, if you surf the groups for American Girl and Barbie, and Monster High dolls had a hair glue issues where it would seem out of the head and make the hair grossly sticky. They never addressed these issues and as a parent I’d probably abandon toys that did that too.

  2. suba me

    S5YEZR This blog was how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks!

  3. nadia

    i love the show but hate the last 2 movies i miss the old animation than the new one i hope they make more movies with the old animation and the new movies don’t even have the importnt other characters!!!

  4. brooke

    Monster high wasn’t at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con either! Only thing that had any relations with Mattel and monster high was the doll that was sold.. Its so sad.

  5. Austin Eafford

    They probably are going to sue each other for copyrights.

  6. SodaCandyPop

    I can’t believe they stopped the line. I grew up loving them all! I had like 20 dolls when I was younger but I threw them out. Luckily I had 3 left over and 1 ever after high doll. I wish they could bring them back in the years to come.

  7. Lo

    Im so sad about Monster High. My daughter started watching the movies when she was 2 (almost 3), and til now- shes 4.
    She watched the new two movies and was confused about the new look.
    Its funny how they came out with all these new stuff made to target preschoolers, yet my daughter LOVED Monster High and shes preschoolers. Shame on all these idiots who continue to fill tv and toys targeting my child’s age group with simple minded, uncreative show! I use to watch tom&Jerry, simpsons, looney toons, etc. All the kid chartoons where agressive and violent. And we all turned out ok! Yet Monster High isnt anywhere near those types of shows!!

  8. Jason Anthony

    I appreciate the detail in this article. Well written and to the point!

  9. OOak maker

    I started customising dolls about a month before eah announced its end of production. i am now running out off affordable high quality dolls.

    • rudy panucci

      You might want to check eBay or Wish.com. There are plenty of bodies and full figures available really cheap, from China. Many with the fuller articulation of the earlier MH dolls.

      You’ll have to wait three-to five weeks for delivery, but they seem to have plenty on hand.

  10. Keena

    I can’t believe its over……. Idk what I’ll do now….I miss monster high so much

  11. Sadie

    Cleo isn’t Cleopatra, her name is Cleo deNile and she’s a mummy. She wears magical wraps that keep her alive and if they’re ever removed she’ll age rapidly and die.

    • rudy panucci

      Thanks for the clarification. It still seems odd that Super Monsters included Cleopatra as a monster, though.

  12. Kaypie901

    I just checked the Mattel website and they still have the monster high dolls up for sale i don’t know what is going on but Mattel need to tell us what’s going on

    • rudy panucci

      I suspect that Mattel will keep a couple of the dolls on their website for some time, just so they can hold onto the trademark. As long as they offer them for sale, their trademark remains in effect. If they’d ever stop selling them completely, after a time the trademark would expire, and somebody else could try to claim it. With so many new properties imitating Monster High (Super Monsters, Vampirina, etc.) another company could try to snap it up.

      My guess is that Mattel wants to keep their options open, in case anyone wants to make a movie, but they seem to have pulled the plug on every doll line they have so they can focus on Barbie. Barbie sales are way up this year, but that’s probably because she doesn’t have any competition from Monster High, Ever After High, DC Super Hero Girls or WWE’s fashion dolls, all of which were made by Mattel, and all of which seem to have nearly disappeared from retail.

  13. Lisa

    MH dolls not sold inTarget or Walmart any more. What next?

  14. Mandy

    I have every single Monster High doll and I will not be parting with them anytime soon.

  15. Glenda

    I get my dolls here: https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F163036981634 and they list new ones every day. : ) They’re also super helpful in finding rarer dolls of many brands.

  16. Lisa

    I’m a huge MH collector and would certainly spend money on them if they brought them back in original format.

    It feels like Mattel killed them long before now. They stopped promoting them and the quality and design started suffering years before now. The uniqueness, attention to detail and overall idea behind the MH line was spectacular and they didn’t preserve it. It seems the company can only focus on promoting one line at a time and they shifted back to Barbie, which IMHO, doesn’t measure up.

    The company seems completely out of touch with their customers. The Made to Move line and adding diversity is the best they’ve done for Barbie, but MH already had that and they started taking it away. It feels like they intended to kill the MH line. I suspect someone higher up was offended by them and didn’t see the value so many of us fans saw. They easily could have revived the line and still can. They simply aren’t focused on it and appear to have lost interest as they promote Barbie again.

    They are losing out on very profitable arena. I used to spend several hundreds a year on MH, and even EAH, and now my money goes elsewhere and it’s not to Mattel. I spend thousands a year on dolls (bjd, Pullip, Blythe, IT, Azone, etc.) and only rarely do I buy anything in the play lines now, whereas before they were a huge part of my annual collection budget.

    I miss MH and even Ever After High although they killed them a long time ago. It isn’t fun going to the toy aisle anymore and pretending to shop for my nieces.

    • rudy panucci

      I’m working on a follow-up piece that will run here in a couple of weeks, and you aren’t far off the mark. Mattel seems to have killed off MH, as well as DC Super Hero Girls and their WWE Fashion doll line, the latter two of which were selling very well, just so that they could boost Barbie’s market share, which is up more than 11% this year. It seems like they’re motivated by making their core lines, like Barbie and Hot Wheels, look like they’re stronger than they really are by dropping their lines that compete with themselves (It’s getting harder to find Matchbox, meanwhile Hot Wheels sales are up this year, too).

      I’ll have more to say in a couple of weeks.

  17. Cheena

    I love monster high and ever after high.I went to comic con in 2017.I Was looking forward to Mattel doll section i just saw a few Barbie was so disappointed…….

  18. Ananda

    You need to bring Monster High back. My daughter Faith loves them. She has over 1 hundred Dallas. And stuff and all the movies and bed seat and certens and clothes and still plays with the Dallas and watches the movies. I like the movies to. It help my daughter understand now matter what culcher sice or how they look. That are all a like in there one way. She nows not to be mean but to treat other like you want to be treated. So I am asking you to bring back Monster High please. It is great for every one out there.

    • rudy panucci

      I hope Mattel is listening you. I don’t have any say over it one way or the other. I’m just the messenger.

  19. Cary

    Thank you for writing this, and I hope it will be seen and taken into consideration. Monster High is a great series, but it was a mistake to rewrite or change anything. Barbie changed through time, and yes she did not always stay the same. Although, Monster High really had something in the beginning that could have had a longer shelf life, and yet I guess they tried to cut back and try to please people. They should have focused less on introducing new characters, and maybe instead they should have put more effort in releasing monsters and ghouls that have played a part in the original story of Monster high such as back ground characters like adding Gory, Johnny Spirit, other monsters such as Archer, Andy Beast from skull shores, and teachers so those who play or collect the dolls can actually have teachers rather than just the principal. After all it is Monster High, a high school, and the teachers exist in the story, so why can they not be a part of the school? Especially since a high school playset was released….This is just my opinion as someone, who loves monster high. I like having new characters, I do, but rereleasing “new” versions of the same main dolls so many times can be repetitive, so instead for playing and collecting maybe having clothes packs instead of new versions of the same dolls would have been nice options, just like how barbie has individual clothes that can be bought. New characters are welcome, but eventually a high school gets crowded, maybe even the creators get writer’s block, as I am sure having too many monster can get overwhelming. So a shift in directing a more solid storyline and using the characters that have been introduced released into the doll line, would have been a more solid, beneficial, and fun way to go. I hope the “old” monster high can be returned, not every person can be pleased, but the point of them being monsters is for people to not be scared, to embrace freaky flaws, to be yourself because we all matter and are all unique with our own similarities and differences. I am sure not everyone likes monster high, as not everyone likes Barbie, but I love Barbie and Monster High and I know I am not alone. I am twenty-one, and I collect Barbies, Monster High, and other dolls, I wanted to work for Mattel when I became an adult, as I love dolls and toys as it brings imagination and expression of creativity. I am glad to own and to have grown with monster high, since I was in high school, when they released. Thank you again for taking the time to write this and call attention to it, for the lovers of Monster High.

  20. woww

    at least we still have the movies?
    i grew up watching this. it svcks honesly.

  21. Jim

    I will be creating a Monster High museum in 2020 or 2021. My daughter has one of the rarest Monster High collection in the World All the store toy displays and other store displays. One of every doll ( except minis, clothes line, plush. Or create a monster) and playset from 2010-2018 in the original package never opened. 10 SDCC Black and white Frankie all the SDCC dolls and posters from 2010-2015 all autographed by Garrett Sanders 27 error dolls in the wrong package or box was worded wrong. It’ll be around 800 dolls total with a bathroom and bedroom lay out. It’ll be epic.

    • rudy panucci

      That sounds terrific. Please keep up posted.

  22. Priscilla

    Monster high never been cancelled come back soon

    • rudy panucci

      The Monster High webseries on YouTube has never been cancelled. In fact, it was updated with new episodes just last week. However, there have been no new toys delivered to stores in the US and UK for over a year, all of the Monster High dolls on the Mattel website are listed as unavailable from them, and it looks like the last few toys that had been designed, back in 2017, were only sold in France. Plus the creator of Monster High, Garett Sander, quit working for Mattel and moved to Australia last summer.

      I would not be surprised if Mattel does bring Monster High back someday, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Last year they dropped everything but Barbie, and Barbie sales increased dramatically.

      However, take a look at what’s happening with Masters of the Universe. Mattel owns it, like they own Monster High, but they’re only making Mega Construx toys based on it. Meanwhile they’ve licensed He Man out to be made into Action Figures by Super 7 and other companies. It’s possible that a company could approach Mattel and license the rights to revive Monster High.

      We’ll have an update on Mattel sometime this week, after they have their blogger breakfast Monday morning.

  23. Brianna

    I love Monster Highs since i was like 5 now I am 13 and i have all the movies, but not all the dolls and it will be sad if i don’t get all the dolls. To remember all of them.

  24. Sandra

    I believe this is a freakin rip off. I spent $3,000 on all of the monster high dolls available and what did I get? Trash, thats what I got. I am a 35 year old woman and I wanted to spend my free playing with dolls

  25. Mochi

    I’m actually crying right now-
    Why did they have to discontinueee DX

  26. Alice Blade

    So I am a 13 year old girl, and fell in love with Monster high just 7 years ago. I introduced it to my friend and we had the best time. We would always have sleepovers and watch the new movies. When we saw the rebooted movie, honestly, I cried. The new reboots are so ugly and creepy, they have no articulation, and just weren’t interested in them anymore. A few weeks ago I bought an old Lagoona, and a rebooted Lagoona. The difference was… unbelievable. The reboots have wider hips, disproportional features, HUGE eyes, and creepy smiles. The old monster high dolls seemed more detailed, more accurate feature wise, higher quality, and more appealing to the eye (ha). I paid at least $40 for the old doll and $15 for the reboot. People more clearly prefer the old versions. Mattel, please bring back Monster High. Bring back the old dolls and better movies. Bring back my childhood.

  27. Leah Brash

    Reading the amount of comments and also this whole article really does get me… when I was like 3 or 4 I was taken to a toy shop to grab any doll I wanted (as a birthday present). When I first saw all the dolls just stacked so neatly, the designs were gorgeous and everything. My younger brain just went crazy for the dolls and year after year I collected a bunch of dolls with my sister but seeking as they just mysteriously decided “hey no one wants these right, Tim?” “Naaaaah, we can just stop selling em’ ” it breaks a child’s mind to be honest with ya. I use to buy them from ToysRUs but they stopped in business and my dad just thought I was fine with a big pile of dolls. This was fine with me until he started to sell every single one. Nowadays I’m just sad I didn’t keep atleast one so I ordered one of eBay. Please bring back the movie’s and dolls Mattel, there is a new generation waiting for them back!!!!! >;/

  28. Arica

    Mattel pls give us are monsters back I’m so sad I’ve been playing with them since I was five pls now I’m eleven. I really want them back even bad quality. I got so sad I thought about remaking monster high my self pls we need to revive MONSTER HIGH MY INSTAGRAM fragile_me19 My yt fragile D

  29. Arica

    I really hope this is one of those Better toy come backs for more money cause every one sad

  30. Jayden

    Dang, I’m glad that the ten year old me collected 60+ dolls (yes really I was a huge fan). and I haven’t sold them yet.

  31. Peggy

    I bought 20 MH dolls at a garage sale ,without their box/bubble pack, but miraculously, with shoes and outfits. I have been selling them out of my booth at an antique mall. I love the concept. Most fun dolls ever . So look around local antique and collectible malls and flea markets.

  32. Janet

    I’m so sad to hear this, as a doll re painter I absolutely love the monster high molds. I hate barbies, and ever after highs face molds annoy me but still like their bodies. Monster High Dolls were perfect for my works. Now idk what dolls i’d wanna use if they stop selling dolls, granted I mostly buy used dolls to leave the shiny new rare stuff for collectors but I dislike the new dolls because they dont have functional joints for the arms and legs. Its so hard to pose them when theyre set in the molds original pose. So I think if they stopped making the dolls less quality and back to the old molds more people would buy them. As for the new animation i like it, but i dislike how they did away with characters and changed the whole plot. Animations fine imo, story line is bad its like they stopped caring. Which once again said because I ontop of using the dolls loved the short episodes and movies. I really hope they continue to make their dolls because I dont know any other dolls with such good molds

  33. Kyra

    I love monster high dolls and movies bring them back or else I will find u

  34. Kyra Wentzlaff

    I wish monster high would come back, I miss them so much

  35. Erika

    I’m heartbroken
    Have a few comic con limited edition and a few OG dolls…so heartbreaking. Wished it never discontinued- loved the old design not the updated one, they lost me when they started making the dolls unrecognizable.

  36. Ernest

    So saddened that MH has had so, so much of its funding pulled :”( hoping so hard that it could get picked up for another movie or doll line in the older style since that’s what people respond to. The changes they made are not all welcome but they aren’t all bad ! The new movie art style isn’t really so much the problem as it is the drastic plot changes that confuse the whole basis for MH

  37. sammy

    im so mad they cancled MH i loved im 11 now and i was about 3-4 when i found it and i LOVED it i had a bunch of dolls but my lil sis destroyed them while i was at school and lost the clothes and shoes i had a really big playset of the MH highshool and i loved them so much i hope they bring them back or another company buys monster high and fis the face when u look at the face u forst see savage fashonista then u see the shy girl at school that lets people take advantage of her they are ugly and need fixing i would do something if i could but however im a broke loser who has to threaten people at school just so they will leave meh alone and MH is what keeps my spirits up and no matter how old i get i will always love toys dolls and little kid cartoons

  38. Voodoo Stein

    I think that monster high had a long run. Though despite the reboot, I pretty much enjoyed all the episodes and the movies in total. I hope Mattel will put Monster High back on their list. If anyone wants to sign a petition to save monster high, I will leave a link. http://chng.it/BgVNkgrr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2022 PopCult

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑