By HEATHER JACKLING
The holiday season is underway and many people may notice that stores are beginning to adorn themselves with the usual decorations of glittery trees, snowy wreaths and festive ornaments. However, another celebration is also taking over retail stores as they prepare for the Dec. 18 release of the latest Star Wars film, “The Force Awakens.”
Stores such as Target, Toys “R” Us and even Wal-Mart have recently shelved insane amounts of Star Wars merchandise.
From clothes and toys, furniture and even household appliances, Star Wars is everywhere. Even Kohl’s has designed children clothing collections, ranging from a stormtrooper dress to graphic tees for boys and girls.
For hardcore fans, this is the best time of the year. Their favorite characters are splashed across merchandise in busy malls all over the U.S., yet some may also see it as an annoying marketing ploy designed to manipulate fans.
From a marketing standpoint, although somewhat annoying, it is incredibly ingenious. According to data journalists Nicholas Wells and Mark Fahey of CNBC, a news division of NBCUniversal found that, ”since the first movie came out in 1977, toy licensing alone has brought in about $12 billion in revenue, compared with only $4 billion in box office revenue from the first seven movies. Of course, hit movies are a crucial driver of toy sales, and license deals can make or break a toymaker.”
The movie alone, in this case, will not be the main source of profit for the Star Wars franchise. In fact, the real moneymaker comes from sales of franchise-themed merchandise, found in nearly every retail store around the country.
Although, articles have not ventured to state how much money the franchise will earn through the film or the multitude of merchandise, it is unlikely that franchise will be disappointed with its earnings.
Since the movie is being released around the holiday season, the franchise takes advantage of the holiday shopping mindset, even though stores have been carrying Star Wars themed items since earlier this autumn.
This is all good news for Disney of course, who bought Star Wars in 2012. If the stores full of official and trademarked Star Wars merchandise were not enough, however, local businesses are also trying their hands at making money off of the movie, and getting rather innovative in the process.
Online shops like Etsy and Amazon have a significant amount of users who are selling everything from crocheted Yodas to handmade Star Wars themed apparel and knick-knacks.
Artists are able to ride the trend wave and exercise their creativity at the same time in anticipation of the latest film installation.
For Etsy sellers, this gives their stores a popularity boost thanks to fans. Fans, creators and marketers will always be looking for the next marketing trend, which of course, with a franchise like Star Wars is always bound to produce yet another film every few years.
According to Starwars.com, in March of 2015, Bob Iger, Disney chairman and CEO, held a shareholder meeting where he announced the news regarding the first Star Wars stand-alone movie which is supposed to be called “Rogue One” and it will have an in-depth look at some of the characters and their backstories.
According to IMDB, the supposed release for this film is sometime in 2016. If you could not have guessed by now, if the hype for the movie in December is not enough, the anthology piece in 2016 will be highly anticipated by fans. For marketers, they are guaranteed to profit from these films as they create more and more innovative and gimmicky merchandise.
For years, this story of a galaxy far away has brought joy and excitement into many lives, both for the young and the old. Fans have dedicated weekend long conventions and have even created practicing religions modeled after themes in the series. In general, Star Wars has profited very well from the many films over the past several years, but with the addition of themed merchandise this series stands to dominate the holiday shopping season.