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Why Power Rangers has changed hands in astonishing deal

It's garish, looks cheaply produced, the stunts are preposterous and the scripts are ludicrously silly, to put it mildly.
Yet the Power Rangers superhero franchise has just changed hands for an astonishing $520m (€382m).
The franchise is being sold by entrepreneur Haim Saban, who created it 25 years ago, to Hasbro, the world's biggest toymaker, as part of a cash-and-shares deal that includes a number of other children's toy and TV characters including My Pet Monster, Popples, Julius Jr, Luna Petunia and Treehouse Detectives.The move comes as Hasbro, which was badly scarred by the recent collapse of retail giant Toys R Us, increasingly seeks to drive its toy sales by diversifying into children's television.Other franchises and characters it already owns include My Little Pony and The Transformers, while another lucrative property is the Monopoly board game, which has been turned into a huge global brand since Hasbro bought it from the UK printing and packaging company Waddingtons back in 1994.
Why Power Rangers has changed hands in astonishing deal

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A Power Rangers movie was released a year ago
But the Power Rangers deal is arguably Hasbro's most eye-catching yet.It's also the latest twist in the history of what has proved to be an enduring kids TV favourite.Mr Saban came up with the idea following a trip to Japan in the 1980s, where he saw Super Sentai, a popular local superhero series that had been running since the 1970s.He spotted the potential for its over-the-top, schlocky style to be adapted for western audiences and with his business partner Shuki Levy came up with a concept called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.The idea of a group of teenagers who 'morph' into superheroes was rejected over several years by a number of US TV networks until, in 1993, Fox offered it a short run on the Fox Children's Network. It was an immediate smash hit.In 2001, Mr Saban sold the franchise to Disney as part of a wider $3.2bn deal, resulting in the show being screened on ABC Kids from 2003 onwards. But when Disney bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009, bringing it a whole stable of other superhero characters, Mr Saban bought back the Power Rangers franchise for just $43m.A new series was produced for Nickelodeon in 2011 and several more have followed, under various guises, including Power Rangers Megaforce and Power Rangers Dino Charge.
There have also been three feature films featuring characters from the series, the latest of which, Saban's Power Rangers, was released last year, grossing $142m worldwide.
Why Power Rangers has changed hands in astonishing deal

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Power Rangers have been aimed at making the superhero concept less frightening for small children
The toys are not cheap: the Argos website was this afternoon offering a Power Rangers Ninja Steel Lion Fire Megazord Playset for €120.The franchise has made Mr Saban, a major donor to the Democrats who hosted a fundraising event attended by Barack Obama at his home in the run-up to the 2012 US presidential election, one of Hollywood's wealthiest and most powerful figures.The appeal of the show was summed up by Brian Casentini, senior vice-president of Saban Brands, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter in 2014: "These are in a full costume, including a helmet."It's far easier for a child to project themselves into that costume and imagine themselves as a Power Ranger than it is with Superman."It's something that a young child can watch and not be frightened of. The monsters are wackier, they're in rubber costumes, it's not as threatening as some of the older superhero shows. We do that by design."We can't fight the natural progression that occurs with a child. What we can do is try to tell stories that resonate as old as we can get. Our core audience is 4 to 8 and then they graduate and move on. Power Rangers fundamentally remains every child's entry point into the superhero genre."Mr Saban will remain as a consultant to Hasbro and the deal, which is expected to complete next month, will see the first Power Rangers toys devised by Hasbro going on sale early next year based on the 26th series - Power Rangers Beast Morphers.In February this year, Hasbro signed a deal with Mr Saban to take over the master toy license for Power Rangers, but quickly realised the potential for a wider deal involving digital games, all characters, naming rights and past series of the show.
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Mr Saban said on Tuesday: "25 years after launching Power Rangers, I believe the future for this brand has never been greater."It looks as if the teenage superheroes and their monstrous rubber-suited rivals will be around for some years to come.
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