Author Topic: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?  (Read 20953 times)

Offline Nicklab

  • Jedi General
  • *
  • Posts: 8375
  • Deceived? WHAT?!?!
    • View Profile
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #420 on: November 18, 2013, 10:47 AM »
I think the proliferation of so many movie based action figure lines has effectively diluted their impact.  There's been so many action figure lines that they're not as special as they were in the late 70's and early 80's.  And interest in some of those vintage lines are fringe at best.  Figures from Battlestar Galactica, Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Black Hole might have some fans here.  But that fanbase is pretty niche in the grand scheme of things.

Not to pick on you personally, Jeff (I know you're a Green Lantern fan), but the movie figure line for Green Lantern?  OMG, what a bomb!  Way too much product that was produced in too many different scales.  And I think that line was a prime example of how to NOT do a comic movie toy line based on a 2nd tier character.  There has to be a balance in a toy line for a movie like that which is built around key elements:  The Hero, the Villain, and the supporting characters.  But Mattel went all ape-**** and wanted to produce the WHOLE GREEN LANTERN CORPS, and the Guardians, and a BAF Parallax, etc.  It was unrealistically optimistic.  And I think that particular line may have been a tipping point in the licensed action figure business.
"You were entrusted to lead the Republic." - Vote for Ven Zallow from THE OLD REPUBLIC in figure polls!

Feedback

Offline Darby

  • Jedi Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 3384
  • I like big books and I cannot lie
    • View Profile
    • http://darby-harn.blogspot.com/
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #421 on: November 18, 2013, 11:22 AM »
Star Wars is definitely singular and unique, in just about every way. And it's probably not fair to hold any other toy line against its past performance, even its modern incarnation. SW is an evergreen brand that maintains an aisle presence now going 20 years media support or no. These last few years have been unsuccessful perhaps in contrast to even 5 years ago, but compared to other toy lines? GI Joe for example? Hasbro owns GI Joe and they can't even make that work.

A good measure of what is working is TMNT. This is no doubt the hottest toy line out there right now. It has a weekly TV show, expansive product tie-ins, a legacy brand, and it moves. When Rebels shows up, and the new movies, SW will be fine. It won't be what it was, because it won't be for anyone. But whatever the future of toys is, SW will be a big part of it.

Offline Jeff

  • Administrator
  • Jedi Council Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20407
  • things get damaged
    • View Profile
    • www.JediDefender.com
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #422 on: November 18, 2013, 11:25 AM »
Not to pick on you personally, Jeff (I know you're a Green Lantern fan), but the movie figure line for Green Lantern?  OMG, what a bomb! 

Hey, I don't work for Mattel or I could have told them they were headed for trouble.   ;D

The GL line was a perfect example of way over-producing.  They had the 7" BAF stuff for their core 7" collectors, the gimmicky 3.75" stuff for the kids, and a "trying to please kids and collectors" 3.75" basic figure line, which featured tons of GLC figures that kids didn't care about and no real bad guy to fight.  Also, those tons of GLC figures were based on movie re-interpretations/versions that comic-readers didn't really like and they had crappy 5-POA that the average 3.75" adult collectors thought was lame. 

Excellent example of trying to serve too many masters (aka throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks).  It's kind of that way with Bridge Directs' Hobbit stuff.  Some 3.75", some 7".  Trying to hit all three markets (kids, 3.75" collectors, 7" collectors), but never satisfying any because it's too spread out.
Editor-in-Chief  - www.JediDefender.com
Follow me on Twitter - @jedidefender / @jlsmentek

Offline Nicklab

  • Jedi General
  • *
  • Posts: 8375
  • Deceived? WHAT?!?!
    • View Profile
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #423 on: November 18, 2013, 12:20 PM »
Star Wars is definitely singular and unique, in just about every way. And it's probably not fair to hold any other toy line against its past performance, even its modern incarnation. SW is an evergreen brand that maintains an aisle presence now going 20 years media support or no. These last few years have been unsuccessful perhaps in contrast to even 5 years ago, but compared to other toy lines? GI Joe for example? Hasbro owns GI Joe and they can't even make that work.

A good measure of what is working is TMNT. This is no doubt the hottest toy line out there right now. It has a weekly TV show, expansive product tie-ins, a legacy brand, and it moves. When Rebels shows up, and the new movies, SW will be fine. It won't be what it was, because it won't be for anyone. But whatever the future of toys is, SW will be a big part of it.

I think that's a reasonable analogy. 

I think we can probably expect some sort of toy offering that's going to interface with a video game platform.  That kind of interactivity is the hot thing right now.  And that's probably why Hasbro has been touting the success of Angry Birds.
"You were entrusted to lead the Republic." - Vote for Ven Zallow from THE OLD REPUBLIC in figure polls!

Feedback

Offline Brian

  • Jedi Sentinel
  • *
  • Posts: 11090
    • View Profile
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #424 on: November 18, 2013, 09:03 PM »
It really is an interesting time for movie tie-in lines.  Like it has been mentioned, Star Wars really has been the exception to the rule.  Maybe we just aren't judging it right, but it sure seems like the majority of these lines sit - a lot - no matter how well their movies do.  It did seem like Avengers did a little better than most, but even those weren't flying away after a bit either.

A lot of it has to do with having so much of this stuff hitting in any given year, whereas Star Wars basically had the aisle to itself and was such a phenomenon that we just won't really experience again with all the competition in the theaters these days.  Plus, as we've talked about before, kids just aren't as engaged with action figures (or at least not as long) as we were as kids.  I think in the 70s/80s, you maybe started in by age 3 and that carried through maybe to 12, 13, 14 (or even into adulthood like many of us).  That doesn't really happen anymore, at least for the most part.

Quote
A good measure of what is working is TMNT. This is no doubt the hottest toy line out there right now. It has a weekly TV show, expansive product tie-ins, a legacy brand, and it moves. When Rebels shows up, and the new movies, SW will be fine. It won't be what it was, because it won't be for anyone. But whatever the future of toys is, SW will be a big part of it.

Darby makes a good point about TMNT as well.  Our daughter has been way into the new show (which is really pretty good), and toys (also good), so I can tell you - at least in our area - these things move off the pegs pretty consistently.  They are good toys, with some nice variety with villains, etc. - a big playset, vehicles of various sizes, not to mention the role play stuff.  I was reading some info from the presentation at SDCC from Playmates, and they mentioned that in the 1988-1990 timeframe when Turtles began and started airing the cartoon that the toys represented 50% of the action figure market.  Crazy.

I wonder if we'll continue to see more conservative approaches with some movie tie ins.  I look at the new Thor movie, and there are only five figures and they've only been at TRU (at least locally).  It seems possible that will be all there is for that line.  Now I'm sure Star Wars will be way more expansive a line, but it will be interesting to see what kind of line it will be by then.  2015 (if the release holds) will be another huge action figure tie-in year with Avengers 2, Batman/Superman, Jurassic Park (I think?), Fantastic Four reboot, Ant Man, and probably others I'm forgetting off hand.

Offline Jeff

  • Administrator
  • Jedi Council Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20407
  • things get damaged
    • View Profile
    • www.JediDefender.com
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #425 on: December 6, 2013, 11:24 AM »
Re: Amazon's crazy pricing

In the last few weeks, Amazon's had 40-60% off deals on various Black Series figures (3.75" and 6"), all the Mission Series 2-packs, and the exclusives - Droid Factory 6-pack, TIE Interceptor, Slave I.  I've seen some twitter comments damning the whole line because Amazon is "blowing out all it's Star Wars stuff", but others just seem to think that it's Amazon trying to spur holiday sales with popular items. 

So, what do you guys think?  Is this a sign that Star Wars isn't selling or just a sign that Amazon loves to have crazy prices on stuff during the holidays?
Editor-in-Chief  - www.JediDefender.com
Follow me on Twitter - @jedidefender / @jlsmentek

Offline Scott

  • Staff Member
  • Jedi Guardian
  • *
  • Posts: 18352
  • Get Some
    • View Profile
    • JediDefender
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #426 on: December 6, 2013, 11:48 AM »
Check out the Top 100 Toys selling right now on Amazon...

Top 100 Action Figures and Playsets

#21 SW Angry Birds Telepods
#49 SW Angry Birds Telepods
#58 SW Angry Birds
#63 Darth Vader Voice Helmet
#80 Darth Tater

Yesterday when I looked 6" Sandy was like #98, but isn't on the list today.  To me that is NOT a good sign as to the health of the line in general.  That said, look at how few action figures outside of TMNT is on that list...I think our beloved action figures are not in favor at all right now.
« Last Edit: December 6, 2013, 11:49 AM by Scott »

Offline Scott

  • Staff Member
  • Jedi Guardian
  • *
  • Posts: 18352
  • Get Some
    • View Profile
    • JediDefender
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #427 on: December 6, 2013, 11:52 AM »
I just saw you can break it down further to just Action Figures:

Top 100 ActioN Figures

I see
#70 6" Sandtrooper
#85 6" R2-D2
#86 4" Darth Vader
#94 6" Darth Maul

Pretty sad :-[

Offline Jeff

  • Administrator
  • Jedi Council Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20407
  • things get damaged
    • View Profile
    • www.JediDefender.com
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #428 on: December 6, 2013, 12:18 PM »
Yeah, the turtles are sitting #15 (Leo), #18 (Raph), #23 (Mikey), and #26 (Don).   All signs everywhere suggest they are the toy line atop the hill the past 18months.

[waits patiently for CHEWIE to roll in here and tell us all how funny it is that the best selling lines on the list (Playskool Heroes, Imaginext, TMNT, Jake/Pirates) have big playsets to go with them :P]

Editor-in-Chief  - www.JediDefender.com
Follow me on Twitter - @jedidefender / @jlsmentek

Offline Greg

  • Jedi Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 1877
    • View Profile
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #429 on: December 6, 2013, 12:51 PM »
Re: Amazon's crazy pricing

In the last few weeks, Amazon's had 40-60% off deals on various Black Series figures (3.75" and 6"), all the Mission Series 2-packs, and the exclusives - Droid Factory 6-pack, TIE Interceptor, Slave I.  I've seen some twitter comments damning the whole line because Amazon is "blowing out all it's Star Wars stuff", but others just seem to think that it's Amazon trying to spur holiday sales with popular items. 

So, what do you guys think?  Is this a sign that Star Wars isn't selling or just a sign that Amazon loves to have crazy prices on stuff during the holidays?

I think it's just Amazon's crazy pricing. They have had similar deals on Lego over the past couple of weeks, and similar deals on Hasbro over the years. I think I got the Republic Shuttle for $17 back in 2011, and I picked up WAAAAAAAAYYYYY too many final TVC wave repack figures for a couple bucks apiece last year. Frankly I'm happy Amazon is offering these great sales, and I hope they continue stocking such a broad range of Star Wars going forward.

Offline Jesse James

  • Staff Member
  • Grand Master
  • *
  • Posts: 31670
  • Slippery When Poopy
    • View Profile
    • JediDefender.com
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #430 on: December 6, 2013, 01:49 PM »
Scott's information is far more solid than pricing...  How many years did we go with things getting clearanced in the supposedly "biggest year for Star Wars ever!", and it really meant nothing.  Wal-Mart dumping things at their stores, discounters getting great stuff...

Sometimes it means things are bad, sometimes it just means someone overordered but the numbers still did well for what Hasbro wanted or needed.

Where did Mission Seires, Legends, and 4" TBS land in that list Scott posted?  At $20 a pop I personally never thought 6" was that great of a formula, when at $10 a pop the basic figures already were struggling...  I'd love to see beyond 100 really.

However, what are Hasbro's goals there?  are they hoping to sell as many 6" figures as they used to sell vehicles?  Or were they hoping to sell as many 6" figures as they did 4" figures, or a number only slightly adjusted from that?

That's the kind of thing ya just don't know.

I also know there's been a bit of an edict handed down since last Summer that 2015's getting far more attention than 2013 and 2014...  that's obvious but there's even more to it than the simplistic "new movies are where we should focus".  And Hasbro's had to deal with that, after being zeroed in on 3D films and things.

Right now I think the line's in a bad place, but I think it's also there with some intent that right now doesn't matter as much as 2 years from now, to them anyway.

Either way, Scott's lists/info shows, I think at least pretty clearly, that stuff for kids trumps stuff for us generally.  People hate hearing that.

Hell, Angry Birds cracking the top 100...  Doesn't that tell anyone that the, "Angry Turds Suck! Why does Hasbro waste their time and $ on those!?!?!?" crowd is at least a LITTLE bit off?
« Last Edit: December 6, 2013, 01:57 PM by Jesse James »
2011 Rebel Fleet Trooper Gets My Seal Of Approval!  But Where's The Friggin' Holster On Him!?
Jedi Defender.com Contributing Editor, Twitter @JediDefender & @Jesse_James77

Offline Darby

  • Jedi Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 3384
  • I like big books and I cannot lie
    • View Profile
    • http://darby-harn.blogspot.com/
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #431 on: December 6, 2013, 01:56 PM »
The general health of the line is something I question, since NOTHING is moving at retail, outside of soemthing 'new.' But then here in Iowa anyhow, nothing moves outside of Turtles. So hard to say. I think SW will be fine, but thank God for HTS - I don't expect to see Wave 3, or 4, of anything at retail at this stage.

Offline Nicklab

  • Jedi General
  • *
  • Posts: 8375
  • Deceived? WHAT?!?!
    • View Profile
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #432 on: December 6, 2013, 02:05 PM »
It does seem that play patterns are shifting towards interactivity with gaming consoles and computers.  When I go into TRU these days I'm struck by the enormity of the Skylanders feature display at the front of the store.  Some 30+ feet of shelf space is dedicated to this particular property, and it seems that popularity is due to how the toys interact with video games.

As for the current spate of sales?  We're in the home stretch of the 2013 retail season.  And we always see significant sales this time of year.  It is worth noting that retail sales stats show that spending in 2013 is DOWN from spending during the 2012 holiday season.  That macro statistic indicates a more broad softness at retail than being isolated to any one intellectual property like Star Wars.

As for Star Wars?  I believe I've said this before, but it bears repeating.  I think we're in a transitional stage.  Hasbro is trying to find the next big thing from a play pattern / marketing standpoint.  And Lucasfilm / Disney are still dealing with the new realities of the corporate takeover.  Much of the licensed future of Star Wars is going to depend on how Episode VII shapes up, along with the upcoming Rebels animated series.

So fear not, Chicken Little.  The sky is not falling.  We're just waiting to see where things are going next.
« Last Edit: December 6, 2013, 02:06 PM by Nicklab »
"You were entrusted to lead the Republic." - Vote for Ven Zallow from THE OLD REPUBLIC in figure polls!

Feedback

Offline Scott

  • Staff Member
  • Jedi Guardian
  • *
  • Posts: 18352
  • Get Some
    • View Profile
    • JediDefender
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #433 on: December 6, 2013, 02:22 PM »
The one arguement against that Nick though is that even within a catagory as broad as "Action Figures" Star Wars isn't even selling that well. 

I know Episode VII is going to be ga ga gangbusters and will have the full spate of product we expect but I agree with you, it isn't going to be the SAME product we expect.  Video game/Interactive model is the now and it is going to happen. 

I also want to reemphasize the point that part of the reason for the decline is lack of media.  TMNT is buoyed by a cartoon, SW has nothing but us, 30-50 year old men with disposable income.  That isn't exactly Hasbro's niche...they want to be more in the Turtle world unfortunately (for us)

Offline Nicklab

  • Jedi General
  • *
  • Posts: 8375
  • Deceived? WHAT?!?!
    • View Profile
Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #434 on: December 6, 2013, 02:52 PM »
I know Episode VII is going to be ga ga gangbusters and will have the full spate of product we expect but I agree with you, it isn't going to be the SAME product we expect.  Video game/Interactive model is the now and it is going to happen. 

I agree.  The action figure model has been running since 1978 as we know it, and that trend appears to be on the decline.  Unless Hasbro can find some way of making those figures & toys interactive with gaming systems.

What I think we're likely to see in the next 1 to 2 years?  The Kinect concept is pretty big with X-Box, and I think we're going to see other consoles pick up that kind of technology.  I think Hasbro is very likely to offer a lightsaber that interacts with these consoles with a game.  Perhaps in a partnership with EA.  And I think Disney can bring those parties together to make something like that happen.

But the lack of media support is also at play here.  However, with the new animated series launching next year I think it's likely that we'll see an uptick in sales.  Will that translate across the board, and not be isolated to just the Rebels series?  We'll have to wait and see.

It's funny though.  I know that in it's time we decried the CommTech reader of 1999 as nothing but a gimmick.  But the concept seemed to be a little bit ahead of it's time.  The concept had some foresight regarding interactivity and media combined with figures.  I suspect that this "New Thing" might actually owe something to the concept behind the CommTech reader.
« Last Edit: December 6, 2013, 02:55 PM by Nicklab »
"You were entrusted to lead the Republic." - Vote for Ven Zallow from THE OLD REPUBLIC in figure polls!

Feedback