Parents may soon sense a disturbance in their pocketbooks, as their children begin pestering them for the new toys being launched in advance of the new Star Wars movie.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) knows how to create hype, and rather than simply releasing the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise, the company is making a major event out of it -- bigger than any typical press conference or television special.
In a massive lead-up to what the company is calling Force Friday, Disney will spend nearly an entire day introducing new merchandise on September 3rd, around the world. It's an unprecedented plan set to capitalize on the incredible pent-up demand and anticipation for the film, which continues the adventures of Luke Sykwalker, Han Solo, and a number of other beloved characters.
Chewy, we're home, indeed.
What will the run-up to Force Friday look like?
The company plans to unveil the new The Force Awakens toys in what it's calling "the world's first ever global live toy unboxing event." Taking place over 18 hours in 15 cities and 12 countries, "the event will see highlights from the range of epic merchandise revealed in a rolling New Year's Eve-style celebration featuring top digital stars from the Maker Studios network," the company said in a press release.
"Star Wars toys have always played an important role in how our fans interact with the saga," said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. "They've inspired multiple generations to relive the experience of the movies and to create new adventures all their own. These spectacular Star Wars: The Force Awakens products will continue that tradition."
So, parents (and fanboys like me), not only is Disney going to release a whole bunch of new stuff to drain your wallet, but it's also going to introduce it all in spectacular fashion.
How will it work?
Essentially, Disney will slowly roll the toys and other merchandise out from different locations worldwide, building anticipation until stores begin selling the new items at midnight, right when the calendar moves to Force Friday, September 4th. The festivities kick off in Sydney, Australia, continuing through Asia, Europe, Canada, and North and South America.
And there's more ...
"Over the course of 18 hours, some of Maker Studios' biggest stars will each be unboxing a new toy from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens product line in a different city around the world and sharing the experience live on YouTube," said Leslie Ferraro, president of Disney Consumer Products. "We've seen tremendous excitement for these new products and can't wait to see the global reaction from the Star Wars fan community."
Fans can watch the entire 18-hour affair on the Star Wars YouTube channel, starting with the first "unboxing" in Sydney at 7:45 a.m. local time (5:45 p.m. ET on September 2nd), with the grand finale at Lucasfilm in San Francisco at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday. Each of the 15 locations will reveal a new product inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Disney knows what it's doing
Realistically, Disney could have done absolutely nothing and the interest in the new Stars Wars merchandise would have still been enormous. By turning the release of some toys into a global event, the company is simply feeding the hype machine for what has a chance of being the biggest movie of all time.
The company is also putting its Force Awakens stuff on sale roughly two and half months before the film premieres. That gives parents plenty of time to bring their children -- who may not be Star Wars fans -- into the fold. It's a smart play that could make what will already be a huge opening weekend a truly epic one.
The Force is strong with this one.