Last Updated on January 3, 2020 by Danielle
Star Wars: The Last Jedi toy sales saw lukewarm sales due to a reported ‘error’ on Hasbro’s part – not movie fatigue.
Considering the lukewarm sales of Star Wars merchandise last year, you could say the ‘Force’ wasn’t exactly with Hasbro during its last merchandising push.
Brian Goldner, CEO of Hasbro, admitted it made an error in releasing its Star Wars: The Last Jedi toys too far in advance of the movie’s theatrical release. As a direct result, Star Wars toys experienced disappointing sales during the holiday season. The season was already delivered a heavy blow from Toys R Us’s bankruptcy in September.
Goldner stated: “The fact we began to merchandise the film in September and the film came out in December was just too long a period of time to sustain retail interest.” He added, “An array of entertainment initiatives coming to market,” also didn’t help much either.
Hasbro and Disney were hoping to replicate the enormous success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens from 2015 by also releasing Star Wars The Last Jedi merchandise in September – a span of three months before the Star Wars movie hit theaters.
The main difference is that with the Force Awakens, it was the first film in a new trilogy and there was plenty of pent up demand for all things Star Wars. Moreover, for nearly a decade there were no new Star Wars movies so this was the first Star Wars movie in a very long time. Fans eagerly lined up for midnight openings to get their hands on everything Star Wars related.
Last year, in stark contrast, this same strategy backfired with The Last Jedi plus it was the eighth Star Wars film in the series. Die-hard Star Wars fans came out in September, but then the momentum quickly subsided.
Star Wars toy sales surprisingly declined in 2017 with revenue dropping 2 percent for Q4 2017. Consequently, Hasbro’s shares lost 7.8 percent of their value this year.
Mattel also faced a challenging holiday season with sales nose-diving 12 percent for Q4 2017. For Mattel, other than Barbie, girls’ toys have been performing rather poorly.
With the onslaught of sequels, spinoffs, and reboots, many believe the Star Wars slump can be pinned on franchise fatigue. In fact, consider last year – there were roughly twenty or so of these types of movies. However, Hasbro contends that great storytelling can still drive huge audiences, as is the case with Marvel’s Black Panther.
In just a few weeks, Hasbro has another opportunity to create buzz and excitement for its merchandise tied to Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, this time around Hasbro has learned from its mistakes and will debut Solo Star Wars toys beginning in early April with the motion picture set to hit theaters the following month on May 25th. It surely will be interesting to see whether the ‘Force’ will be on their side this time.
What do our readers think – could movie tie-in fatigue be another underlying factor leading to soft Star Wars merchandise sales? Sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!