Mattel Update – Clarifying 2014 Subs – What Happens if We Don’t Hit The Goal
July 26, 2013

I’m never sure why we have to cover the same ground and ask the same questions year over year with the Mattel subscriptions.   I keep seeing people posting about “scare tactics” and the meter being a “marketing tool.”  The conspiracy theorists are out in full force.  I get fans wanting to know the full line up of the subs each year.  I want to know the full line ups too, but I understand why we don’t get that information from Mattel.   We are so deep into the bench roster on both MOTUC and DCSC that if you show all 12 then everyone starts making the decisions of how many figures are “enough” for you to subscribe?  It’s all the Law of Diminishing Returns and NO ONE is going to be happy with all 12 figures.

These collector lines are unique and aren’t like other lines that are at mass retail.  These are individual adult collector figures, offered on a monthly basis mailed directly to the consumers. And these figures are done in much smaller runs than the stuff you find at mass retail.   No one else is doing this sort of thing.   YES, there have been hiccups, snags and failures along the way.   Yes,  Digital River contributes greatly to the madness.   But at the end of the day most of us love getting new interpertations of these characters done in a 6″ scale by the Four Horsemen.   There are also other actual legitimate logistical reasons for Mattel doing this how they do it.

All this is my long-winded soap box-y way of saying that today Scott “Toy Guru” Neitlich went to the message boards to try to further explain how the sub has to work in order to move forward and what will happen if they don’t meet the minimums for each sub:

MOTU and DCSC fans,

I’ve seen a lot of emails and posts over the last few days about the meter and reaction to my post on Facebook yesterday that we are still tracking below expectations. Let me see if I can clear up some common questions.

1:The meter is 100% accurate. It is not a scare tactic. It was designed as a communication tool to let fans/customers know how close or far we are from the sub happening.

2:If the meter is not hit, what will likely happen is the 4 figures that are already tool’d (the ones revealed at SDCC) will be released quarterly and perhapes an item at SDCC. After that, that will be it. End of story. It is not a scare tactic, it is a truthful statement. MOTUC and in fact everything we do on Matty is a tiny tiny spec for Mattel. We continue to make these great toys because we love our fans, we love these brands and we want to keep them going. But the raw facts are in today’s market we simply can’t keep these high end low run collector lines going with out guaranteed customers. That is why we have the presale sub and the meter to communicate how far along we are.

3:We can’t reveal additional figures simply because we don’t have anyone far enough along to reveal. We can only reveal a figure after an internal milestone called “FPR” (Final product review). We revealed eveything at SDCC that had made it to this stage. Counting the “sneak peaks” at the panel and in the case on Sunday, we’ve revealed 5/12 monthly figures. So customers know about 1/2 of the entire year at this point! The reason we don’t reveal more figures is because we don’t want to show something that might not happen. For example, in the DC brand, a few retail figures were shown at NYTF in Feb. like Damien Wayne and a new Batman Beyond that were canceled. Have you seen the posts about this? The last thing we want to do is reveal a figure that might not happen. That is a lot worse, believe me. That is why we don’t reveal figures that have not made it to FPR stage internally. We don’t want to show something that might not happen or be changed. We need to wait until FPR stage to reveal.

4: A lot of the issues last year like QC and CS have really been tackled head on as promised. Combine that with our sub portal letting you easily change addresses or make adjustments as well as a new quarterly shipping option that will help save on overall shipping. Shipping is an area we just don’t have as much control over, but we are doing everything we can and by offering a hold and ship quarterly option you will be able to save.

5: Again, I know fans want to see the entire year, but this is the 4th or 5th year of doing this.You guys know the drill and as noted above the reasons why we can’t show further figs. They just aren’t far enough along. And really, in today’s market, the customers we need to keep all of the subs (and the Ecto 1) going are customers that are “all in” no matter what. It really shouldn’t matter which figures we are doing, the type of customer needed to keep the line going, the customer that is the life blood of these lines is the type of MOTU (or DC) customer who wants anyone no matter what. In today’s market we just can’t build a line around cherry pickers. Subscribing isn’t just about the bonuses of subing in like the Unnamed One, Early Access or less expensive figureds ($25 vs $27 day of). Sub’ing in is about supporting all of the figures and ensuring the line itself goes forward. The question is do we have enough of this type of customer? I think so! We did in 2011-2013!

6: We have indeed re worked the line up and as seen by our reveals at SDCC 23014 is packed full of A list charcters. No concept figures like the FFM or Vykron. 2014 and ideally 2015 will be all the figs we want to complete the line including vintage MOTU, vintage POP, A list NA figs and A list figs from other media like mini comics or animated series. The SDCC reveals should have confirmed this.

So to wrap up, I promise this is not a scare tactic or a roller coaster ride. The meters are 100% accurate and show the sub in level. Without hitting our goal, likely we will just release the first 4 figures and call it a day.We just can’t keep these lines going without locked in support anymore.

Hope this helps. If anyone is not sub’ing in and you have a sepecific reason, please post here or over in Ask Matty MOTU/DC and I’ll do all I can to address your questions.

Getting 2014 to happen will take all of us and a combined effort. No one wants to see MOTUC go away, but without the min number of sub holders, that is a very realistic possibilty. Not a scare tactic, not a marketing gimick, just us being as open and honest with our customers as possible!

Hope this helps! We can do this! I know we can! If everyone from 2011-2013 subs in we are golden. That is all it takes!


If you’d like to support these lines and buy a subscription or two you can do that here.

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post,,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.





  • Wrenn says:

    I saw this earlier today and I get the hesitation by fans over the DR drama and the blind commitment factor, but look at the last two year of CIE. Both years delivered exactly what Mattel promised they would, expanding teams, C-List characters and fan demanded characters. You can’t please everyone with all 13 figures a year. I couldn’t believe the John Constantine hate in year 1, he was one of my top 5 wants going into the sub. Phantom Stranger, Elongated Man, Metron, Lead and Platinum, these are the kinds of characters the sub was made for. And year 3 looks as strong as ever. If you don’t sub, there’s no more figures. Simple as that! You don’t like the 3 announced figures? There’s 9 more behind them! I get the hesitation, I do, and collecting is costly. But retail is dead, this is the only way to get these style of figures. I’m not too worried about 2014 right now, I expect to see the meter slowly rise until August 19.

    PS: You subbed in Dan?

  • Andy says:

    “We are so deep into the bench roster on both MOTUC and DCSC that if you show all 12 then everyone starts making the decisions of how many figures are “enough” for you to subscribe? It’s all the Law of Diminishing Returns and NO ONE is going to be happy with all 12 figures.”
    “the customers we need to keep all of the subs (and the Ecto 1) going are customers that are “all in” no matter what.”
    “If everyone from 2011-2013 subs in we are golden.”
    The reason the subs are low. People were all in when the characters were higher profile. Now they aren’t

    • For the most part that it true. I thin there are still some B and C listers for MOTUC, but DC it’s harder. It’s easier for MOTU to fun because for the previous years that was the only game in town for MOTUC collectors (now you have some competition from Funko and such). For DC fans there are a billion places fans can spend their DC dollars on every scale from 24″ down to 1″ There are still enough good DC characters to fill out at least one more year (as long as the avoid doing flash-in-the-pan costumes like Red Hood).

    • Joe Acevedo says:

      There are plenty of DC Characters that are still available to make such as; Monarch, Atomic Skull, Doctor Polaris, Doctor Light (both), Granny Goodness and the Female Furies, etc.

      The problem is THERE IS NO MONEY FOR NEW SCULPTS unless we hit tier 2 and wait until the 2015 sub. And yet, if Mattel were to release those figures at Retail in mass numbers, they would have no problem with putting out the money for the new sculpts.

  • Myk says:

    They announced my top 2 in the first 4 figures. I’m getting 2 subs. I have never had problems with Matty or DR for that matter. Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones? I don’t know. I’ll see this thing through to the end. I just hope the end comes later rather than sooner. Come on who doesn’t want that massive Doomsday? Either will do but I really want the non-containment suit ver. Fans unite!! We CAN make this happen.

    P.S. I’m in for that Ecto 1 as well.

  • Joe says:

    As an additional bit of information for DC collectors, (like myself), at SDCC, I walked over to Toy Guru and I believe a lady named Danielle McLachlan after the Mattel/DC Panel and asked them about the future of all the current DC lines.

    It seems the subs will now be the only way we will get any new DCUC styled 6 inch scale figures. TO clarify, there will be no more DC Classics line beyond those shown at SDCC. Even the retail DC Unlimited Line (the one with classic, New 52 designs and Injustice Gods Among Us designs) will be ending in 2013. this is it. The current retail line is DONE, and will be completely replaced by the new, stylized 6 inch DC total Heroes figures we saw at SDCC’s Mattypalooza Panel.

    In Danielle’s words, “I recommend you grab what you see out there while you can because that’s it.” (As far as retail is concerned.)

    Considering the line began way back in 2003 with the Batman line, or even if you just count the 2007 Wave 1 DCUC line, it’s been a pretty good run. And the DC SIGNATURE series on the subs will keep the line going if they get enough support.

    Well, the Batman ’66 line is still new so I’m sure that’s not ending just yet. I hope.

    I’m not too keen about the total heroes line. For starters, I was disappointed that Batman Beyond won the poll. I would have liked Zoom, Blue Beetle or the customizable blank figure over it. The panel had a pretty good number of kids and parents so, naturally, Batman would win.

  • Moneyspider says:

    I had a real problem subbing DC again when there was only one reveal I wanted. I did get the preorders on the others so I went ahead but I will be annoyed if December rolls around and I only have Ice that I wanted to keep.

  • Thomas says:

    In item #3, Scott indicates that 5 out of 12 figures were revealed. I think I only saw 3 figures, plus the exclusive, for the Infinite Earths line. Were there 2 more figures revealed or is this just referring to MOTU?

  • Chris says:

    There was a very quick tease of Scorpia during the panel (they haven’t released that slide and I’ve not seen any pictures but a lot of people confirmed it at and Mattel put out one of Blade’s blades as a teaser on Sunday. So if you count them then that’s 5 of the 12 monthly figures.

  • Chris says:

    Sorry, ignore me, just saw you were asking about Club IE. Pretty sure the 5 figures was just MOTU.

    • Thomas says:

      Thanks, Chris. So, for Club IE, we only know one quarter of the figures that we’ll be getting (as opposed to almost one half of the figures, as Scott says about MOTU). Of the three we know, I want one. So, for me personally, the expectation is that I commit to purchase 12 figures, of which I may only want one. I don’t really care about lead times and line-up changes, this is not a good business model. I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I am leaning toward not subscribing again. If the sub goes through, I’ll try to pick up Ice on sale day. If it doesn’t go through, I won’t have to worry about this every July.

  • demoncat4 says:

    like it or not scott whole message is valid for in this day and age due to costs of things like oil and plastics plus the economy mattel like other business have to make a profit on their stuff that is including the toys. for if the support from collectors are not there to warrent making the figures and since retailers will not go for the subs. scott is right no supoort means no money to go forward to make the figures plus scot revealing everything would be like promising some one something cool on xmas then giving them coal. for scott is just doing his job like or not including stating if no support in the subs mattel can’t spend the money on the figures and still make a profit.

  • noam choseed says:

    I just can’t commit to a lot of figures I don’t care about for one I might. The subscription model just doesn’t work for me. I wish subscribers all the best and hope they get what they want. My friend has several Matty subs and he is very satisfied.

  • Scott Thompson says:

    Not a subscriber to any of the sub packages, but I am an avid Batman / Batman-related collector of figures, vehicles and playsets in all scales, so I am interested in any news that relates to my collection. It’s disappointing to learn that the current 6″ lines are done; I’ve enjoyed the new Batman-related sculpts like the New 52 designs, Injustice Batman and Joker, The Dark Knight Returns Batman, and the Batman of Zurr ‘N Arrgh (spelling unknown).There are so many unique, artistic designs of the character through the decades that have never been presented, not to mention the villains and side characters that have been totally ignored in the 6″ scale (the Ventriloquist and Scarface, Firefly, Hugo Strange, Harvey Bullock, and Jason Todd/Red Hood come to mind)…DC Direct gets a lot of my money with their new versions of Batman characters from the video games – my local comic shop has a hard time keeping them in stock – and part of that success is due to their attention to filling the holes in 6″ collections like mine (the Joker thugs, Deadshot, Zsasz, and Talia come to mind). Here’s an idea, Mattel: you want to have a successful subscription line for collectors? Make it a Batman line; start with a mix of villains and side characters (as mentioned above), and include unique, artist-based Batman designs (look at the DC statue line Batman:Black and White for ideas) – you would have no trouble hitting any goal you might set. I’d wager that there are plenty of Batman collectors looking for these figures, certainly a higher number than the collectors yearning for a 6″ Dr. Polaris.

  • Scott Thompson says:

    Oh, by the way…make a 6″ scale Batcave and/or Wayne Manor playset, similar to the Castle Greyskull, and then imagine the price you would need to make it profitable…got it? Ok, now add $50.00 to that price, and put it for sale on Matty. Done, done, and done.

  • George says:

    I think one of the problems is that Scott is going back on what he said previously regarding the DC sub. He said no reiterations since there were a lot of characters to get to and yet two of the first three reveals are reiterations of characters already made in the line (Hook Hand Aquaman & Superboy). I’m sure he’ll trot out the line that they are “highly demanded figures” but when every figure is a “highly demanded figure” in some circle, that excuse doesn’t wash. I bought the 2014 sub, but I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth anymore. And that’s bad IMO, if the brand manager has no credibility, then that reflects on Mattel. Why should people believe what he says regarding the thermometer (especially when he also said it’s not updated on a daily basis elsewhere)? Everything he says one day, he contradicts himself the next.

  • TwoFisted says:

    I love DC figures…..BUT I’ll be OK with it if the sub dosent happen. I’m one of those people thats a completist and have spent a lot of time and effort hunting down these figures. I was happy to see the DCUC line fade away. I was really happy with just finding a new figure in my mailbox once a month. To me there were more hits than misses when it comes to the overall character selection.

    My only problem with Guru’s statements is him calling the DC sub “high end” collector figures. High end would be figures with a higher level of quality than their retail counterparts. High end would be including accessories. High end would be including extra sets of hands or heads to add value. Sure I subscribed to both years of the DC sub……and i do like them….BUT they are not high end.

    I think one thing we can really learn from all of this is that Mattel still does NOT know how to deliver product to their adult collectors. I dont collect Star Wars figures and I recently stopped buying GI Joes and I dont collect Marvel figures so I’m no expert…but it sure seems that Hasbro knows how to as least keep product on the shelves and at the very least keep things at a constant look and scale that satisfies both kids and adults. It just seems that Mattel is constantly putting out new lines of DC toys in different scales and different designs. The more recent ones seem to be made more for kids than adults. I’m not interested in Mattels new 6 inch line. I cant get into another line thats going to start from square one and put out the same big name characters over and over and over.

    If retail is done….I’m ok with it. If the sub dosent happen, I’m ok with that too. I’ll be glad for a nice break

  • Tom says:

    I think the demand would have been higher if they started each year with a number 1 fan demanded figure. Cause once we get one, we move on to the next one. A real hook.
    Lets be honest. first 3 figures? Batwoman should have been in there. Ras should have been held off for 2014 also, swapping places with Superboy. First 3 figs should be Batwoman, Ice, and Ras.
    I could take or leave Hook Hand Aquaman

  • Erik Erik "Superfriend" Skov says:

    Stoked to see Ice. Concerned that Aquaman and Superboy will be seen as repeats. Loved the reveal of Ocean Master.

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