Universal Products & Experiences capitalises on horror portfolio

Universal Products and Experiences has shared details of an ambitious 365 licensing strategy for its deep and dark portfolio of horror properties.

Spanning more than 90 years of cinema history, Universal’s vault features classic Universal Monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy, along with nostalgic horror icons like Chucky and Michael Myers.

The genre defining characters sit alongside new IP from the next generation of Universal’s horror storytellers, like Jason Blum’s Blumhouse with recent popular films The Black Phone, M3GAN, and the upcoming The Exorcist: Believer and Five Nights at Freddy’s, along with Joran Peele’s Monkeypaw and his unique take on horror with Get Out, Us and NOPE.

Key for Universal is horror presenting a year-long licensing opportunity, boosted by the growing social media fuelled popularity of the genre among Gen Z and Millennials and its firm integration into all facets of popular culture including music and video games.

Furthermore, changing retail trends means that horror is on offer year round, and Halloween now launches in August with retailers allocating more shelf space to a broader range of product skus stocking deeper and for longer than ever before.

NBCUniversal’s theme park division – Universal Destinations & Experiences – has also been thrilling fans for decades with its popular ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ experience every autumn.

“Horror is not just a seasonal trend, but a year-round opportunity to tap into thrilling stories, pop-culture moments, and an extremely passionate fandom,” commented Paul Bufton, vice president of EMEA at Universal Products & Experiences. “With an authentic legacy of Monster movies that spans nearly 100 years plus the hottest horror IP and storytellers in the last decade, NBCUniversal is perfectly placed to service the global and multi-generational fascination with all things horror.”

Early adopters to UP&E’s horror licensing programme include H&M (Universal Monsters apparel), ASOS (Frankenstein), C&A (Bride of Frankenstein tee), Vice Press (posters), Heroes Inc (Chucky tees) and Killstar (40 Chucky SKUs).

Beyond fashion and seasonal Halloween products, UP&E’s focus is broadening the product opportunity in response to high fan interest in hardlines and collectables, publishing (posters and comics), gifting, accessories, beauty and home and will be seeking new partners across these categories to expand the programme in 2024 and beyond.

Anchoring its commitment to horror, UP&E brought the experiential consumer fan event, BlumFest, to UK horror fans for the first time. The event first started as a US activation in 2020 and this autumn marked the UK’s first ever all-day horror screening event when it launched in London on 7 October.

Blumfest showcased the latest and greatest to horror fans, with special guest appearances, Q&A sessions, photo opps, interactive screenings and kiosks selling horror merchandise on offer.

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