Spielwarenmesse: Movie mania: License highlights for the toy industry

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Kinolizenzen wie Spiderman und Paw Patrol sind Umsatzbringer für den Spielwarenhandel.


Movie mania: License highlights for the toy industry

from Spielwarenmesse eG

The whole business of licensing is often a bit of a gamble for toy manufacturers – bet on the right theme and you can really hit the jackpot. Movies are a great source of inspiration and their popularity determines the success and failure of licensed products. The outlook for the months ahead is promising, with many familiar characters vying for children’s affections.

Blockbusters stimulate merchandising

“Frozen” has achieved what many licensors dream of: although the movie is now four years old, it still regularly tops global rankings of the most popular licenses for girls. The associated product range is enormous – a true jackpot! But a new blockbuster does not automatically guarantee a successful merchandising machine. Perhaps this is why even the major studios are opting to “play it safe” and bring familiar characters back to the big screen.

Upcoming Sequels

Playmobil presented a dinosaur playing set at Spielwarenmesse® 2018.
Dinosaur playing set by Playmobil.

There is a whole raft of sequels coming in 2018, including the next instalment of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (Warner Bros.), “Jurassic World 2” (Universal Pictures), “Hotel Transylvania 3” (Sony Pictures) and “Sherlock Gnomes” (Paramount Pictures), to name just a few.

However, the biggest of them all will be “Mary Poppins Returns”, due to be released by Disney in time for Christmas 2018. Emily Blunt will take on the title role in this sequel to the 1964 film. Dick Van Dyke will be the only actor from the original movie to make an appearance, this time as Mr Dawes Jr. The most famous nanny in the world holds an appeal for entire generations and the effects on the licensing world are awaited with excitement.

Heroic performances

Ravensburger Spieleverlag publishe a Star Wars puzzle for fans..
Star Wars Puzzle by Ravensburger.

The cinematic superheroes from which Disney and Warner Bros. have been reaping rewards also come with sure-fire marketing potential for the toy sector. Disney opened the year with “Black Panther”. “Avengers 3: Infinity War – Part 1” with its star-studded cast promises to be the biggest spectacle so far, with all previous storylines set to converge. “Captain M

arvel” is also due to make an appearance, this time with a female superhero in the main role in a Marvel movie for the first time.Never one to shirk from a fight, Warner Bros. is throwing its DC Comics giants into the mix and plans to release “Aquaman” in December 2018. The fictitious comic character

of the same name is one of the founding members of the so-called Justice League of America. He will be played by Jason Momoa, who has already cameoed as Aquaman in various DC Comics movies.Heroic amounts have also been generated through Star Wars, still the most coveted toy licence. The eighth instalment – “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – and the as-yet untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film, which chronicles the early adventures of this roguish space cowboy, will provide new material.

From toy to cinema hit

Barbie will be the protagonist in a live-action film in 2020.
Barbie will be the protagonist in a live-action film in 2020.

Besides Disney, dedicated toy manufacturers often take their fate into their own hands when it comes to licensing and produce their own blockbusters with their most popular toys. The latest example is “My Little Pony: The Movie” from Hasbro. The toy maker has now seriously cranked up the merchandising machine behind this franchise, first launched in the eighties. The product range includes Hasbro toys and licensing partners add costumes, make-up for children and even a dedicated shoe collection.

Hasbro has also announced a new season of the TV series, a DVD of the movie and regular events which will encourage fans to delve ever deeper into the brand. Competitor Mattel is expected to present Barbie in her first ever live-action film in 2020. The protagonist will be different from the Barbieland inhabitants and gets to make a positive difference in the real world through her otherness.

To be continued...

The clearer the messages and values conveyed in the movies, the better the chances of having profitable licensed products. Trust also plays a key role and this is usually built up through long-term association. The movers and shakers of the film world are also conscious of this and are putting their cards on the table for 2019.

Already announced are, for example, “Pets 2” (Universal Pictures), “How to Train Your Dragon 3” (DreamWorks Animation), “Wreck-It Ralph 2” and “Toy Story 4” (both Disney). Last, but not least, all “Frozen” fans have reason to be cheerful as well. The long-awaited sequel is due to hit cinemas in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Celebrating an anniversary with a film release

Sony Pictures plans to release “The Angry Birds Movie 2” on 20 September 2019 to mark precisely the tenth anniversary of the game of the same name. The Simpsons will also celebrate their 30th anniversary, with a second film announced for 2020. We will have to wait and see which blockbusters are the first ones to hit the jackpot over the months ahead and show the biggest licensing potential. Because, as always, these things are never set in stone.

Upcoming releases for the United States in 2018

2018 Movie release Distributor
27. April Avengers 3: Infinity War Walt Disney
23. March Sherlock Gnomes Paramount Pictures
25. May Solo: A Star Wars Story Walt Disney
22. June Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Universal Pictures,
13. July Hotel Transylvania 3 Sony Pictures
21. November Ralph Breaks the Internet - Wreck-It Ralph 2 Walt Disney
25. Dezember Mary Poppins Returns Walt Disney
21. Dezember Aquaman Warner Bros

Upcoming releases for the United States in 2019

2019 Movie release Distributor
01. March How to Train Your Dragon 3 DreamWorks Animation
08. March Captain Marvel Walt Disney
04. July Pets 2 Universal Pictures
20. September The Angry Birds Movie 2 Sony Pictures
03. October Toy Story 4 Walt Disney
27. November Frozen 2 Walt Disney

All other countries find the movies release dates for their country at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

This and many more articles worth reading are part of the print magazine Spirit of Play of the Spielwarenmesse®.


Author of this article:

Spielwarenmesse eG

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