BURBANK, CALIF. - Warner Bros. wants a piece of the $18.7 billion toy market. The Burbank-based company, best known for movie making, is starting a Warner Bros. Toys unit within its Consumer Products Division.
To head the unit, the company recently hired Ron Hayes, formerly with Kenner Toys in Cincinnati, where he was vice president of design and development for boys' toys.
The Toy Manufacturer's Association valued 1994 shipments of boys' action toys at $949 million, up 33.9 percent from 1993.
Hayes is now senior vice president of Acme Design and Development at Warner Bros. The company plans to open offices in Burbank and Cincinnati.
Warner Bros. spokeswoman Monica Bouldin said the first toys will come out in 1996, but the company has not determined what those will be. She said Warner Bros. Toys is a design, development and marketing company. Manufacturing, including plastic molding, will be outsourced to other companies, she said.
Several toy makers, including Kenner, have been partners with the studio on several licensed character products such as the Batman series of toys. Another toy maker, Tyco Toys, is the licensee for the studio's Looney Tunes characters.
Dan Romanelli, president of Warner Bros., said the company will continue to work with toy licensees.
``We're not doing this to compete with toy companies,'' he said. ``We're doing this to protect our property. We will continue to be in business with Kenner and Tyco Toys.''