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View Full Version : Have toy companies dropped the ball with movie licenses?



General_Grievous
11-11-2005, 12:10 PM
This year, I've noticed that besides the Star Wars line, movie-based action figures are deteriorating fast. Companies don't jump at the opportunities anymore. Allow me to explain with a few of the big movie toy licenses of this year, besides Revenge of the Sith.

Batman Begins
Mattel screwed this line up. The major villain of the movie (Ducard) wasn't even released, as far as I know. I never saw him. Plus like with all the Batman lines, they always have to have 40 different Batmans.

Lord of the Rings
Sure, it's been two years since the last movie came out, but that's no excuse. POTF2 sold well 12 years after ROTJ came out. Only four figures were released this year. We know now that the line is dead, but Toy Biz could have squeezed in a few more figures to round out the year. It was sad to see a great line like this die a long, drawn out death.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Not a single figure is being released for the new movie. Only some Legos and a Trivial Pursuit DVD Game. I'm surprised at this, given at how huge the Harry Potter cash cow is. Kids would buy them. It's really a missed opportunity, but it's Mattel's loss.

King Kong
Have you seen these figures? They suck! They're pieces of crap! This should have gone to Toy Biz. They'd actually know what to do with these. At least the movie should be great.

Chronicles of Narnia
I know they're making statues for this, but other than that, I don't know.


I dread seeing the figures for next year's "Superman Returns" and "X3".

Captain Spoon
11-11-2005, 02:11 PM
They did make a Ducard figure, he started showing up around October, but it dosn't matter he looks like half a kicked in the nuts just like the rest of them.
LOTR does have a sweet Mountain Troll box set thing I scored at Wal*mart, it looks fabulous!!! Also don't forget taht the fantastic Four Figures blew as well

JediTricks
11-11-2005, 02:50 PM
I have the Ducard fig, picked it up at WM last week, it's not that good.

As for the Narnia movie, Hasbro is making figs from them which are already at TRU, and they suck really bad.

I think the problem is 2-fold, first the licenses for these things cost a lot of money which eats into the product itself, and second the toymakers are seeing a lot of kids leaving collecting because the toys aren't "fun" so they try to get them back with crappy gimmicks and other junk which just screws it all up.

Jedibill
11-11-2005, 05:33 PM
and not one Tripod form War of the Worlds

El Chuxter
11-11-2005, 05:50 PM
In a word, yes.

However, the Fantastic Four line, overall, looks to be far better than the film itself.

General_Grievous
11-12-2005, 01:20 PM
Forgot about Fantastic Four. The movie was mediocre, but the line seems to have pretty good likenesses. But all you see are pegwarmers of Thing and Torch.

But I am most surprised about the lack of Harry Potter stuff. Kids love that. Was it because the new movie is rated PG-13?

Yet, as I said before, the new Superman movie line for 2006 will probably blow. Get ready for "X-ray Plasma Shield Night Vision Superman" to rot the pegs next year.

JediTricks
11-12-2005, 02:24 PM
I think it's because Mattel ruined the Harry Potter toy line when they changed the scale in the last movie's line, those were just lame crap and there's no way to go back now.

darthvyn
11-12-2005, 05:30 PM
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Not a single figure is being released for the new movie. Only some Legos and a Trivial Pursuit DVD Game. I'm surprised at this, given at how huge the Harry Potter cash cow is. Kids would buy them. It's really a missed opportunity, but it's Mattel's loss.

i gotta say, i don't fault them for this... the figures seemed to be pegwarmers. i think the lego sets did a lot better than the figures - not undue to the fact that the figures looked pretty horrible. didn't stop me from getting the quidditch match harry for my wife for christmas last year. half price helped that one along, though...

Jedi_Master_Guyute
11-12-2005, 06:14 PM
Lord of the Rings
Sure, it's been two years since the last movie came out, but that's no excuse. POTF2 sold well 12 years after ROTJ came out. Only four figures were released this year. We know now that the line is dead, but Toy Biz could have squeezed in a few more figures to round out the year. It was sad to see a great line like this die a long, drawn out death.

are you freakin' serious?!?! This line was simply AMAZING. Some of the detail on the figures, with their armor and weaponry, was astounding and it put MANY of hte SW figures to shame. and you can't even compare SW toys to LOTR figures. Star Wars has been a cultural FILM icon since the 70's. While, i LOVE LOTR, kids are going to be drawn to a line of figures that has lots of weird looking creatures and characters with lightsabers than a guy with a shield; simple as that. While it was bad to see the line die as it did, I wouldn't say that Toybiz "dropped the ball" on the line as it was simply fantastic during its run! :thumbsup:

El Chuxter
11-13-2005, 10:34 AM
I'm sure Master Guyote will agree with me, but for one brief, shining moment at the end of the Chamber of Secrets line, Mattel enlisted the Four Horsemen to make a couple of truly astounding Harry Potter figures.

Too bad it didn't last.

General_Grievous
11-13-2005, 10:50 AM
are you freakin' serious?!?! This line was simply AMAZING. Some of the detail on the figures, with their armor and weaponry, was astounding and it put MANY of hte SW figures to shame. and you can't even compare SW toys to LOTR figures. Star Wars has been a cultural FILM icon since the 70's. While, i LOVE LOTR, kids are going to be drawn to a line of figures that has lots of weird looking creatures and characters with lightsabers than a guy with a shield; simple as that. While it was bad to see the line die as it did, I wouldn't say that Toybiz "dropped the ball" on the line as it was simply fantastic during its run! :thumbsup:

I know the line was amazing and I'm not knocking it; as I am (or was now) a LOTR collector myself. Toy Biz had a huge fan following with this. All I'm saying is that if they made a few more figures this year to keep the fan base strong, they probably could have lasted till the end of 2006.

And Chux, I'm gonna have to agree with you on those Four Horsemen HP figures. That was the only good to come out of the line.

Jayspawn
11-18-2005, 10:21 AM
-Batman Begins: Mattel has hits and misses with the Batman line overall. They did make a Duccard figure and its decent but not stellar. I think Mattel was mistaken in just trying to get Rasagul and Scarescow out.

- Lord of the Rings: There have some great figures out now ie: The Attack Troll, Last Alliance and Elves of Middle Earth are GREAT figure sets! If only they released some of those figures individually.

- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: EVERY HP figure Mattel has ever made ended up on clearance, not to mention the figures SUCKED! The Harry Potter stuff Gentle Giant is doing is f'n sweet!!!

- King Kong: These figures just stink!!! I sence a major clearence coming up on these.

- Fantastic Four: I liked the movie. The figures are pretty good (Marvel Legends Style), and for those who found the Series 1 Invisible Girl -YOWZA!!!!!

- The Chronicles of Narnia: These figures STINK! They're basically figurines and I've seen better at that. Theres going to be a quick clearence after the 1st of the year.

El Chuxter
11-19-2005, 09:14 AM
Again, Jayspawn, I refer you to the Four Horsemen's too-short stint on the Harry Potter figures at the end of the Chamber of Secrets line:

Check 'em out! (http://forums.sirstevesguide.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=4528&d=1037988249)

Mr. JabbaJohnL
11-19-2005, 12:51 PM
Again, Jayspawn, I refer you to the Four Horsemen's too-short stint on the Harry Potter figures at the end of the Chamber of Secrets line:

Check 'em out! (http://forums.sirstevesguide.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=4528&d=1037988249)
I don't know, those slime figures for COS were pretty top-notch. :rolleyes:

"Hey, let's repaint the crappy SS figures with cobwebs and give them slime! They'll sell like hotcakes!"

Battle Droid
11-21-2005, 02:52 PM
Jurassic Park has got to be the worse, all repaints. (Even though they are exclusive to KB toys.)

Probably won't see any new sculpts until JPIV.

plasticfetish
11-22-2005, 02:42 AM
This year, I've noticed that besides the Star Wars line, movie-based action figures are deteriorating fast.Some toy companies are just generally blowing it when it comes to action figures, but yeah, movie figures have been especially lame.

The Batman Begins line seemed like a huge failure to me for many reasons. First of all, the film itself was just barely kid appropriate, so a line of toys geared mainly toward really young kids was and is stupid. The figure selection was a real buzz-kill. As most of you have said, the Ducard figure was a myth until just recently, and even then it only seemed to appear at Wal*Mart. Such a lame mistake not making all of the film's major characters available and such a huge mistake putting out a million non-movie related Batman figures instead.

Harry Potter is another perfect example of a major blunder, and another reason why Mattel should really think about cleaning house and starting over when it comes to it's team of product developers. Here you've got a license that comes with a huge audience -- fans of all ages both male and female, and if you can't manage to do something decent with it, then you should really reconsider your role in the toy industry.

With that said, why there hasn't been an effort to put out a decent line of figures from The Goblet of Fire is totally beyond me. This movie, out of all of them, has some of the best figure opportunities. I could care less about how poorly past HP lines have done, it's had nothing to do with the books or the films, and everything to do with Mattel's approach to developing and marketing the line. I mean... the film just did 101 million and they couldn't grab any of that?!?

The Chronicles of Narnia should be a line that's generating a lot of buzz and enthusiasm. It's a great looking film (from what I've seen) and again, there's a wealth of cool looking characters to make into figures. Why isn't it? Well, for starters, Hasbro isn't marketing these toys at all... as far as I can tell. I tried looking for a Narnia Web page over at the Hasbro site with pictures of the toys, and there's nothing there. Why bother making the toys if your not going to try and hype them or the film that they're from?

I don't think that what Hasbro has done with Narnia looks terrible, but it's another case of being a little too hung-up on the idea of making detailed figures that "collectors" will like. I don't see much articulation, and I don't see a toy line with much play value, but mostly I haven't bothered to look at these toys much, so...

(Sometimes I wonder if Hasbro and Mattel pick up certain toy lines and bury them, just to ensure that other companies don't get them -- to keep them from making toys that will compete with their "big money" lines. Just a thought.)

Playmates hasn't had a winning movie line (or any decent line outside of TMNT) in a while. I loved their Star Trek stuff, loved their Mars Attacks line and even liked the Lost in Space stuff, but then Playmates seemed to drop off the face of the earth. I was happy to see that they had the Kong line, and though I'm not expecting miracles from it, I'd think that maybe they might have a little variety in the line besides just a few Kong or break-apart dino figures. I've one of the Kong figures and I don't think it's awful, (the tiny person is stupid), but it's really kind of fun to play with. The playset that they've got out looks fun also, but some decent mini-figure sets would have been nice to go along with the big monkeys. Again, Playmates has no Web page up to promote these toys which I think is a huge mistake.

Other big movie toy mistakes as of late...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- Funrise Toys? Who???
War of the Worlds -- As much as I thought this movie was flawed, I'm pretty surprised that nobody touched this one at all.
Zathura -- Nothing? This was a fun little movie... and nobody could do this one at all? Not even a board game.
Aeon Flux -- Again... nothing!?!

So yeah, there's a lot of opportunities being missed with movie lines. Probably the same could be said for last year also.

JediTricks
11-22-2005, 06:13 PM
I saw a mint Ducard yesterday at Target.

plasticfetish
11-25-2005, 06:55 PM
Yeah, now that only a few people are looking for him, Ducard is showing up. (Silly.)
Playmates hasn't had a winning movie line (or any decent line outside of TMNT) in a while. I loved their Star Trek stuff, loved their Mars Attacks line and even liked the Lost in Space stuff..Come to think if it, the "Lost in Space" and "Mars Attacks" lines were done by Trendmasters -- who really did drop off the face of the earth. Makes the fact that Playmates got the Kong line a little weirder even, considering that they've never done a movie line... as far as I can remember. :confused:

Kidhuman
11-25-2005, 10:48 PM
As for the Narnia movie, Hasbro is making figs from them which are already at TRU, and they suck really bad.




No, I was so looking foward to toys from this line.

El Chuxter
11-26-2005, 11:31 AM
They aren't even toys, KH. Think Narnia Unleashed Battle Packs, and you're on the right track. Which really, really bites. I was hoping for good stuff, too, especially with WETA doing the visual effects and high end collectibles. :(

jjreason
11-26-2005, 04:26 PM
They haven't dropped the ball on all of these. Some movie lines are put out to capatilize on what's (usually) expected to be an extremely short period of intense interest around any toy-friendly film: the week or so surrounding its release. These are the lines that you see come out all at once, with no thought to expansion or any real quality - the strike while the iron's hot mentality.

Any movie that's part of a series (Narnia, SW, LOTR) or part of something else bigger than just that movie (Spidey, Batman stuff) is going to lend itself to more long-term thinking from the toy company. I'm, thus, not suprised that FF stuff is clearing out, much like the Hulk stuff did 2 years ago - one or two waves of stuff for interest around the time of release.

I'm not surprised to see the LOTR stuff drying up (though I AM saddened by it, this was an excellent toy line) as there's no current defined plans to make a movie of the Hobbit.

I really only think that SW has any real sustainability in the face of no new movies - and that's only because of the huge number of collectors.

The HP licence baffles me. How Mattel can not have any figures out for the release of this movie is incomprehensible - and unforgiveable if I'm a stockholder. THAT's a drop of the ball for sure. The only HP figures I've seen throughout the entire run of figures that have interested me at all were the minis from the last film. I thought the playsets and competitive price would have led that line to success, even though the larger figures were all terrible. Unfortunately those all got to clearance as well. Maybe Mattel has just gotten all "once bitten, twice shy" with the Harry Potter licence. Too bad.

JediTricks
11-26-2005, 07:19 PM
They aren't even toys, KH. Think Narnia Unleashed Battle Packs, and you're on the right track. Which really, really bites. I was hoping for good stuff, too, especially with WETA doing the visual effects and high end collectibles. :( Actually, they're also making regular figures besides the minifig battle packs, here's the full-size figures:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00080M53C/qid=1133054273/sr=8-2/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i2_xgl21/103-4382642-6983059?v=glance&s=toys&n=507846
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00080M52S/qid=1133054273/sr=8-3/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i3_xgl21/103-4382642-6983059?v=glance&s=toys&n=507846
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00080M53M/qid=1133054273/sr=8-4/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i4_xgl21/103-4382642-6983059?v=glance&s=toys&n=507846
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00080M532/qid=1133054273/sr=8-6/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i6_xgl21/103-4382642-6983059?v=glance&s=toys&n=507846
They look pretty bad in person too.

Kidhuman
11-26-2005, 10:36 PM
Wow, the first one looks decent, but then Alan looks like trash. I am so disappointed.

kool-aid killer
11-26-2005, 11:53 PM
I see tons upon tons of Batman Begins toys sitting around. For whatever reason, Batman doesnt seem to be able to carry a toy line for very long. Way too many Battle suit "X" Batman figures.

JediTricks
11-27-2005, 03:57 PM
Wow, the first one looks decent, but then Alan looks like trash. I am so disappointed.
In person, they all have that Hasbro cheapness to their sculpts and paint work, it's pretty sad.

jonthejedi
12-04-2005, 05:07 AM
I think the Narnia toy line is only a step up from Kong..and that's not saying much. I'm sadly disappointed in the product, even though I'm looking forward to the films.