Star Wars has been one of the most valuable consumer products licenses since before the release of the first movie in 1977. The brand has graced everything from action figures to Legos to lunchboxes to clothing and pretty much any other product you can imagine. This brought billions to licensees like Kenner and then Hasbro as well as former series owner George Lucas. Now that the creator has sold the Star Wars universe to Disney (NYSE:DIS) and a new film is on the way, the Mouse House is set to earn its piece of the merchandising pie.
What: Disney has set Sept. 4 as "Force Friday," according to a press release from today, "a global event for fans of all ages to celebrate the launch of merchandise inspired by the highly anticipated film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens." On that day, toys, collectibles, books, apparel, and more will hit shelves at 12:01 a.m. "with stores around the world opening their doors for a unique celebration of all things Star Wars."
So what: The launch of The Force Awakens -- which is scheduled to hit movie theaters Dec. 18 -- gives Disney a chance to make a brand that has been worth billions in the past relevant to a new generation. Statistic Brain broke down revenues for the franchise and estimated that in the past toy sales alone have been worth around $12 billion.
|Kenner (1978-1985) 90 Figures / 300 Million Sold||
|Hasbro (1995-2011) 15 Collections||
Add in nearly $2 billion in book sales, and over $1.3 billion in other merchandise sold (like the Jar Jar Binks alarm clock and Darth Maul umbrellas) and you can see why this relaunch is a big opportunity for Disney.
Now what: From Sept. 4 on, Disney is not only selling merchandise, it's building anticipation for what could be the biggest movie release of all time. You can even see that as the packaging shown above "highlights the much buzzed about masked villain of the film, Kylo Ren," showing the "ominous shadowy figure and the red lightsaber he wields."
It's an exercise in marketing that kicked off with the film's tantalizing, but not very revealing, trailers and continues with the products.
"Every lightsaber, every action figure, every LEGO set tells a story for generations of Star Wars fans, and this global event is a celebration of those stories. We're excited to be part of the countdown to this enormous movie moment," said Josh Silverman, executive vice president, global licensing, Disney Consumer Products.
The Force could prove very powerful with the release of the new movie touching off not just billions at the box office, but a new generation of kids snapping up action figures, toy lightsabers, Halloween costumes, pajamas, and who knows what else.