It’s no secret that the world of movie merchandise is a lucrative one for Hollywood. Many fans enjoy collecting tokens that transport them right back into the movie, but some products on the market are a little more questionable than others. Keep these in mind the next time the next time you need gift inspiration for the movie buff on your list.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Weirdest Movie Merchandise Ever Made.
1. R2D2 Aquarium
Star Wars is a merchandise juggernaut, spanning the saga’s nearly 40 year legacy. Official branded products are in no short supply, feeding a huge base of avid collectors. Costumes, toy weapons, and t-shirts are common fare across the world. But when New York-based retailer Hammacher Schlemmer got involved, fans weren’t sure about their contribution to the merchandise canon. Known for supplying an eclectic array of gadgetry, the company prides itself on being eccentric. For only $79.95, collectors could own the R2D2 Aquarium, which has since been removed from their catalogue.
The droid housed an almost two-gallon tank, and included a built-in periscope for a different angle on the aquatic action. With all the color-changing lights, themed backdrops, and voice-activated sound effects, the aesthetic of this aquarium was designed with humans in mind, not fish.
2. James Bond Candles
Men all over the world have been inspired by the lifestyle of James Bond. The suits, booze, and cars all add to his glamorous persona, but one product goes a step further. In an attempt to capitalize on all aspects of 007, clothing and lifestyle brand TOCCA created the James Bond Candle. For only $38, buyers can make their homes smell just like Bond’s!
Inspired by his signature car, the Aston Martin, and his signature drink, a dry martini, the candle’s marketed as having “rich, leathery smell” reflective of Bond’s environment. Some fans may question the strength of the relationship between the product and it’s source material. But considering how bankable the character has become, it’s not surprising.
3. Harry Potter Vibrating Nimbus 2000
Toy manufacturer Mattel created quite a fuss when they released a replica Nimbus 2000 from the Harry Potter franchise. Excited fans flocked to buy them, eager to practice for Quidditch tryouts. Marketed as a kids toy, the battery-operated broomstick had a vibration feature, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal. But because of the nature and placement of the broom, parents thought it was a little too adult. Mattel’s version of the Nimbus 2000 was pulled from the shelves because of the outcry. And has since been replaced with a different, non-vibrating model made by another manufacturer. The original brooms are still flying around on eBay, but because of their rarity, they can cost upwards of $100.
4. Assembled The Avengers Cologne Set
Marvel’s Avengers are known for many things, but smell wasn’t one of them.. until now. The makers of The Avengers Cologne Set want you to smell like a superhero! Fragrances inspired by Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk are sold individually or as a set. The company behind the idea is Jads International, who had previously released a similar Star Trek-themed line. It seems counter-intuitive to intentionally smell like the inside of a sweaty Mark VII. But according to the reviews, Tony Stark’s scent is the fan favorite. Female Marvel fans can even buy Black Widow perfume. The Avengers are in good company in the world of branded odors. Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Kermit the Frog, and Miss Piggy have all had their own scented merchandise in the past.
5. The “Dark Vador” Burger
Many of the successful fast food chains have engaged in Hollywood marketing at some point in their history. From commercials to toys included with the kids meal, this relationship manifests itself in many forms. When a french chain named Quick was promoting the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D, they got creative with the food itself. When Star Wars-themed burgers hit the menu, diners were shocked to see that one of them came on a black burger bun. The “Dark Vador” burger homage was received with mixed reviews. A double-pattied behemoth, the ingredient scheme was based around pepper. Diners were split on which of the three novelty burgers they liked best. While critics questioned the logic of a burger dedicated to a character hardly seen in the movie it was promoting.
6. The Matrix Reloaded Cell Phone
The Matrix showed audiences a new side of technology, both in front of the camera and behind it. Filmmaking techniques were constantly being upgraded to accommodate for the Wachowski brothers’ expanding vision. It comes as no surprise that when it came time for merchandising second installment The Matrix Reloaded, the technological theme continued. Samsung’s SPH-n270 was used in the movie, and replicas were released in a limited number to the public in 2003. The phone came pre-loaded with Matrix propaganda. From the ringtones to the menu design, it’s a Matrix-lover’s dream. They’re not for the budget-conscious shopper, and can run up to $2,500 on eBay. A high price to pay considering it only displays 8 lines of text.
7. Rocky Action Figures
Sealed action figures can be a high-value collectors item, especially if they’re part of a limited release. Toy company Jakks Pacific has released many Rocky knickknacks, but two of them stand out as odd. The Meat figurine is an homage to the infamous meat locker scene from the 1977’s first installment. From Rocky II, a post-fight figure of Rocky in a wheelchair. It even comes complete with bruises for extra authenticity! While there are many things to love about the Rocky movies, the merchandise isn’t one of them. Marketed specifically toward “adult collectors” the figures can be found online ranging from $35 to $250 depending on their condition. 1800 Wheelchair Rocky’s were made. Love them or hate them, they exist.
8. 300 Leather Briefs
The release of Zack Snyder’s 300 chronicles the topless battle at Thermopylae between the Spartans and Persians. It motivated people to hit the gym. And, naturally, licensed replicas of Spartan leather briefs hit the market. They’re priced at either $79 or $95, depending on where you shop. Finally, a sexy halloween costume for men! The briefs are sold separately or as part of a complete outfit. Buyer beware, it’s not cheap, but it is accurate. And guaranteed to make the wearer feel like an ultimate badass. Growing up Spartan isn’t all glamorous though. Raised to be fearless warriors, soldiers historically began their training at a young age. And a high value was placed on physical exercise. So while Spartan briefs can be bought, the matching washboard abs can only be earned.
9. C-3PO Tape Dispenser
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Star Wars has some of the weirdest themed merchandise on the market. Modifying everyday items like toasters, beds, and guitars in the brand’s image became popular among companies. Solving the old “boring tape dispenser” problem is Sigma, the group responsible for the ceramic C-3PO tape dispenser. If it’s mere existence isn't crazy enough, consider that one in mint condition sold for $200 on eBay in 2014. Some fans have commented on the dispenser’s awkward facial characteristics, as others question why the roll of tape comes from between C-3PO’s legs. However you feel about it, the item is a rare one, unlikely to cross your path accidentally.
10. Letters to E.T
Ever since its release in 1982, the Steven Spielberg-directed E.T. has been widely beloved by audiences. Following the emotional journey of an alien left behind, the story tugged at the crowd’s heartstrings. Holding a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes lands it the ninth spot on their “Best Movies of All Time” list. Putting it in the company of other cinematic greats like The Godfather (1972) and A Hard Day’s Night (1964). Too bad the same can’t be said about it’s merchandise. The 1983 book “Letters to E.T.” is exactly what it sounds like: a series of letters written to the friendly extraterrestrial. Penned by people from all walks of life, the letters praise both the alien and Spielberg in almost equal measure. And a few even center around the hope of meeting E.T. someday. The book was likely intended to create a sense of community amongst fans. But many critics panned it as an ego-stroking move on Spielberg’s part.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorite wacky merch? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one. Need even more weird Hollywood artifacts in your life? Check out our other Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and offensive merchandise posts.