We take a look at some of the movies which could impact the licensing business this year.
2017 was another exceptionally busy year for blockbuster movies, from The LEGO Batman Movie in February, all the way through to Star Wars: The Last Jedi in December.
But what’s on the cards for 2018?
The Source takes a look at just some of the movies hitting cinema screens throughout the year which are also likely to cause a stir in the licensing world.
Early Man (January)
A plucky cave man named Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) and his sidekick Hognob must unite their tribe against a mighty enemy – the Bronze Age – is the synopsis for the eagerly awaited latest from Nick Park; his first feature film since Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Early Man continues the production partnership between Aardman and StudioCanal, and expect a solid showing on the licensing side, too. Ancestors Group is among the partners, on board for giftware and collectables.
Fifty Shades Freed (February)
The third and final instalment in the Fifty Shades trilogy arrives with the tagline ‘Don’t miss the climax’. 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 successfully work with a risqué brand. Caroline Mickler Ltd has been responsible for building a solid licensing programme around the brand. Companies including Lovehoney and luxury lingerie specialist Coco der Mer have both previously produced ranges.
Black Panther (February)
The latest Marvel character to get a solo film outing, Black Panther made his cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War. The character initially debuted in an issue of Fantastic Four back in 1966 and was the first black superhero in mainstream American comics. He is the alter ego of T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, who spends his nights battling Dr Doom. Following a strong reception at the D23 Expo last year, there are high hopes for this one.
Peter Rabbit (March)
The live action CGI film adaptation of Peter Rabbit from Sony Pictures is eagerly awaited and has already notched up plentiful national media coverage. The oldest licensed character in history, the programmes for Peter Rabbit Classic and TV are well established (by Penguin Ventures and Silvergate), and the film will no doubt add a further halo push through spring/summer 2018.
James Corden lends his voice to Peter Rabbit, while other voice talent includes Daisy Ridley (Cottontail), Margot Robbie (Flopsy), Elizabeth Debicki (Mopsy) and Sia (Mrs Tiggy-Winkle). Meanwhile, Rose Byrne stars as a fictional version of Peter’s creator, Beatrix Potter.
Avengers: Infinity War (April)
When the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War dropped in December 2017, it became the most viewed trailer in a 24-hour period, with 230 million earned views. Spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie has apparently been ten years in the making. Expect this to takeover retail for some time.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May)
The second standalone ‘Star Wars Story’, Solo has been named by numerous licensees as the one they’re waiting for this summer. Directed by Ron Howard, and starring Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, internet reports have suggested it is set around ten years prior to the events of A New Hope. As you might expect, details are being closely guarded, but will we get to see the card game in which Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando and the infamous Kessel Run?
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June)
Jurassic Park is the fourth highest grossing film of all time, taking $1.7 billion globally. The campaign for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will run alongside the 25-year celebration of the original Jurassic Park film, reminding fans of its iconic status and offering another way for them to engage with the brand.
Toys from Mattel will play a key part, while the apparel category is also likely to be strong. Universal Brand Development’s Hannah Mungo previously told The Source that the company is making the huge franchise the ‘right size for every opportunity at retail and beyond’.
Incredibles 2 (July)
The Parr family are back this summer, having taken the originally mooted release date for Toy Story 4 in the Disney-Pixar schedule. The original movie grossed more than $633 million worldwide in 2004 – at the time it posted the second biggest opening of all time for an animated movie and went on to win two Oscars. Teaser trailers have gone down well with audiences, and it’s been reported that the sequel will begin a minute after the events of the first film.
Not much is known about the live action feature film based on the iconic Mattel fashion doll, although it was highlighted by Sony Pictures Consumer Products at last year’s Brand Licensing Europe. Mixing animation with live action, the story apparently follows Barbie after she was evicted from Barbieland. After scheduling conflicts meant that Amy Schumer had to pull out of the lead role, internet rumours have put Anne Hathaway as the replacement.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (November)
The first movie went down a storm at the box office, taking over $800 million worldwide, so it’s no wonder the expectation and excitement – many months away from its release – surrounding The Crimes of Grindelwald is off the scale.
Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp and Zoë Kravitz among others all star, while after being name-checked in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the future headmaster of Hogwarts – Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law – makes his debut. A stellar cast and expect a stellar CP programme to match.