The line of merchandise connected to the superhero blockbuster Black Panther is the largest ever launched for a Marvel Cinematic Universe non-sequel. Black Panther has been shattering records ever since its triumphant debut in theaters last week, debuting with a stunning $201 million domestically in its three-day opening frame and adding another $42 million Monday to earn more than $243 million through the four-day Presidents Day weekend. The first solo movie for the iconic Marvel Comics character following his debut in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther is also pulling down big numbers overseas, and combined with its stateside take, the film crossed the $500 million global mark by Thursday.
Of course, with such a big response to a film usually comes a demand for merchandise by fans, usually in the form of action figures and role play items. And while the movie merchandising industry has been suffering a downturn in interest of late, it hasn’t prevented companies from being prepared for the potential onslaught of customers from what it is promising to be one of the highest-grossing movie releases this year.
According to Variety, Disney’s product line is the largest ever for a Marvel non-sequel, and apart from popular standbys like Hasbro and Funko action figures, the offerings also include clothing lines including performance wear and high-fashion items. The publication says that Black Panther costumes are already being sold by merchandisers like Rubies and Party City, which is remarkable considering that Halloween is many months away. Other items that are being offered in the wake of the film’s success include jewelry, shoes and coffee mugs.
If the demand for Black Panther endures, it will certainly come as good news to merchandisers like Hasbro – a chief licensee partner with Star Wars – which saw a sharp decrease in sales of items surrounding the release of The Last Jedi. Variety says that analysts pegged the merchandising for that movie would generate $500 million in sales, but fell 25 percent short of that estimate and pulled in $350 million.
The bonus for Hasbro and the like for Black Panther is, if the merchandising line is successful, there’s another Marvel movie with Avengers: Infinity War coming in May, and Ant Man and the Wasp following in July. An analyst tells Variety that retail sales of Marvel toys are forecast to top the $500 million mark this year, but even with that stunning amount of merchandise being sold, it would only be a “flat” increase of 2 percent in sales over 2017.
With any luck, Hasbro and other toy companies will exceed those estimates, otherwise it may result in a decrease in the number of products offered to consumers moving forward. A wonderful part of the movie fandom is having that piece of merchandise that you can prop up on your desks and/or shelves at home to remind you of your film favorites, and without it, the experience just wouldn’t be the same.
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