From Marvel to Harry Potter; 10 Movie Franchises That Built Empires on Merchandise Sales
Merchandising is the gamechanger!
Popular movie franchises are known to maintain relevance and generate revenues beyond the box office from merchandise sales and partnerships. But you will be surprised to know how high the numbers can reach, and for this list, we are looking into movie franchises that weren't just big hits at the box office but also earned a whole lot from merchandising.
1. Star Wars
Star Wars, holds the Guinness World Record for the most successful film franchise in terms of merchandising. In a typical year, the franchise rakes in close to $5 to $7 billion from merchandise sales alone. They are still selling tons of lightsabers and action figures, and will most likely be holding the top position in the years to come.
2. Marvel Cinematic Universe
Marvel has evolved as a pop culture phenomenon in the past couple of decades, with numerous characters and plotlines for people to stay invested in. It comes as no surprise that the franchise rakes in billions of dollars from merchandising alone. Their merch includes not only traditional products like toys and clothing but also digital offerings such as apps and games, which carried their merchandising sales to $32.2 billion.
Despite claims about the popularity of the franchise decreasing over time, it seems like Disney's Frozen is still making a lot of money from merchandising even today. The franchise that became the highest-grossing animated film of all time still earns revenues with Olaf dolls, Elsa and Anna dresses, and of course the soundtrack. It seems like they will keep making money in the years to come after earning $5 billion from merchandising alone in the first 2 years, as per Toyseen.
4. Jurassic Park
There was a time when no kid's toy chest was complete without at least one dinosaur in it, and these prehistoric reptiles were propelled to popularity by the Jurassic Park franchise. While the overall box office earnings kept dropping with every installment, the fandom is still intact and unlike the dinosaurs, the popularity for them is nowhere close to extinction. The world eagerly waiting for "Jurrasic World," goes to show how much of an impact the franchise has created over the years.
There is hardly anything surprising in this list, and the rise of the dark knight in merchandising is the least surprising of them all. Although the dark world of Batman isn't particularly marketable for kids, there are certain installments like "Batman and Robin" that cater to younger generations. As per multiple sources, the franchise has raked in close to 29.6 billion.
6. Harry Potter
The literary magical world created by J.K Rowling, which had 11-year-olds waiting for a letter from Hogwarts is undoubtedly on this list today. Every Harry Potter fan has invested in a wand or cloak, at least once in their lifetime. According to Forbes, the Harry Potter stores worldwide earn close to $426.1 million each year. According to a report by The Atlantic, The franchise has conjured around $21 billion in business to date.
7. Toy Story
Toy Story may be the easiest to market in this list as the characters are practically toys and attract kids like nothing else. The formula to take objects and turn them into sentient beings works magically here as well. The characters are the reason why people come back to the franchise again and again, even after all these years. Tom Hanks as Woody will always have a special corner in many people's core memory. While the total merchandising earning is unknown, we do know that Toy Story is one of the highest-grossing franchises.
Transformers have been a huge part of life for most 90s kids, and The franchise that started as a Hasbro toy line in the 80s has become one of the most celebrated movie franchises of all time. Its live-action films hit the scene in the early 2000s and effectively created a merchandise brand, which keeps attracting kids and adults alike. The Transformer empire is currently worth $14 billion.
Many people's favorite Pixar movie, "Cars" is still one of the most marketable franchises. The kids are still crazy about Lightning McQueen, with cars becoming the newest attraction for kids who were already captivated by miniature automobiles. Together the "Cars" movies have grossed over $1.4 billion and they have earned an astounding $10 billion in the first five years.
10. Despicable Me
Gru himself is a pretty marketable character, but his little yellow minions are what made this franchise the smashing hit that it is today. It makes total sense why these little plush dolls became a breakout success. As per, Statista, the franchise earned close to $10 billion in merchandise sales.
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