3-D Movie Trend Carrying Over to the Toy Aisle

Moviegoers will be reaching for their 3-D glasses in 2009. Experts anticipate that 25% of the family-targeted films slated for release this year will be in 3-D, and that the number of screens that can support digital 3-D projection will more than double by year’s end. At the moment, only about five per cent of American cinemas (roughly 38,834 screens) can support the technology.

This weekend’s upcoming release of Dreamworks $165 million Monsters vs. Aliens is the first 3-D release of the season to also carry product into the toy aisle.  Toy Quest, master licensee for the film, already has products such as the alien ray blaster and ultimate bridge battle playset on toy shelves. 

Even though the percentage of 3-D compatible theatres is smaller in other countries than in the U.S., the trend to go 3-D is definitely going global.  The opening-night premiere at the 62nd Festival de Cannes will feature a 3-D presentation of Walt Disney Pixar’s animated picture “Up.” Disney reports it’s the first time an animated feature or a 3-D feature would be part of the opening festivities. “Up” opens in the United States on May 29th; Jun Planning is the master toy licensor.

It is estimated that 3-D movies will draw 10 percent more viewers than 2D equivalents, and each person willing to pay about $3.50 more per ticket will result in $300 to $400 million in additional earnings for theater companies – about a fifth of the total box-office take.   Toymakers behind the licensing of these films hope this will translate into product sales . . . starting now and continuing into fourth quarter.

“3-D Movies are very likely to drive families to the theater for the full experience,” said Reyne Rice, TIA’s toy trend specialist.  “The effects that bring the characters to life are magic to parents and children, and not as easily replicated at home on DVD.”

The release of Disney Nature’s Earth will coincide with Earth Day on April 22nd. Earth tells the story of three animal families and their amazing journeys across the planet we all call home. Toys from the movie will be available from Imagination Games and Canadian Toy.

Pixar’s Toy Story 1 will be re-released in 3-D for the first time, and master licensees Mattel and Thinkway’s toys will be in-store prior to the October release. Pixar will be re-releasing Toy Story 2 in 3-D in February 2010 and the brand-new Toy Story 3 (also in 3-D) in June of 2010.