Spielwarenmesse: Licensing & anni­versaries that will continue to drive products into 2017

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27. December 2016 / Licenses

Licensing & anni­versaries that will continue to drive products into 2017

from Reyne Rice

Over 40 movies are slated for 2017, throughout the entire year, that will appeal to fans of these favorite characters and brands:  superheroes, classic characters, favorite playthings, all with relevant new content for todays’ generations of movie-goers and experience-seeking customers.

The year of 2017 is shaping up to be another substantial year for strong licenses and licensed properties, and brands with multi-generational appeal. There are a number of factors that support this premise. Character licensing is no longer relegated to the merchandising power of toys and games.  Strong theatrical releases, live events and multi-tier tentpole events are driving merchandising dollars into apparel, publishing, sports, entertainment themeparks, and even more branded lifestyle categories. 

For example, it was no coincidence that Pokémon Go attracted a wide swath of the population across multiple age groups. In 2017, the Pokémon brand celebrates their 20th anniversary. Kids who grew up with Pokemon are now young adults, for whom augmented reality treasure hunts were a positive pat-time for Summer 2016. Kids and parents also joined the foot traffic, as tens of millions of people across the globe hunted for the elusive Pokémon characters. Expect more Pokémon news throughout 2017, in new and exciting formats that will continue to break barriers with technology innovations. Promoting inter-generational play, active outdoor activities and the “Gotta Catch Em All “mentality will continue throughout 2017.

Key Anniversaries of brands and movie / tv characters

Property Anniversary Property Owner
In the Night Garden 10 DHX Media
YooHoo & Friends 10 Aurora World/ Mondo TV
Yu-Gi-Oh 15 4K Media
Build A Bear 20 Build-A-Bear
Pokemon 20 The Pokemon Company
TeleTubbies 20 DHX media
Power Rangers 25 Saban
Dragon Ball Z 30 Toie Animation
Care Bears 35 American greetings
Danger Mouse 35 Fremantle
Maya the Bee 40 Studio 100
Star Wars 40 Lucas Ent/ Disney
Thunderbirds 50 ITV Studios
Toie Animation 60 Toie Animation
Mr Potato Head 65 Hasbro
Wonder Woman 75 Marvel/ Disney
Daffy Duck 80 Warner Bros Looney Tunes
Goofy animated character 85 Disney
LEGO 85 Lego
Lincoln Logs 100 Knex
Teddy Bear 115 multiple
Märklin Trains 125 Marklin
Peter Rabbit: Beatrix Potter 150 Sony / Penguin/Beatrix Potter

Other strong cross-generational brands celebrating major milestones include Star Wars 40th anniversary.  Their first action figures for boys were launched in 1977, and stores couldn’t get enough merchandise to meet demand, even then. This dual target audience brand (kids and adults) will be strengthened with another new Star Wars movie, Episode VIII in late 2017, and the Rogue One movie (Holiday 2016) will continue to offer new footage and characters with epic stories in late 2016 and spilling over into 2017.

On a softer side, Care Bears will be celebrating its 35th anniversary with a Fall 2017 movie release. TeleTubbies are back, marking a 20 year anniversary with new TV episodes. Their storyline has been updated for today’s kids by updating the television screen on their tummies with touch-screens. Power Rangers continue to appeal to new fans each year, and will be celebrating 25 years of Power Rangers with their own 2017 movie launch. DragonBall Z (30th) and even Dirty Dancing (30th) will continue to tug at Millennial heart strings, with young adults and new parents remembering their childhood favorites.

With this knowledge of upcoming movies and strong anniversaries, store shelves and online channels will continue to appeal to the dual-target market audiences, and offer an inter-generational connection for the young and the young-at-heart.

Blockbuster movies 2017 with popular license properties

Blockbuster 2017
Title Studio Release Date
The Greatest Showman on Earth 20th Century Fox Jan 2017
Monster Trucks Paramount Feb 2017
LEGO Batman Warner Bros Feb 2017
Beauty & The Beast Disney March 2017
King Arthur; Legends of the Swords Warner Bros March 2017
Smurfs 3: The Lost Village Sony April 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Disney April 2017
Fast 8: Fast & the Furious NBC Universal April 2017
Power Rangers Lionsgate April 2017
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney May 2017
Despicable Me 3 (Minions) Universal June 2017
Wonder Woman Warner Bros June 2017
Transformers 5: The Last Knight Paramount June 2017
Thor Ragnarok Disney July 2017
Cars 3 Disney July 2017
Emoji Movie: Express Yourself Sony Aug 2017
Jumanjii Sony Sept 2017
LEGO Ninjago Warner Bros Sept 2017
Care Bears: The Movie Not yet announced Sept 2017
Justice League Warner Bros Nov 2017
Black Panther Disney Nov 2017
Croods 2 20th Century Fox Dec 2017
Star Wars, Episode VIII Disney Dec 2017

Discover licensed toys from TV series and cinema heroes at the Spielwarenmesse® 2017 and visit the stand of LIMA (Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association) in foyer 12.0. Get more information about the top licenses 2017 on the license day on February 2, 2017 in the Toy Business Forum.You can find the licensing themes at the Spielwarenmesse® 2017 in the LicenseGuide.


Author of this article:

Reyne Rice, Toy Expert, New York

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