Jakks Pacific was founded in 1995 by Jack Friedman. Friedman previously founded LJN and THQ, two companies now defunct, but in their time were intrinsically linked with entertainment and wrestling, Jakks Pacific shared this focus.
They were in fourth place behind Mattel, Hasbro and RC2, a division of Takara Tomy in the toys and leisure products sector of the USA.
The company is currently run by co-founder Stephen G. Berman who ascended to the role of chief executive officer shortly before Jack Friedman passed away in 2010 aged 70.
From their website: JAKKS’ diverse portfolio includes Action Figures, Electronics, Dolls, Dress-Up, Role Play, Halloween Costumes, Kids Furniture, Vehicles, Plush, Art Activity Kits, Seasonal Products, Infant/Pre-School, Construction Toys, Ride-On Vehicles, Wagons, Inflatable Environments and Tents, Pet Products and Impulse Toys (which I found out today means tactile, often noisy little gadgets.)
JAKKS is an award-winning licensee of several hundred nationally and internationally known trademarks including Nickelodeon®, Warner Bros.®, Ultimate Fighting Championship®, Hello Kitty®, Graco® and Cabbage Patch Kids®
Their history is a series of acquisitions of smaller toy and entertainment companies, adding to their strength, scope and range. In 1997 they acquired Remco, Child Guidance and Road Champions, then in 1999 Berk and Flying Colors, in 2000 Pentech, 2002 Toymax, Go Fly A Kite and Funnoodle, 2003 Color Workshop and Trendmasters, and 2004 to 2006 they acquired Play Along Toys, Pet Pal Corp and Creative Designs International and in 2008 Kids Only Toys, Tollytots and Disguise.
Now, on the Action Figure front they have been mostly focused on sports entertainment tie ins such as…
They have also produced figure lines from the coveted
And recently action figures based on Men in Black 3 and The Dark Knight Rises movies, this last one being particularly of note since Mattel bring most of the DC comics figures to market.
Plug and Play is a series of video game peripherals that attach directly to your TV and play a set of pre-loaded games.
Other brands licensed to JAKKS Pacific for toy production include:
They are best known among collectors as the manufacturer who first started producing serious lines of wrestling action figures. Boasting both increasingly intricate and lifelike sculpts as well as superb levels of articulation these became the gold standard to which other wrestling figures were compared.
They launched in the middle of the Attitude Era with the Titan Tron Survivor Series. This was followed by Smackdown, Classic Superstars, Ruthless Aggression, Adrenaline and Deluxe Aggression. The thing about these lines was the sheer number of wrestlers that came in different costumes with new advances in facial rendering, which meant that the lines could go on for series after series with seemingly no drop in interest.
Ruthless Aggression for example ran for 42 series with an average of six figures per assortment, comprising something like 346 figures total. Numbers like these are common among sporting figure enthusiasts as, unlike movie licenses, the players run their course but the sport just keeps on going. Also like sports, fans will always want updated versions of their favourite stars.
Jakks held the WWE license until 2008 when it was awarded to Mattel who have taken their cues from Jakks to ensure fan satisfaction. Jakks continues to market TNA, UFC and New Japan Pro Wrestling figure lines and they remain a confident and committed toy company.