Looking For Action? Top Selling Action
Figures for 2003
By Tamara Schuit
In his blue tights and red cape, Superman looks positively tame compared
to today’s action figures. Gritty, detailed and lifelike, with a full-range
of motion in their shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, the new breed of
action figures are equally at home in a play room or copping a pose next
to your computer.
Action figures’ recent surge in popularity can be largely attributed to
companies like McFarlane Toys, Toy Biz,
Art Asylum, and DC Direct – each proving
that what can be imagined, can be created in plastic. But what drives
today’s consumer to rush to the local toy or comic store when a new figure
“People in today’s society like to identify with things,” said Ken Reinstein,
public relations director of The McFarlane Companies.
“It can be something that they remember from their childhood, a favorite
sports or movie personality, a movie that they enjoyed, or they just like
the look of the action figure.”
Nowhere does this seem to be truer than with J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic
The Lord of the Rings. Selling steadily since its original release,
the book has become a cult classic of worldwide proportions. When the
stories leapt from the pages onto the big screen, Frodo, Gandalf and the
rest of the cast became the number one seller at toy and comic stores.
Lord of the Rings
“We can’t keep the shelves stocked fast enough,” said Carla Hewitt of
Metro Entertainment, a comic and collectible store in
Santa Barbara, California. “If you want one of these figures you have
to get on our waitlist like everyone else.” When asked what their top
sellers were besides Lord of the Rings, Hewitt’s
eyes closed for a moment in thought. “Your standards – Transformers,
He-Man, Spawn, Spiderman
and Dragon Ball Z – repeatedly sell out.”
The response is similar for both neighborhood stores and online retailers.
So let’s break down the top selling action figures for the first quarter
of 2003. All prices listed are estimated retail.
Rounding out the top sellers (in no particular order):
Lord of the Rings
1. Topping the list is Lord of the Rings, The
Two Towers, by Toy Biz (ToyDirectory).
Available are 6-inch ($9.99) and 12-inch collectible figures with authentic
fabric costumes ($22.99). Also available are the deluxe horse and rider
sets (retail $19.99).
2. Master of the Universe Heroic Warriors by Mattel.
These classic action figures have a new look for 2003 and include deluxe
figure assortments, such as Smash Blade He-Man ($9.99) as well as vehicles
and play sets.
3. Spawn Reborn and Series 23: Mutations (6"
figures) by McFarlane Toys ($9.99).
Spiderman Movie Series
4. Spiderman Movie Series by Toy Biz.
Series 3 includes new play sets, vehicles and figures such as Wrestler
Spiderman ($14.95) and Drop and Crawl Spiderman ($11.99).
5. Transformers by Hasbro. Fans and
collectors are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Unicron ($49.99 est.),
scheduled to be released September 2003. At 16 inches, this will be the
largest Transformer figure ever made. Until then, you can get your hands
on Armada Optimus Prime Semi Truck ($39.99).
Dragon Ball Z
6. Dragon Ball Z from JAKKS Pacific (originally
licensed by Irwin). Figures come in BASIC 5 1/2" ($6.99) and movie
collection figures 9" ($14.99).
The Incredible Hulk
7. The Incredible Hulk by Toy Biz.
Monstrous 6-inch ($8.99) and 13-inch ($10.99) action figures are available.
Additional assortments are scheduled to hit stores in September 2003.
8. Silver Age Batman and Robin and Superman
and Lois Lane Deluxe Sets by DC Direct ($39.00).
Silver Age Batman and Robin
9. Finally, Matrix movie fans have eagerly greeted the release of McFarlane’s
The Matrix Reloaded Series 1 action
figures ($24.99). Figures include: Morpheus, Neo, Neo in Chateau,
Trinity, Twin 1 and Twin 2. In addition, demand is high for the new Terminator
3: Rise of the Machines action figure line from McFarlane. To be
released this in July 2003, the line will feature three T-850 figures
(Schwarzenegger’s character), as well as a 12-inch version with sound
clips from the film. The T-X robots are still being kept under wraps but
are said to include the T-X Terminatrix and T-X Endoskeleton figures.
RANKED ON DOLLARS APRIL, 2003