February 2013 | Vol. XII - No. 2
Movies and Toys 2013
How will movies affect toy sales in 2013?
Movies are big business. Here are the box office estimates over the past few years:
What this chart tells us is that the box office in the United States has been pretty flat to slightly declining for years and that International, which had provided growth since 2009, is now also beginning to stall. In reality, given the fact that ticket prices have had a tendency to move up pretty sharply – partly because of inflation and partly because of the introduction of 3-D movies – the chart above would show a much more negative picture if we measured audience numbers.
Moreover, movie audience demographics also suggest that companies banking on kids watching movies and then asking for the toys may be facing an increasing problem in addition to the fact that overall numbers are declining. According to the Motion Picture Association of America Inc., film audiences broke down by age as follows:
However, movies featured in cinemas nevertheless continue to be a major factor in toy marketing and these are the movies that will define the U.S. toy market this year (please note that most of the synopses are taken from the Internet Movie Database – IMDb):
MOVIES FOR WHICH HASBRO HAS THE RIGHTS:
1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – release 3/29/13 by Paramount – second G.I. Joe Movie
“The G.I. Joe team faces off against Zartan, his accomplices, and the world leaders he has under his influence”2. Iron Man 3 – release 5/3/13 by Buena Vista – third Iron Man Movie
“When Tony Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?”3. Star Trek Into Darkness – release 5/17/13 Paramount – 12th Star Trek Movie
“After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.”4. The Wolverine – release 7/26/13 by Fox – Sixth X-Men Movie
“Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, finds himself in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with a damantium claw as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.”5. Hyperion – release October 2013 by Warner – first movie
“The story is of the pilgrimage of a group of seven to a planet called Hyperion. The narrative is set among an environment of chaos with the entire galaxy going to war. This planet too is threatened by war and is characterized by Time Tombs which are large artifacts moving through time. There exists a guardian of these tombs; a horrific monster called the Shrike”.6. Thor, the Dark World – release 11/8/13 by Buena Vista – second Thor movie
“Thor battles an ancient race of Dark Elves led by the vengeful Malekith who threatens to plunge the universe back into darkness after the events of The Avengers.”
All six movies are action figure orientated just like Hasbro’s offering last year, which included Spiderman and The Avengers. The combined 2012 box office worldwide of all Hasbro movies was US$ 2,566 million and estimated Hasbro sales for them were US$ 520 million. Not including Hyperion which theoretically could be a second Avatar but whose release in 2013 is in doubt, this year’s five movies combined are estimated to reach a box office world wide of US$ 2,590 million with resulting Hasbro sales of US$ 752 million.
MOVIES FOR WHICH MATTEL HAS THE RIGHTS:
1. The Croods – release 3/22/13 by Fox – first Movie
“The Croods is a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world's first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Travelling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures -- and their outlook is changed forever.”2. Man of Steel (Superman) – release 6/14/13 by Warner Brothers – 5th Movie
“An alien infant is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. He sets out to use these abilities to guard his adopted world.”3. Turbo – release 7/19/13 by Fox – first movie
“A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500.”4 Frozen (Snow Queen) – release 11/27/13 by Buena Vista – second movie
“A mountain climber and a young girl named Anna journey through snowy peaks and dangerous cliffs to find the legendary Snow Queen and end the perpetual winter prophecy that has fallen over their kingdom.”
All four movies have therefore a combined worldwide box office expectation of US$ 2,355 million with resulting Mattel sales of US$ 610 million. This compares with the corresponding figures for 2012 – box office of US$ 3,233 million and Mattel sales from the 2012 movies of approximately US$ 580 million.
MOVIES FOR WHICH OTHERS HAVE THE RIGHTS:
There are four more titles that are toy-related –
Monster University by Buena Vista for release on 6/21/13, whose toy license is held by Spinmaster
Pacific Rim by Warner for release on 7/12/13, with toy licensee NECA
Smurfs 2 by Sony/Columbia for release on 7/31/13, whose master toy license is held by Jakks Pacific
The Hobbit by Warner for release on 12/13/13, with the toy licensee being Bridge Direct.
The first three films are good ones, and the toy licensees very respectable companies, but none is likely to upset the apple cart as far as the mainstream toy space is concerned. The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, is a different story. This movie is likely to be a blockbuster like its predecessor The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which had a box office of US$ 940 million in 2012. However, given its very late screening date in the year, The Hobbit is not very likely to have a major impact in 2013.
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Writer's Bio: Lutz Muller is a Swiss who has lived on five continents. In the United States, he was the CEO for four manufacturing companies, including two in the toy industry. Since 2002, he has provided competitive intelligence on the toy and video game market to manufacturers and financial institutions coast-to-coast. He gets his information from his retailer panel, from big-box buyers and his many friends in the industry. If anything happens, he is usually the first to know. Read more on his website at www.klosterstrading.com. Read more articles by this author
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