Memorial Day Kicks Off Official Start of Summer Movie Fan Fare

Toys and summer movies are inextricably linked, and toy makers are optimistic that the strong start to the summer 2009 movie season will continue to sizzle.  In summer 2008, blockbusters racked up more than $4 billion at the [U.S.] box office.  Star Trek and X-Men Origins: Wolverine have already hit theaters, with TerminatorTransformersHarry Potter and GI Joe, rolling out from May through August.

Families go to the movies for social reasons that go beyond economics, according to a 2008 NPD Group study, and may frequent theatres four or more times in an average three-month period.  “Summer movies will attract the fan base of die-hard decades-old fans and new kids excited to see their favorite characters come to life on the big screen. Families will share in this summer pastime, especially in a cool theatre on a hot summer day,” says Reyne Rice, TIA toy trend specialist. “Toy makers that hold the licenses to these valuable properties are capitalizing on a loyal and passionate fan base to build their toy collections, in response to movie mania.” 

Many consumers will play out their obsessions with collectible action figures, role-play products, and games and puzzles.  USAopoly, for example, will introduce Monopoly Collector’s Editions tied to 2009 movie releases such as Star Trek, The Transformers and G.I. Joe; the products will be sold in Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores among other major retail outlets.

Licensors and toy companies will continue to optimize the internet and maintain a presence at fan conventions to generate buzz and capture a piece of the estimated $1.5 billion action figure and accessories market.   These fan fests will attract a dual market of loyal collectors as well as a new crop of kids who have been drawn in by blockbuster movies:  BotCon, the fifteenth annual Transformers convention, will be held from May 28-31st in Pasadena, California, and is slated to attract from 3-5,000 avid fans.  G.I. Joe Con ‘09 will be held from August 13-16th in Kansas City.  Star Wars Celebration V, a four-day Star Wars extravaganza that draws tens of thousands of fans, is being planned for 2010 or 2011 according to Lucasfilm.  Blogs such as www.actionfigs.com, www.cooltoyreview.com  and www.figures.com will spread the word to those fans who couldn’t attend the conventions, but want to follow the news.