James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Already Has A Toy Line

Published 6 years ago by

james cameron avatar James Camerons Avatar Already Has A Toy Line

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

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  1. Hey, our first glimpses of the characters can come from the toys…

    But yah, I don’t see how kids will like a movie such as this anyway, if I understand the supposed storyline correctly…

  2. This is one of those weird mystery things to me… creating toys for movies that are not appropriate for kids.

    Makes no sense at all.


  3. Money, monay, monay, monay!

  4. Lol, I couldn’t have said (sang?) it better myself…

  5. Two things spring to mind while reading Sabrina’s excellent article:

    1. Years ago, when they first tried re-launching Superman (circa 1997/98), either Tim Burton who was attached to direct, or John Williams who they wanted to score, said they couldn’t understand how WB would show elements of the script to the merchandise licensees before they showed it off to potential actors, directors, etc. I can only think it’s because the character is the most important selling point. But wow, what about getting a director attached first!

    2. I can understand her point–Avatar means nothing until the movie opens. THEN make figures, statues, etc. Something like Iron Man BEGS to be made into toys, much like the tie-ins to the 1994-1996 cartoon.

    Great read, Sabrina!


  6. @Vic,

    I’m almost convinced that guys like me have kept toys alive, more than the new generation of kids. I don’t think comic book geeks ever loved collectibles as much as my generation (Y and X) do. As we grow older, the toys and collectibles mature with us.

    Before the Sin City movie, we had Sin City collectibles including a Marv that you could “electrocute.” Let’s just hope parents get that it’s for adults and NOT little Bobby.


  7. What do we call generations after Z? Just curious.

  8. Im with heath. Just because they said toys and not “collectibles” or “statue” dont get it twisted. These so called toys are aimed at adults just like the ones advertised here.

  9. my generation is called the millennials how lame is that.

  10. Mattel makes toys aimed at adults? Hm, that doesn’t sound right, adult toys…

  11. Well, from what I am guessing, Fox is going to try and make this a movie that is more like The Dark Knight, its a rather mature film, its PG-13, aimed for generally older audiances, yet there are still toys everywhere, and toys in cereal boxes, and kids filling the theaters with their parents, kids that love the film.

    Fox wants this movie to appeal to ‘everyone’ hopefully without Cameron compromising the film itself, which he is known not to do.

    Its not just kids that buy these things, I doubt the kiddies will be able to figure out the whole 3D card-computer thing, thats clearly meant for older collectors. This is an original film, not based on anything prior, Fox needs to sort out get it out there in every way possible and really market it, even if its on a visual level only, let people see the creatures, hear about the video game, and see the toys filling toy stores months in advance to the movie coming out.

    People simply being aware of the existence of a big toy line and video game months prior to the release of the film will just make them think, on some level ‘wow, this must be a big deal, I shouldn’t miss this one’

  12. Its not only for the kids what about us Cameron fans or Nerds/Geeks? I will buy some what if this goes and get Star Wars then its good to have som toys.

  13. You know they have been doing this for quite some time. A property is deemed marketable by the studio producing it and they look for a toy company to product the toys. The reason the toys come out in advance is so that the retail stores have something when the movie hits, and they also run advertising alongside the release. Nobody wants to be hit with the same lack of product from 1977′s Star Wars and have to sell “Early Bird” packages promising the toys in the mail later. It’s like video games, you either pre-sell before the release date, on the release date or you aren’t in the game. Kids and collectors alike are driven by what’s next and what can I add to my toy army. Robocop had a toyline, Waterworld had a toyline, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves had a toyline and so do many many others. Forgettable? Probably, but there is money to be made and timeless toys like Barbie, LEGO and G.I. Joe don’t have exclusive rights on toy box plundering.