Mia Gardner | 08 Jan 2018
The popularity of Star Wars is not merely a result of the films themselves, rather the entirety of merchandise that can be bought and collected. The creators of Star Wars were essentially the first to come to the realisation that merchandise sales could drive fandom and make their characters and products more lovable than the films themselves.
Today, the idea of boosting profits with added merchandise is just one type of marketing tool along with media advertising, pre-screenings and opening day parties. Just about every major film or franchise has branched out into merchandising or character development. From Tomb Raider to Marvel action heroes, and everything in between, there’s a merchandising tie in that’s reaped massive revenue. Additionally, the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films have not only produced children’s toys, apparel and board games, they have also led to the creation of digital content in the form of online casino slots games.
Since the 1970’s the idea that merchandise could outperform film sales has become a strong tool for marketing and sales. The Harry Potter films might have pulled in huge figures at the box office, but it is the subsequent merchandise that is really bringing in the big money. Branded scarves, cloaks, shoes, hats and just about every toy you can think of has been lovingly made into a Harry Potter character and shipped off for sales to the masses. Even though the books and movies may have run their course, there are still new merchandise runs released regularly, and fans can keep on fuelling their Potter addiction by buying products that remind them of the wizard and his friends.
While many of the latest film franchises turn to merchandise for additional revenue, Star Wars remains the largest and the most influential of them all. When the Star Wars film, The Force Awakens was released, the film pulled in $2 billion in ticket sales. While this is an impressive figure in itself, consider that fact that in the same fiscal year, Star Wars merchandising brought almost three times the amount at around $6 billion. The simple fact is that that the Star Wars characters have created a life of their own, a personality outside of the films that fans are desperate to get their hands on.
The success of Star Wars merchandise is a testament to the ingenuity of the creators, and the makers of the merchandise. If action figures alone made up the entirety of the merchandise, the sales would be one eighth of what they are today. But while you can certainly collect perfectly scaled models of Luke, Darth Vader, Han Solo and Chewbacca, the bulk of the Star Wars merchandise is more functional than a collectable that will sit in a glass case for years on end. For the right price, you can order a toaster that will burn an image of Darth Vader onto your toast.
The scale of Star Wars merchandise is so large and so far reaching that there is a branded item for just about every aspect of your life. Star Wars ties, t-shirts, hoodies, shoes, toys, electronics and more. From R2-D2 phone chargers to self-stirring coffee mugs, coaster sets to calendars, key chains to paper kites and just about everything in between.
If you can think of an item you need around the house, chances are you can find a Star Wars branded version. Even baking supplies have been infiltrated with a BB-8 measuring cup set that fits together to create a lovable looking droid.
While functional in itself, the merchandise plays a second role in keeping fans interested in the film franchise and flocking to the cinemas when the next film is released, and it fills the coffers of the studios behind the brand even further.