« on: March 7, 2012, 10:49 AM »
It is hard to tell how much of the product push was Hasbro's idea versus Lucasfilm. I think we can all agree that a market saturated with any single movie focus is going to struggle. It seems it would be best to capture a wave or 2 at the time of the movie release that is more focused, but also contains core characters from the other films. The short duration of the theater life for these releases doesn't lend itself to such a broad swath of product. And as was well pointed out earlier, this is a tough time of year to be selling loads of toys. My suggestion would be to try to capture the imagination of the toy-buying parent or child that includes toys from the other saga films, and maybe even generates renewed excitement for the next release.
Things have changed in the broader toy buying market as well, and purchasing product from 10-20 years ago is as easy as ordering a book from Amazon. It used to be toy shows, specialty-comic shops, and garage sales. Just last week I felt the bug to buy a load of Episode 1 figures on ebay, because they were less than $3 each after shipping. Still brand new in the package, they looked like they could have come off the store shelf last month. My daughter and I opened them all, laughed at the commtech chip lines, and packed the loose figures away. I would never do that at $8 plus each.
As parents get more savvy in the future, buying $10 figures for 10 year old boys will seem even more ridiculous, as other options to get the same or very similar toys become much more attractive. I think there will still be a niche for the Star Wars line in stores for a long time, but boatloads of toys from 1 movie with crossovers in Transformers, galactic heroes (or whatever the new iteration is), squinkies, stuffed dolls, etc is just asking for poor performance. It's too much supply, too little demand. I think a tightenting of the belts at Hasbro would be a good move, offering more re-tooled and re-release figures in packs that actually produce value for parents (back to 4-5 figures for $18-22). Put some on single cards too at $6-7 in the movie hero line. Start putting a pilot figure back in with the ships if they are hitting the shelves for the 3rd-4th or 5th time. Then have that collector focus of 25-30 figures per year in the vintage line.
I'll put in a small clone wars gripe though- Poorer ratings or not, they have more exposure to the kid audience then the 6 week release of a 12 year old movie. Clone Wars still seems like a way to keep kids engaged in the brand, and there is nothing on the store shelves that makes me think "oh yeah, that's from the TV show." I for one am sorry to see them moving to a more realistic look.