As a big action figure collector and fan of the Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy films, the toys based off of the movies were always a great source of excitement for me. 1999 saw Toy Island Re-Animate The Mummy with an expansive and fun toy line and 2001 saw Jakks Pacific land the license for The Mummy Returns. Learning about The Mummy Returns action figures by Jakks in the pages of Wizard’s ‘ToyFare’ magazine in February, the two to three month wait is something I won’t forget. Especially for how underwhelming it felt.
Toy Island’s The Mummy line offered several action figures, with variations of Imhotep and Rick O’ Connell. We also got three playsets and two electronic 12″ figures. When ToyFare magazine (Wizard’s annual Toy Fair themed issue) revealed the first look at Jakks The Mummy Returns action figures, I was excited to see we’d be getting more figures but a little underwhelmed that there were only five figures planned. A few months would pass and when my parents and I finally found them at our local Toys R Us? Only three figures were on the shelf?? What a let down.
Jakks Pacific offered a line for The Mummy Returns that while true to their original press release, dated 2/9/01, didn’t offer a line nearly as fun as Toy Island’s and wasn’t filled with “playsets” and “accessories.” As it would turn out, all Jakks Pacific would release would be:
- Sword Fighting Rick O’ Connell
- The Scorpion King
- The Scorpion King/The Rock – Rock Solid two-pack.
Learning from their mistake (or at least the way I saw it), 2004’s Van Helsing toy line by Jakks was so much better!
Jakks Pacific The Mummy Returns toy line was disappointing for a few reasons. While the sculpts were okay (O’ Connell didn’t look like Brendan Fraser), articulation was alright and the figures bordered on more collectible based than being an actual toy like the 1999 line. It also was disappointing that we never got an actual Scorpion King figure as he appeared during the finale as half-man/half-scorpion.
As Jakks Pacific at the time was known for their great WWF/WWE action figures, obtaining a movie license presented an opportunity that I don’t believe they were ready for. However 2004’s Van Helsing was much better, a lot more fun, and one of my personal favorite of toy lines for that year. Too bad the figures and film didn’t fare better.
For any interest, check out the original Jakks Pacific press release for their The Mummy Returns line below.
JAKKS Pacific Rises From the Tomb of ”The Mummy Returns” as Toy Licensee; Line of Action Figures to Include Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson as the Mummy’s Scorpion King MALIBU, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 9, 2001–JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK) today announced that the Company has signed on as a toy licensee for Universal Pictures’ and Alphaville Productions’ “The Mummy Returns,” the sequel to the worldwide box office hit “The Mummy.”
The film is scheduled for release on May 4, 2001. JAKKS Pacific will create a line of action figures play-sets and accessories based on the characters and story lines from the film. These new action figures are expected to be available at mass-market and specialty retailers nationwide in Spring 2001 and it is currently anticipated that the line will include:
● Sword Fighting Rick O’Connell ● Rick O’Connell with pygmy mummy
● — Imhotep — The Mummy
● Mortal Scorpion King
“JAKKS Pacific is one of the industry leaders in action figures,” said Elliot Lederman, vice president, licensing and toys, USCPG. “Their innovative scanning technology enables them to replicate remarkable life-like toys. We are very excited about ‘The Mummy Returns,’ with its original cast returning in addition to the new characters including The Rock as The Scorpion King, the Annubis Warriors and the pygmy mummies, and we anticipate that JAKKS will create an awesome line of toys that will appeal to both boys and collectors.”
“We are truly thrilled to be working with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group on ‘The Mummy Returns,’ said Jamie Wood, senior vice president Action Toys, JAKKS Pacific. “Given the original ‘Mummy’ movie’s huge success world-wide and with our experience creating action figures, we are optimistic that our toy line based on the property will be well received at retail.”
Brendan Fraser reprises his role in “The Mummy Returns” as adventurer Rick O’Connell and is joined by returning co-stars Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr and Patricia Velasquez. They are joined by newcomer Freddie Boath and WWF superstar The Rock as The Scorpion King. The new film is again written and directed by Stephen Sommers and produced by James Jacks and Sean Daniel.
“The Mummy Returns” is set in 1935, 10 years after the events of the first film. Rick O’Connell (Fraser) is now married to Evelyn (Weisz), and the couple have settled in London, where they are raising their 9-year-old son Alex (played by screen newcomer Freddie Boath).
When a chain of events finds the corpse of Imhotep (Vosloo) resurrected in the British Museum, The Mummy Imhotep walks the earth once more, determined to fulfill his quest for immortality. But another force has also been set loose in the world…one born of the darkest rituals of ancient Egyptian mysticism, and even more powerful than Imhotep. When these two forces clash, the fate of the world will hang in the balance, sending the O’Connells on a desperate race to save the world from unspeakable evil and rescue their son before it is too late.
Released on May 7, 1999, to a record-breaking opening weekend gross of $43.36 million, “The Mummy” has taken in more than $414 million worldwide to date, making it the 8th biggest hit of 1999, ranking 31st on the list of all-time box office champs. “The Mummy” has demonstrated terrific longevity and continues to perform exceptionally well on home video and DVD. “The Mummy” was the top-selling live home video action title of 1999, debuting at the top of the Billboard sales charts, where it held the number one spot for three consecutive weeks. In addition, “The Mummy” was the second best-selling DVD title of 1999, shipping more than one million units.
JAKKS Pacific is a multi-brand toy company that designs, develops, produces and markets toys and related products under various brand names (including Flying Colors(R), Road Champs(R), Remco(R), Child Guidance(R), Color Club(R), and Pentech(R)) in multiple product categories, including Wheels, Action Figures, Crafts/Activities/Stationery, Infant/Pre-School, Trading Cards/Games, Plush, and Dolls. The Company also participates in a joint venture that has exclusive worldwide rights to publish and market World Wrestling Federation(R) (WWF) video games. Visit www.jakkspacific.com.
“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This news release contains forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect the current views of the Company with respect to future events and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual future results or events may vary materially from those described herein.
A note to parents: “The Mummy” films are rated PG-13. Consult www.filmratings.com for further information.
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is a unit of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com), a part of CANAL+, the TV and Film division of Vivendi Universal, a new global leader in media and communications.
Visit the JAKKS Pacific Showroom at the New York International Toy Fair — 200 Fifth Avenue, Room 1034.
Do you have any of the Jakks Pacific The Mummy Returns action figures? Do you remember when these were in stores? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for more “March of Mummies” coverage.
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)