Warning signs for the toy industry began last year when "Cars 3" – considered a sure success – proved lackluster for licensees like Mattel Inc.
Now big bets from toy manufacturers in the movie draws look downright grim. The games based on the saga of "Star Wars" – the franchise that started the phenomenon four decades ago – went down in 2017 despite a new movie, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", in December during the most important holiday. -shopping season.
Call it "Star Wars burnout," or better yet, "movie fatigue," said Gerrick Johnson, an badyst at BMO Capital Markets. Hollywood and toy makers have set their sights on easy-to-use movies at a time when kids are turning more and more to YouTube, Netflix and social media for entertainment.
More than 20 major movies, including "The Last Jedi," had strong toy licensing programs last year. A decade ago, it was about half of that. Attendance at the movie in the US UU Ha dropped almost 14 percent in that span.
"Now there are so many screens, children are not alone in the movies," said Johnson. "A film does not have the same resonance as before."
While "Star Wars" was still the best-selling toy line during the nine-week vacation period, it fell to second place overall last year and below the record high seen in 2016, according to data from the research firm of the NPD Group market shared with Bloomberg News.
"Star Wars is a force to be reckoned with in the toy industry," the owner of the brand, Walt Disney Co., said in a statement. "It's still the main movie property for the whole year."
After a decade without a "Star Wars" movie, Disney has released three films since December 2015, and another is coming in May. The latest installment, "The Last Jedi," did not include many new and memorable characters in addition to those presented in the previous movie, Johnson said. That left the fans looking for novelty in other places this year, which generated results weaker than expected, he said.
U.S. Sales of the brand's toys slowed at the end of 2017, wrote Drew Crum, an badyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., in a note to clients last week. This was despite the fact that "Last Jedi" was the highest grossing movie released in the US. UU Last year to $ 596 million.
Adult collectors, who grew up with the brand, continue to buy a lot of merchandise when the toys come out, but the demand is reduced later, according to Johnson.
That does not bode well for Hasbro Inc., which has the main "Star Wars" toy badociation, or Jakks Pacific Inc., which has a second license. Jakks said he could not comment on the sales of "Star Wars," but that the merchandise linked to "Moana," another Disney movie, "is still very strong." Hasbro refused to comment.
The performance of "Star Wars" could hamper Disney's offer to reactivate growth in its consumer products division, where sales fell 13 percent to $ 4.830 billion for the fiscal year that ended the September 30th.
The bankruptcy filing of Toys "R" Us Inc. in September accounts for approximately 15 percent of the market, added to the challenges for the growth of sales of "Star Wars" this year , although the company continued to market the toys.
Visitors to the Toys "R" Us store on Los Feliz Boulevard in Los Angeles recently had a lot of "Star Wars" merchandise to choose from. A full corridor included everything from a $ 3.99 Millennium Falcon Hot Wheels car to an $ 250 AT-ACT controlled vehicle that walks and shoots Nerf projectiles.
Tracey Gordon, a full-time mom from Glendale, California, shopping at the store, said her three children, ages 2 to 7, are not fans of "Star Wars" even though she wore a Princess Leia costume on Halloween for years when she was younger.
"It's a generational issue," he said, adding that his nephew likes toys, largely because his father "drags him to watch the movies."
For years, Hollywood's push towards the heroes of comics and other children's meals was a big help to the toy industry. In the last decade, toys related to entertainment grew from 15 percent of the industry's revenue to 38 percent, according to BMO. Movie links helped propel the industry to its strongest growth in decades in 2015 and 2016, when "Star Wars" merchandise was the best-selling brand with more than $ 700 million in sales.
In the first half of 2017, the harsh comparisons with the previous sales of "Star Wars" contributed to the decline in construction products and categories of action figures, according to NPD. The market research firm, which is expected to report full-year sales figures at the end of this month, said in July it expected an overall 4.5 percent growth for the industry in 2017.
The original "Cars", the animated film of 2006, was one of the stalwarts. Combining memorable characters with a clbadic children's toy: a car, it remained a top-selling licensed brand for years after its launch. Disney opened a Cars Land attraction at its California Adventure park in Anaheim, California, in 2012, which attracted hours of waiting for its ride.
But the third movie came out in a crowded field, followed during the following weekends by the latest films from Transformers, Despicable Me and Spider-Man. It did not help that "Cars 3" scored an average of 68 percent on the critics at RottenTomatoes.com.
Even more toys licensed films are programmed, including the prequel "Solo: A Star Wars". Story "and new Transformers," Fantastic Beasts "," Jurbadic World "and the superhero fare The lesson that toy makers will draw from the 2017 list is that they can no longer rely on the film to do marketing.
"There is a new paradigm," Johnson said. "The fact that there is a movie with a toy tie does not necessarily mean it will work. I used to say it would work. "