Author Topic: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?  (Read 18180 times)

Offline Scockery

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #405 on: November 15, 2013, 01:56 PM »
Why were Star Wars sales huge in 2008? Or am I misreading?

The X-Men seem to have lost their luster. No wonder the Wolverine line was 5 crappy 5 POA figures

Offline Jeff

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #406 on: November 15, 2013, 02:13 PM »
2008 = the launch of Clone Wars, both TV show and the CW theatrical movie push.

It also kicked off the mega-vehicle craze with the AT-TE and BMF/Falcon.
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Offline McMetal

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #407 on: November 15, 2013, 02:41 PM »
"nobody beats Hasbro when it comes to bringing an action figure to the market"

unless you live in the United States and wanted that last wave of Clone Wars figures. Or Movie Heroes. Or that online exclusive TVC wave. or, etc etc

It is an interesting piece to be sure. I would like to see a box office/sales graph for The Hobbit...yikes.
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Offline Scockery

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #408 on: November 15, 2013, 06:15 PM »
2008 = the launch of Clone Wars, both TV show and the CW theatrical movie push.

It also kicked off the mega-vehicle craze with the AT-TE and BMF/Falcon.

True, but man the drop off the next year was huge.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #409 on: November 15, 2013, 08:29 PM »
Really?  I felt like 2009 was still a **** ton of product...  Maybe I'm cheap but I kind of like the scale back...  As big as 2008 was how about '07?  Holy cow was that year expensive and as I recall hasbro said it was one of the best years for the line.
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Offline Brian

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #410 on: November 15, 2013, 08:54 PM »
Interesting read....they mention the dropoff in action figure sales - despite the blockbuster movies - is just that there is so much out there these days, which I can see.  One thing that really helped Star Wars was that it stayed in the theaters half the year, and for the most part, it was the only game in town in those days.  Most of the "big" movies from our childhoods (Star Wars, Indy, E.T., Back to the Future, Karate Kid, Goonies, etc.) were movies without toylines (or very small ones).  Star Wars really dominated the movie-franchised stuff back then, and even into the 90s, whereas now there are 3-5 movie supported lines each year from Hasbro alone.  Different world.  It does make me wonder where action figures are headed in another 5-10 years though.

2007 was the TAC collection, and was pretty well received if I remember correctly.  Nice figures, nice accessories, and coins.  I remember that year being a pretty "fun" year to collect.  Like Jesse, I appreciate a more scaled back approach to Star Wars.  I don't need to be tracking down 60-80 figures a year, especially at these prices, and it gets to be burnout at this point.  Plus, although I know it won't happen, I really wish there was one, unified line.  Find that happy medium between the $6 Legends and the $10 Black Series and get a $7 or $8 figure, with 35-40 figures/year.  Easier to keep up with, and I'm sure we'd see more stuff on a movie year.  Of course, if Disney's plans hold, every year will be a movie year once Episode VII hits.  Collecting could really change for us again then, because if we do get a yearly movie, I wonder how much room there will be for OT stuff (or PT stuff for that matter).

They had a topic about this on Yakface the other day as well, about what we'd like to see when the big Episode VII push begins.  I know we'll likely never hit the glory days of ROTS and its $4.99 figures (and pretty nicely done figures even at that), but if we could get back in the $7 or $8 range, and have quality along that TAC collection lines, I think I'd be pretty happy.  It honestly seems like Hasbro is treading water (with 3 3/4" in particular) until the movie(s) start up, or at least Rebels.  Don't get me wrong, there is some neat stuff on the way with that Empire themed wave, but it doesn't seem like those lines - the Black Series in particular - are a top priority right now.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 08:58 PM by Brian »

Offline Muftak

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #411 on: November 15, 2013, 10:56 PM »
I really think the happiest spot we could be in, the ideal situation Big H should be aspiring to create, is one in which there are about 52 unique figures a year that ship in multiple waves and in quantities that would allow the dedicated collector to pick up one new figure a week.

The closest I've come to being able to pull this off was in 2007, and even then I had to cheat by banking figure purchases on weeks I couldn't find anything new for the day I would find a whole new wave. Wouldn't it blow your mind to be able to count on a figure being available the next time you go to the store instead of having to grab them all the first time you see 'em for fear of never finding them again?
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #412 on: November 16, 2013, 05:09 PM »
That was a very stark read.  But it does illustrate through data the growing trends that we've been seeing develop over the past decade. 

The CGI era of movies has left us with an increased number of releases that seem geared towards a considerable licensed merchandise line.  Notably, anchored with action figures/toys.  And I think many of us have been left wondering why some movies had a related toy line, or why a particular movie had as big of a toy line as it did.

Clearly, the retailers are aware of these trends.  Case in point?  The current Hasbro line for Thor - The Dark World.  I've only seen those basic figures at TRU stores.  It seems like other retailers are being far more selective.

If you look at how previous Marvel movie figure lines have performed, it seems very likely that Hasbro over-produced product for Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America - The First Avenger.  Even though those movies did very well at the box office, their action figure lines didn't really follow suit.  Witness Hasbro scaling back on the figure line for The Avengers, which had some of the biggest box office numbers of all time.

I think that the traditional business model which we've grown accustomed to has run it's course.  The market wants something new and different.  What that is is beyond me.  But I can definitely see the potential for toy lines like the ones we've known and celebrated here at JD to make their way over to smaller manufacturers.
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Offline Scockery

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #413 on: November 16, 2013, 05:59 PM »
Really?  I felt like 2009 was still a **** ton of product... 

The sales drop-off on the chart, not the amount of product released.

Offline Muftak

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #414 on: November 16, 2013, 10:03 PM »
If you look at how previous Marvel movie figure lines have performed, it seems very likely that Hasbro over-produced product for Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America - The First Avenger.  Even though those movies did very well at the box office, their action figure lines didn't really follow suit.  Witness Hasbro scaling back on the figure line for The Avengers, which had some of the biggest box office numbers of all time.

I would argue the point that Hasbro went too far afield in the IM2 and Cap film lines...there was far too much non-movie product too early. They need to get a grip on the established play patterns. You need the bad guy available on the shelf to help sell the hero. You need a line that lends itself to collecting them all. 50 versions of one character available on day one or 50 characters available for a movie that only highlighted six of them show Hasbro has forgotten the formula. 10-20 figures as the movie necessitates. When the line is a success you come back to the table to add depth. Repeat until you can't sell anymore.

Part of the reason the Skylanders have been successful thus far is they have been comparatively less expansive and reward the kid who collects them all. Hasbro can compete on that level.

I do wonder what Star Wars will morph into, Skylander-wise, to survive. Will Hasbro retain their license? Or will the action figure line be killed by Disney in favor of phasing the characters into Infinity? It will be interesting to watch.
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Offline Darby

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #415 on: November 16, 2013, 11:54 PM »
Sky landers is probably a good indicator. Witness the emphasis they put on telepods. An interactive element to the toy probably becomes necessary the further we go along. Definitely agree the model we are used to is history.

Offline Nicklab

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #416 on: November 17, 2013, 08:45 AM »
If you look at how previous Marvel movie figure lines have performed, it seems very likely that Hasbro over-produced product for Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America - The First Avenger.  Even though those movies did very well at the box office, their action figure lines didn't really follow suit.  Witness Hasbro scaling back on the figure line for The Avengers, which had some of the biggest box office numbers of all time.

I would argue the point that Hasbro went too far afield in the IM2 and Cap film lines...there was far too much non-movie product too early. They need to get a grip on the established play patterns. You need the bad guy available on the shelf to help sell the hero. You need a line that lends itself to collecting them all. 50 versions of one character available on day one or 50 characters available for a movie that only highlighted six of them show Hasbro has forgotten the formula. 10-20 figures as the movie necessitates. When the line is a success you come back to the table to add depth. Repeat until you can't sell anymore.


We've been down this road in regards to how many hero characters should be released in relation to villains, etc.  There's the argument that movie studios may be intervening in an effort to avoid spoilers, too.  And I agree that from A COLLECTORS STANDPOINT there seem to be too many versions of the hero character and not enough of the villains.  But look at us:  we're Star Wars collectors.  Over time, we've really come to almost fetishize the Imperials!  And that's because they're such classically designed villains.

But back on topic?  What we don't know is how are all of those varying hero figures are actually selling.  Hasbro and the retailers have that sales data, and that data is probably shaping the nature of these lines.

And let's look at one line that DOES have diversity in terms of both hero and villain characters:  The Avengers.  The film was released in April of 2012, and the figures began to be available for at least a month or two before the film's release.  AND it had relative character diversity.  There were only a few versions of each main character.  And in the case of one Iron Man that was just a stretch?  Buyers/collectors essentially passed.  But was this particular line the exception?  It's an interesting thing to look at.  And again, this particular movie could be an anomaly, since it was one of the highest grossing movies in box office history.  But perhaps it is a clear indicator of one one thing:  perhaps a movie needs to be as big as something like Avengers in order to support a toy line.

And that's something that perhaps the toy industry needs to get back to:  making a licensed toy line a special thing.  Because now we're in an age where a large number of summer movies are trying to field a toy line.  Why?  Because there's big money in that sort of licensing agreement.  But I think we're in a spot where things need to be dealt with in some sense of scale.  How do you figure out which movies should offer a proportionally scaled toy line?  That's the tough part.  But I think we're getting there.
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Offline Muftak

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #417 on: November 17, 2013, 09:41 AM »
You're absolutely right...when they went back to basics with the Avengers line it still didn't explode off the shelf. Another line I would have said was perfectly executed was the Star Trek 3 3/4 line...and it tanked horribly. So all I speak from is arm-chair toymaking and looking back on a line as far as its overall kid/collector appeal.

We do approach this through the prism of 1977 Star Wars, where it was the biggest movie ever in an age when movies didn't come home with you except in the form of something else. Oh, and those toys didn't even make it to the shelf until a year after the movie hit. When Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica tried to repeat the success the next year with the same bunch of non-video gaming kids, their toy lines failed too. So maybe its a historical truth that big movies/TV shows have toy lines that bomb, and we are just blinded by the solitary exception.
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Online Dan

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #418 on: November 17, 2013, 11:37 AM »
Most of these movies are targeted at adolescent and adult males- so even though the movie may do blockbuster numbers, that doesn't translate to toy sales. Most of them are based on comic characters, and we all know the average age of a comic book reader is probably pushing 40+.

Movies aimed at kids could sell toys, but they turn off the adult fan base, period (helly-o, jar jar binks). It will definatley be interesting to see what Disney does with this dilemma.

Companies looking to capture profit from kids habits/play patterns are far better off sticking to electronic media with some spin-offs. The rise of wages for factory workers, as well as increased costs for materials and shipping, make the old model of aisles of plastic toys a dinosaur, with far less cream for the skimming. Lego is the exception, but that is due to their niche. They don't depend on someone elses story to sell their products. Whatever they do sell from licensed merch is just gravy on top of gravy.

My kids will reminisce about mario-kart, webkinz, and all kinds of apps they played while they were young. My youngest daughter liked teen titans, avatar, and the clone wars. But she never cared for toys from them. A video game or app? That is what she wants to extend her enjoyment of the original media.

Offline Jeff

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Re: The Future of Star Wars Collecting?
« Reply #419 on: November 18, 2013, 10:22 AM »
So maybe its a historical truth that big movies/TV shows have toy lines that bomb, and we are just blinded by the solitary exception.

Well all the stuff me or my brother loved as kids was either A) Star Wars or b) based on a popular after-school cartoons we watched - GI Joe, Transformers, He-Man, Superfriends, MASK - way more than any movies we saw.  They all, just like Star Wars flicks, had repeat exposure for me.

All the other "blockbusters" of the era that I saw never really captured much of a toy line.  Indiana Jones was probably my second biggest movie toy line as a kid, but even that never really took off.  Maybe you're right and it's just the fact that Star Wars is/was a really special thing and everyone has been chasing it ever since...
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