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'FREE WILLY' SLATED TO BE STRONG MERCHANDISING HIT

 WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- While "Jurassic Park," the dino-mite adult sci-fi thriller, is already a blockbuster movie hit, the film will be up against some viable company in the juvenile merchandising arena. Warner Bros. is formulating strong merchandising effort for "Free Willy," being touted by insiders as the potential sleeper hit of the summer. The film and its merchandised product are both targeted toward the same audience -- children and families.
 Scheduled for release in July, Warner Bros. "Free Willy" is the story of the friendship between a boy and an Orca whale named Willy. In test screenings, "Free Willy" is getting the highest scores in the studio's test-marketing history.
 Among the 20 "Free Willy" licensees, Dakin Inc., a leading plush marketer, stands to benefit greatly from this summer's predetermined family film classic. Beginning in July, to coincide with the film's release date, "Free Willy" plush characters will be available in retail gift shops nationwide. Dakin captures Willy's wide appeal in five cheerful styles: small, medium, large and jumbo sizes ranging from nine inches to 27 inches, from $12 to $70 retail. Most styles feature a bendable dorsal fin tying into the film's central theme -- in captivity Willy's dorsal is down; free, and the dorsal is up.
 Dakin also features a new concept in puppets. The 16-inch oversized open-mouth body puppet has dual action. You can move his mouth and tail simultaneously, lending additional play value at $30 retail.
 Dakin is a leader in the gift industry, offering classic and licensed plush (stuffed animals) and related gift products. For over 35 years, Dakin has enjoyed overwhelming sustained support with over 350 million pieces sold, totaling more than 2.5 billion dollars in retail sales. Today the San Francisco- and Woodland Hills-based company is still one of the most widely recognized brand names, distributing products to over 50,000 accounts.
 -0- 6/24/93
 /CONTACT: Monica Stange-Cristante of Dakin, 818-340-5800; or Cathy Sotir of Cathy Sotir Associates, 415-571-1771, for Dakin/


CO: Dakin Inc.; Warner Bros. ST: California IN: REA ENT SU:

GT-SG -- SF004 -- 5255 06/24/93 11:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 1993
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