Coming soon to a toy store and theater near you
Movies are expected to generate $1 billion in merchandising this year, according to Time To Play Magazine, so you can bet your Buzz Lightyear that studios and toymakers are going full-throttle for the summer popcorn season.
The Time to Play Spring Showcase in New York City this week highlighted the matinee-manufactured inventory. It doesn't matter that some films might be PG and out of reach for the young. The kind folks in the toy industry have made sure your little ones can still nag you to buy the tie-ins. Since everyone's a critic, you be the judge of whether they're worth the nagging.
"We'll see affordable movie-themed toys available across all categories of products, from action figures, child-sized role-play, games and more," Adrienne Appell, a Toy Industry Association spokeswoman, told WalletPop.
"Toy Story 3" has astronomical expectations beyond the cineplex. You can get a remote-control Buzz Lightyear robot ($79.99) that performs 1,000 moves and speaks phrases in Spanish (as happens in the movie). At the other end of the spectrum are plush toys, including Woody ($12.99). Lego is introducing a build-it Western train ($79.99) from the film and a smaller one ($34.99) for younger engineers. The Buzz Lightyear Wing Pack ($49.95)) makes flying noises as your child sways around the room. The Buzz Blaster Tilt Action Video Game ($17.49) also doubles as a laser gun. All are available in May in advance of the June 18 release.
Your children were a twinkle in your prepubescent eye when "The A-Team" premiered on TV in 1983. But those fab soldiers of fortune are banking on finding a 21st century clientele to celebrate their movie version (June 11). Twelve-inch ($24.99) and mini ($6.99) figures of Hannibal, Faceman, B.A. and Murdock can ride shotgun in the A-Team van ($29.99).
The longer dolls spout catch-phrases such as "I pity the fool!" Items sold separately, but one rep told WalletPop that Amazon will be offering a combo deal when the stuff is made available in late May.
"Iron-Man 2" merch has already hit shelves because the film opens May 7, but it still attracted plenty of attention at the convention. Action figures ($7.99) and the magnetic-fastening arc light ($7.99) that powers the superhero's chi occupy the low end, while the iconic helmet ($34.99) takes the high end. "We have a long history with masks," Jeff Jackson, Hasbro's VP of marketing in the U.S., told WalletPop."It's an affordable experience for kids."
Dolls from "Eclipse" in the "Twilight Saga" were not ready yet, Time to Play officials said. The movie opens June 30, so WalletPop figures the prototypes and lines will be rolling soon. Or else there will be blood.
The first installment of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is scheduled to premiere in November, but Lego was showing off its summer/fall rollout of Harry-ana. An xBox 360 video game titled "Harry Potter Years 1-4" ($39.99), in which users can build their own virtual Lego-style Hogwarts universe with little Lego-ized Harry, Ron and Hermione, comes out June 29. A build-your-own Harry Potter board game ($24.99) and the castle set ($129.99) follow later in the summer and early October.
It's going to be a long movie season -- in theaters and on store shelves. Everyone from Hollywood to Mattel is doing their darndest to get your ticket and action-figure dollar. As that noted forecaster Buzz Lightyear says, the revenue projections are "to infinity and beyond!"