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How Ghostbusters can rule at retail

The Source fires up Ecto-1 and chats to Sony Pictures’ Mark Caplan about its plans.

Think back to 1984, and the pop culture classic that is Ghostbusters was dominating the box office.

Over 30 years later, the supernatural comedy is back on July 15 – the cast may be new, but the ‘I ain’t afraid of no ghost’ premise remains the same, and it’s clear that Sony Pictures Consumer Products is having a ball working on the property.

“So many people have fond memories of Ghostbusters from their childhoods and the products now on shelf take them back to a happy place,” Mark Caplan, svp at Sony Pictures Consumer Products, tells The Source. “We are very fortunate to have such an expansive consumer base for Ghostbusters.”

The company has capitalised on the excitement and has an impressive roster of over 100 licensees for both the original and the new film. In total, says Mark, there are more than 1,000 skus across all major categories including digital and gaming, toys and collectables, apparel, accessories, publishing and more.

Partners include Mattel (master toy), LEGO, Funko, Underground Toys, Activision, IGT, Simon & Schuster, Hybrid, Fab Starpoint, New Era and Concept One among others.

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“We are lucky to be part of a business that is so innovative, where new products and retail programmes are the cornerstone to our success,” Mark continues. “The great thing about Ghostbusters is that retailers, partners and consumers are super engaged with the brand.

“The challenges really are keeping the product assortment fresh without compromising value and expectations on the one hand, while growing the consumer base on the other.”

Mark and his team have been working closely with Rocket Licensing in the UK on Ghostbusters and programmes have been secured across major retail partners including Hamleys, Asda, Harrods, Tesco, Primark and C&A.

Unsurprisingly, Ghostbusters – and the iconic Ecto-1 – will form a key part of SPCP’s presence at Licensing Expo, a show which Mark describes as “extremely important”.

“It is a way to show off our franchises in the best light possible. In person. On a big screen,” he says. “We like to make a big splash as we feel we have franchises that are worthy of attention. How many people at Licensing Expo get to sell properties that are often referred to as legendary like Ghostbusters?”

Vegas highlights

A host of exciting properties will be lining up alongside Ghostbusters on the SPCP booth (O214) at Licensing Expo.

New on the horizon is Dark Tower, based on Stephen King’s successful book franchise; the fully computer animated Smurfs: The Lost Village (in time for Easter 2017); plus the new, as yet untitled, Emoji movie (summer 2017).

Other Sony Pictures’ releases include Underworld: Blood Wars and a new animated TV series based on the Hotel Transylvania franchise. Rounding it out is the classic portfolio featuring Ghostbusters Classic, The Fifth Element, Easy Rider and Talladega Nights among others.

This feature originally appeared in the Summer 2016 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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