There is an interesting phenomenon that’s currently happening in Hollywood concerning toys. A movie can have a line of toys before it has even been released. Better yet, a movie can have a line of toys before it’s even a movie.

Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising has chosen Mattel to design a line of toys directly influenced by James Cameron’s up and coming film, Avatar.

Although Avatar the movie will not be released until December 2009, the line of toys will hit retail stores in October.  Yeah, the line of toys will be designed and produced months before the film is released.  Because what more do kids need, but toys that mean absolutely nothing to them.

VFX World reports:

“Mattel’s AVATAR toy line will feature heroes, creatures and vehicles straight from the blockbuster film. Each action figure or vehicle will come with a 3D web tag, bringing a new level of interactivity to Mattel’s newest action play line. Utilizing a computer’s webcam, consumers can “scan” the web tag, unlocking special content unique to the product, like bio information on action figures and creatures, virtually on a home computer.”

In all honesty, the toys sound incredibly cool, but what’s the point of pimping toys about a movie that children have never even seen (and will probably not be even remotely targeted at them)? This basically causes the film to cheapen itself and damage its artistic merit. Especially a film of monumental proportions like Avatar – being Cameron’s first film since the box office record breaking Titanic.

For what it’s worth, I understand the idea of pimping toys to children in order to familiarize them with the characters, thereby boosting box office revenue ahead of the release date of the film.  But doesn’t that also cheapen the magic of going into the film with a clean slate? This is especially true with a film like Avatar, which is suppose to redefine cinema in the 21st century.

Avatar opens on December 18th, 2009.

Source: VFX World