Robot 6

Is Rocket Raccoon poised to become Marvel’s Mickey Mouse?

guardians1As Marvel prepares for the August premiere of its biggest movie gamble to date, Guardians of the Galaxy, we’ve seen its publishing division reposition what once was an oddball, third-tier concept as a first-rate, if still oddball, franchise, first with the flagship title written by Brian Michael Bendis and next with Rocket Raccoon by Skottie Young.

As interesting as that transformation may be, I’m utterly fascinated by how Marvel’s parent company Disney has gone all in on merchandising an adaptation of a comic that, this time last year, no one outside fan circles had ever heard of. Granted, with the production budget for Guardians of the Galaxy in the neighborhood of $150 million (and probably nearly that much for marketing), the studio can’t afford to be timid.

Still, Disney Consumer Products has lined up more than 50 licensees, from Hasbro and LEGO to Mad Engine and Freeze, for what it views as Marvel’s Next Big Thing, at least as far as merchandise is concerned.

“It is always exciting to launch something new in consumer products, as we did with Iron Man in 2008,” Paul Gitter, senior vice president of licensing for Marvel at Disney Consumer Products, said in a statement. “By showcasing what is unique about this amazing new film we are able to develop a third Marvel franchise that can be at retail alongside our powerhouse franchises of The Avengers and Spider-Man. Continuing to diversify the Marvel offerings for consumers is a key strategy of ours.”

OK, that quote may be a little much, but if you scrape away the gushing PR talk, you’re left with Disney anticipating what had been a fringe property, even among comics readers, to take its place alongside its merchandising heavy-hitters.

Some scoffed in August 2009, when Disney trumpeted its acquisition of Marvel and “its portfolio of over 5,000 characters” (a tally that’s grown to more than 8,000, thanks to the diligence of Disney interns), insisting that only a relative handful of the publisher’s superheroes not already licensed by other studios were viable for film. But two months before Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in theaters, the entertainment giant already sees its claim bearing fruit.

And a certain space-faring, kid-friendly critter who’s solo title launches in July — just as the studio’s marketing push kicks into high gear — could become the standard-bearer. “Rocket Raccoon is poised to distinguish himself as a true breakout character,” the Disney press release states, “and licensees have risen to the expected demand with a range of Rocket inspired products.”

Directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy opens Aug. 1.

ENT_SUMINC14_019_GOTG_ALLOVER

guardians2

News From Our Partners

Comments

18 Comments

No. Spider-Man will always be Marvel’s Mickey Mouse.

I don’t think you’ll see Mickey Mouse adjusting his junk. Which was edited out of the most recent kid friendly trailer. Will that make it into the final cut of the film? Probably not.

Even though people might not have heard of the GotG before all the trailers came out, the same sure can’t be said for Rocket, seeing as how he first appeared outside of print materials in Marvel vs Capcom 3 back in 2011. And judging by the title of the article, that’s what the contents of the article should have focused on, instead of the whole team.

I too have noticed the heavy marketing focus on just Rocket Racoon.

1) Disney are obsessed with tapping to SCFI/Adventure market (hence Tron, John Carter, Star Wars) and GOG film was clearly a Disney idea rather then Marvel Idea. Lets be honest here, Marvel has cancelled GOG plenty of times before in 1990/2000 (the last cancellation was undeserved but sales where not strong enough) and barely used many of its characters in other books. Other marvel characters are safer bets for commercial success as a film.
I imagine the idea of talking Racoon was just to tempting for Disney and its merchandise machine who have a great track record with films about talking animals (Although I’m surprised they didn’t “Disney Eye” him)

2) Its risky business to attempt to force a character on the audience, its possible the audience will not “get” a talking Racoon and favour another character, perhaps Drax will steal the show. It reminds me a lot of Jar Jar, Lucasfilm put so much focus on Jar Jar but audiences did not accept him (can you blame them?)

the merchandise focus on Rocket to me seems like a bad idea at least for the first film. Right now, I don’t think Rocket will be Marvel’s Mickey Mouse, In fact I’d argue that role has been taken by Robert Downey Jr

It’s the only reason Disney bought into the character.It’s all about the toys. Jar Jar was great and he’ll be back too.

where can I find that sweet Star-Lord tank?

“BLAM! Murdered you!”

Yeah, that’s a great catchphrase for a childrens’ character.

Nathanial, it’s part of a line of ’80s-inspired Star-Lord apparel from Freeze.

From all the trailers for GoG I’ve seen, Rocket Raccoon seems really out of place. Not so much because of his physical form or size, but the voice actor. Who is this voice actor and why thought it was a good idea that a little space raccoon murder terrorist have the voice of a middle age, blatantly white dudebro? That voice over is really awkward to hear all on its own, but coming out of a bipedal raccoon alien gun nut is too much.

There should be coffee mugs, for sure.

His name is Bradley cooper. And he’s an amazing actor to get for the voice of a taking raccoon.

@MrHangman Kids love that kind of shit.

What I really wanna know is when are the Rocket Raccoon plushies coming out? I know that a plushy of a talking raccoon is too much to pass up!

Disney didn’t push Guardians, Marvel did. And they did it not because they had faith in the concept, but without Spider-man, X-Men, or the FF, they had to scrounge around for a new franchise.

Anybody notice that they mentioned Spidey and Avengers as the only profitable licenses for merchandise? There’s your reason why X-Men (and F4) are being ignored/canceled in comics and animation in favor of these other franchises. Not some petty issues between Marvel and Fox but merchandise money. Back in the 90’s X-Men were everywhere and yet now that Marvel no longer can get all the money from the merchandise they’ve completely forgotten that X-Men exist. Kind of sad.

But about Rocket Raccoon. Apparently RR comic had 300k pre-orders so who knows. I don’t think that RR will surpass Spidey as the company mascot but he will certainly be a contender.

I just find it kind of sad that most great comics that are well written sell about 20-60k, huge mega events that lack substance and are full of mischaracterization and characters being OOC sell 100k and then something like RR sells 300k, not necessarily because it’s good but simply because some sexual deviants need material to jerk off to.

@Greg, maybe Rocket could be Marvel’s Donald Duck, then.

Either way, I wouldn’t mind a long-running series of cartoon shorts.

“a certain space-faring, kid-friendly critter”

Rocket and “kid-friendly” just don’t sound like they belong in the same sentence.

Liberty Vallance

June 18, 2014 at 10:19 am

The thing with most Marvel super-heroes is that they are killers.

Cap, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, all the way to Rocket Raccoon posing with a gun.

Most of Marvel’s characters are ‘assassins’ that have reformed, etc. and they usually get away with murder. As long as they are not the baddest of the bad guys.

Is this the kind of kid-friendly merch Disney is looking to push world-wide ?

,

Leave a Comment

 


Browse the Robot 6 Archives