We take a look at some of the movies which could impact the licensing business this year.
2016 was another bumper year at the UK box office, with a host of big name films keeping cinemas busy and, notably, having an impact on the licensing industry, too.
From Batman v Superman to Finding Dory, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to The BFG and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there was plenty to keep licensees – and retailers – occupied.
But what’s on the cards for 2017? The Source takes a look at some of the movies hitting cinema screens throughout the year which are also likely to cause a stir in the licensing world.
The LEGO Batman Movie (February)
One of the break out ‘stars’ from 2014’s The LEGO Movie, this focus on LEGO Batman has the potential to be another soaraway success for the brand. Perhaps unsurprisingly, LEGO is keeping plot details close to its chest, but expect quick witted one-liners, school boy rude humour and plenty of brick-based action – plus a wealth of accompanying licensed product. We reckon that LEGO + Batman = huge success.
Fifty Shades Darker (February)
The second instalment in the Fifty Shades trilogy arrives with the tagline ‘Every fairy tale has a dark side’. Those who have read the books – and probably a lot of those who haven’t due to the media hype – will know the story, of course, but for the licensing business this is a chance to show how to work with a risqué brand. Caroline Mickler Ltd has already secured deals with Lovehoney and luxury lingerie company, Coco der Mer.
Beauty and the Beast (March)
The classic Disney animation is given a 2017 makeover, with Emma Watson stepping into the lead role, supported by an all-star cast including Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Luke Evans and Dan Stevens (yes, the guy from Downton Abbey). Pretty much a guaranteed success, at the box office and retail.
Power Rangers (March)
Another classic brand given the movie treatment this year, and from the early images, it’s certainly looking pretty swish. The story remains the same – a group of high school kids, infused with unique super powers, set out to save the world – and there should be plenty for the new toy lines to get their teeth into. And, as an extra bonus, Bryan Cranston is in it.
Smurfs: The Lost Village (April)
Rocket Licensing is handling the consumer products programme for this new Sony Pictures animation. A number of partners are already on board, including PMS International for pocket money toys, outdoor play and stationery. The 2011 Smurfs movie was something of a sleeper hit at the box office, so hopes are high for similar success with The Lost Village.
The Boss Baby (April)
When a clip from this was shown at the DreamWorks Animation presentation at Licensing Expo last year, it received a tremendous reaction from the assembled licensees and retailers. It helps, of course, that Alec Baldwin is at his sardonic best as ‘Baby’. It will be interesting to see the course NBC Universal takes with the licensing.
Fast & Furious 8 (April)
Having started way back in 2001, Fast & Furious is one of Universal’s biggest franchises of all time. In terms of merchandising, it has spawned video games, theme park rides and toy lines, although there is surely potential for more products to be introduced given the franchise’s popularity.
Quite frankly, as fans of the original 1990’s TV series, The Source couldn’t be more excited about this Paramount reboot (and that’s not just because of Zac Efron). CPLG is handling the consumer products programme and it will be interesting to see the direction it takes.
Captain Underpants (May/June)
Could this be kids’ most anticipated super hero movie of 2017? Based on the successful series of novels by Dav Pilkey, this DreamWorks Animation big screen adaptation certainly has the chops to be a box office hit. And the potential for licensed product is pretty good, too.
Wonder Woman (June)
One of the most hotly tipped film releases of the summer, the hype around the new-look Wonder Woman has been growing since her cameo in Batman v Superman last spring. With a strong focus on ‘girl power’ in the licensing industry at the moment – not to mention the full power of Warner Bros. Consumer Products behind it – expect this one to be everywhere at retail.
Transformers: The Last Knight (June)
The Transformers franchise returns to the big screen – and this movie is apparently the most expensive of the lot, with a budget of $260 million. Michael Bay is back, as is Mark Wahlberg, and Hasbro is likely to go all out with the accompanying toy line.
Despicable Me 3 (June/July)
Will retail be taken over by a sea of yellow once again this summer? Very likely, yes. The Minions are back, along with Gru, the girls and Dr Nefario. Make no mistake, this is one franchise you won’t be able to miss this year.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July)
According to the NPD License Tracker from LSB Autumn, Spider-man typically sells upwards of £20 million of toys during a film year. The story of Homecoming follows on from Captain America: Civil War, which saw Spidey swoop in and make his debut with The Avengers. Understandably, this is eagerly anticipated.
Cars 3 (summer)
Cars has been an enduring franchise for Disney-Pixar, thriving even outside of the film windows, thanks to the universal play patterns and a series of shorts. Expect the full weight of the Disney marketing machine to land on this one throughout the summer.
EmojiMovie: Express Yourself (August)
Rocket Licensing will be handling the UK and Eire CP programme for the Sony Pictures film based on the global emoji phenomenon. The movie will bring to life a cast of 250 unique emojis, including some new characters. The licensing programme will target a core demographic of six to ten year olds, with a secondary audience of teens and young women. Key product categories will include toys, apparel and accessories, publishing, homewares, arts and crafts, back to school, giftware and novelty.
My Little Pony: The Movie (October)
The My Little Pony brand has enjoyed a considerable rise in profile across all licensing categories over the past couple of years, so there’s little wonder that licensees are excited about this big screen outing. A host of well-known stars have lent their voices to the movie, and no doubt Hasbro has big plans for the CP push, too.
Paddington 2 (November)
With the original movie holding the honour of being the highest grossing independent (non US studio) family film of all time – grossing $270 million worldwide – hopes are unsurprisingly high for Paddington 2. And this also extends to the licensing programme, with The Copyrights Group already busy. Expect further details soon.
Star Wars: Episode VIII (December)
It’s the biggest entertainment licence out there, and Star Wars will no doubt continue to dominate the Christmas and New Year box office, as well as retail shelves. Picking up from The Force Awakens, Rey continues her journey in the next chapter of the saga.