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May 28, 2019

Endgame for Avatar?

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By the time Avengers: Endgame ends its run at the box office, it’s likely to overtake Avatar as the most viewed film in cinema. The Avengers films resonate globally, from the Americas to Europe and Asia; hence the results we’re seeing in cinema. 

What makes Avengers: Endgame so special is the accumulation of stories told in the Marvel Universe and a celebration of all the characters in cinema that fans have been following for a decade.  This, combined with multiple factors (strong storyline, rumored plot twists, an all-star cast, print, broadcast and social media buzz) raised expectations to a fever pitch. It translated well in the box office across all age and gender demographics, best illustrated by my own observations. When I was waiting in line with my two sons to see Avengers: Endgame on release day, I noticed an equal amount of children and adults, as well as boys, girls, men and a few women; and I came to realise there is an Avenger for everyone! And as a result of that, one of the pleasant side effects of such a special film that impacts so many is the “trickle-down effect” on other industries, especially licensing and toys. 

The Marvel Universe is practically fashioned for the toy industry. Whether manufacturers are selling toys to kids, adult collectors, or to the growing consumer segment of kidults, Entertainment IP’s like Marvel excel. If we look at the 12 months ending March 2019, the Marvel Universe generated over $1 billion in global toy sales, making it the third largest property globally*. And thanks to Avengers: Infinity War, which released in April 2018, Avengers toy sales during that period alone more than doubled versus the prior 12 months.

Because we have so many highly-anticipated sequels and cinematic finales in 2019 (i.e. Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), I am anticipating a lot of consumer interest in toys for kids and adults alike. In fact, I fully expect 2019 to be the year of movie-based toys licenses. Why? Over the past several months, my family’s excitement for the cinema has never been stronger. My 9-year-old created a long wishlist of movies he wants to see, including The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,and Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Personally I am very curious to go and see Playmobil: The Movie, while my husband and older son want to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Even my grown-up sentimental 18-year-old daughter is actually excited about going to see Frozen 2! Suffice it to say, our cinema budget is going to be stretched … and so will our toys budget.

* The NPD Group’s retail tracking service from the NPD group is available in 13 countries: in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia and Australia.

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