For '93, at least nine new films will garner merchandising support.
'Merchandising is in its own right a marketing vehicle today,' said Sid Kaufman, president, MCA/Universal Merchandising.
The biggie is expected to be MCA/Universal's much-heralded summer dinosaur dynamo Jurassic Park, backed by a $65-million advertising/promotional campaign and merchandising ties with more than 100 licensees. Competing with Jurassic during the summer will be Warner Bros.' Dennis the Menace (look out for the return of the sling shot and expected cross-promotions with Orange Crush, Hires, Nestle and Sunmaid Raisins); Free Willy (lots of stuffed whales) and The Secret Garden; Twentieth Century Fox's Once Upon a Forest; and Walt Disney Pictures' Snow White.
The year-end blockbuster is expected to be Disney's Tim Burton release, Nightmare Before Christmas. At Toy Fair, Disney will introduce Nightmare toys and dolls from Hasbro and a gift line from Applause. Those toys will compete with toy ties to MCA's as yet untitled sequel to Beethoven and Fox's The Beverly Hillbillies.
The '93 films will have to compete with a merchandising blitz for last year's hit Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which is expected to generate a whopping $300 million in worldwide merchandise sales, between existing merchandise and new Toy Fair intros this year.
Entertainment-related licensing - accounting for 23% of the $62 billion spent on all licensing last year - has become a crucial element not only to a studio's bottom line, but to the advertising and promotional power of films.
'Putting revenue aside, the most important element that merchandising provides is an awareness-building mechanism for a movie property,' said Al Ovadia, president of Fox Licensing and Merchandising.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)