A movie franchise can’t be released these days without a toy licensing agreement. Having a whole host of toys and merchandise available alongside the film has become a fundamental part of film marketing. Star Wars, one of the first franchises to see the opportunity for merchandising all types of products and licensing action figures, arguably started this whole phenomenon.
• When the original film was released the initial demand for Star Wars toys was so great that stock sold out unbelievably quickly
• …and still weren’t restocked in time for Christmas!
• Since 1977, more than $20 billion worth of licensed products have been sold
• Disney has sold 10 million lightsabers since 2012
In more recent years, we have seen Star Wars toys dominate the top Christmas toys wishlist, reaching out to a whole new generation of fans. Movie tie-ins seemed to have become a sure-fire win for brands and reliable sources of sales in an otherwise uncertain time, but recent figures show that nothing lasts forever.
Increasing competition from other movie franchises and comic book heroes and possible film fatigue means that action figures aren’t proving as popular as they once were, according to toy company profits reported by Bloomberg.
The force isn’t always strong with Hasbro
Toy company Hasbro has the primary Star Wars toy partnership and enjoyed much success when ‘The Force Awakens’ was released. The hype and excitement about the start of this new era of Star Wars had fans beside themselves with excitement, leading to an extraordinary demand for anything Star Wars they could get their hands on. Liking a sci-fi fantasy film seemed to become cool.
However, launching three (soon to be four) Star Wars films since 2015, may have over done it. Not to mention the recent closure of Toys R Us – a key seller for Hasbro – undoubtedly impacting sales, particularly in the UK.
Hasbro had a disappointing Christmas period as a result and customers seemed to lose interest. The lack of new iconic characters from ‘The Last Jedi’ to collect meant there wasn’t too much that was new for fans.
With the upcoming spin off ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, interestingly being released in Summer compared to the previous movies which were released around the Christmas period, we’re keen to see how sales perform and how many Star Wars toys end up as ‘must-haves’ on Christmas lists this year.