The Ghostbusters reboot enjoyed a respectable box office opening in the U.S.and mostly positive reviews from mainstream critics. Despite online campaigns to drive down ticket sales and the harassment of the film's stars on social media having made headlines of late, Ghostbusters itself continues to perform quite well for Sony Pictures, commercially and in terms of general word of mouth.
Now the Ghostbusters franchise has also been blessed with more good news, when it comes to the film reboot. Mattel is reporting better than expected toy stales for the reboot, meaning that it has been embraced by one of its most important audiences: Kids.
Speaking to Variety, senior VP of design and marketing for Mattel’s Toy Box Joe Lawandus outlined the company's early assessment of the new Ghostbusters product line, which was announced to have "exceeded expectations" based on sales figures from top retail outlets:
“We’re thrilled with the response to the new Ghostbusters toy line. We worked closely with Sony to ensure each figure featured authentic details from the movie including a wearable proton pack. The early momentum shows the product is resonating with ‘Ghostbusters’ fans!”
From the beginning, Sony's main interest in reviving the long-gestating Ghostbusters franchise (largely absent from the pop-culture landscape after the single-season run of the animated Extreme Ghostbusters in 1997) had been in reviving the property's merchandising arm. Ghostbusters yielded one of the most popular and long-live toy brands of the 1980s, despite the original film having been aimed largely at an adult audience (with the toys being mainly inspired by the Real Ghostbusters cartoon series).
As such, the prospects for toys based on the new film had been closely watched, and doubly so given the ongoing controversy in the toy industry over the gender-coding of playthings and questions about the sales prospects of action figures based on female characters. That discussion made mainstream headlines last year as consumers chastised Hasbro for seemingly under-producing figures of protagonist Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens despite her being effectively the film's main character.
The news represents positive news for Mattel, which took what was seen as a gamble by marketing the Ghostbusters figures, toys and vehicles as a gender-neutral product line; meaning that in most major toy retailers they are shelved in the so called "boy aisles," an uncommon move for a franchise whose main characters are all women. While the effect of these sales on the popularity of the film long term remain to be seen, its apparent that Ghostbusters has found its audience after all.
Ghostbusters is now playing in U.S. theaters nationwide.
- Ghostbusters (2016) release date: Jul 15, 2016