"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Disney is combining its video game and toy divisions, reflecting the increasing overlap between the two with such projects as Disney Infinity, the less successful Imagicademy and the recently unveiled Playmation.
Announced Monday, the restructuring sees Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive merge to form Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, overseen by the heads of the former units. Although some employees will be shifted into new roles, The New York Times reports there won’t be any layoffs.
Not content with its conquest of cinemas and the direct market, Marvel has now turned its attention to home appliances. Small appliances, but still …
Soon, fans will be able to eat waffles emblazoned with Thor’s hammer, Iron Man’s mask, Captain America’s shield and Hulk’s fist, prepared — where else? — in an Avengers-themed waffle maker from Select Brands. The company is also developing Marvel-inspired toasters, single-serve coffeemakers and more.
Marvel has partnered with Disney Consumer Products to kick off “Marvel Super Hero September,” an ambitious national marketing campaign showcasing the company’s characters — and its brand. Marvelkids.com is being relaunched as part of the effort.
Timed to coincide with Marvel’s 75th anniversary celebration, the initiative encourages the public to “Power Up Like a Marvel Super Hero,” while spotlighting some of the properties that aren’t heating up the box office at the moment. It’s the first of what’s envisioned as an annual event.
Disney Consumer Products struck deals with more than 50 companies for Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise, ensuring store shelves are stocked with everything from a Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon Figure to the LEGO Milano Spaceship Rescue Building Set to the Rocket Raccoon Suit-Up Backpack.
But somehow, nobody thought to license — spoiler alert? — a dancing Baby Groot.
As 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.”
Publishing | Matthew Garrahan’s profile of reclusive Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is somewhat sharper than the Los Angeles Times story linked last week, as it includes accusations that the 69-year-old billionaire threatened an employee, made a racially insensitive remark, and maneuvered Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney and three other executives (all African-American women who reportedly referred to themselves as “The Help”) out of their jobs. Nikki Finke follows up at Deadline with details of Disney and Marvel’s attempts at damage control, as well as the news that Disney has settled with the three former execs. [Financial Times]
Retailing | Comics shop veteran Amanda Emmert, executive director of the retailers’ association ComicsPRO and owner of Muse Comics in Colorado Springs, talks about retailing, the health of the industry, and the popular perception of comics shops as men’s clubs: “I have new customers who walk in and tell me how strange it is for a woman to work in a comic book store or a gaming store. Their experience comes more from watching The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory, as you pointed out, than from seeing a great number of stores, though. I am very lucky to work for ComicsPRO; I get to work with hundreds of stores around the country, a large percentage of which are owned or operated by women.” [Colorado Springs Gazette]