Action go Figure: Why some movies don’t make for great toys

Disney, Star Wars and other brands that are slam dunks in the movie theater also equate fairly well when the larger than life characters find a home on the toy shelves, too.

From Woody from “Toy Story” to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, you’d be hard pressed not to find a parent or child alike that hasn’t been infatuated with these toys on some level. Think about “Star Wars” and how it has spanned five decades of popularity with kids in the late 1970s who bought those toys as kids after seeing the movie and now who are parents buying their kids those toys for the newest rounds of movies under that banner.

For the most part, movies that have a toy connection are almost always can’t miss.

But the key word in that is “almost.”

Some movies simply don’t have that same drawing power once the movie screen goes blank. For the “Star Wars” toys from the movies and other brands like Lego, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cars, Toy Story and anything else Disney or Pixar, you also have what can equate to a few flops or disappointments in that same marketplace.

The key to a toy being spawned from a movie is the ability of a child to play with the toy and honestly and realistically (at least as much as you can in regard to a toy) recreate the movie experience in their own area.

Think about what WWE wrestling is so popular with kids. You watch the wrestlers and superstars on television every Monday or Tuesday, then you buy the action figures to duplicate the action you see on television. A drop kick or clothesline on television is something you can do at home with two figures.

If the movie or television show is more abstract and the action or sequences in the move don’t translate well to toys, you’ll get a stagnant push and the toys become more collectibles than actual playing mechanisms.

If a movie takes place under water, you might be a little more challenged to sell that to a child. Maybe a Little Mermaid doll might mean more if it was tailor made for the tub, but as a stand alone or catalyst for your child’s imagination, it falls woefully short on that level.

So while some toys are cash cows without question, others aren’t going to be as lucky. If your kids want to play with a toy car, they know that driving one across the kitchen floor is a lot easier and more enjoyable than pretending to swim with a plush fish across the living room.



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