It was inevitable, wasn’t it. Ahead of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ hitting cinemas this Christmas, the official range of merchandise has hit shelves, and it could be super huge profits for Disney.
Promoted as #ForceFriday, not only has social media gone into overdrive, it seems fans were prepared to queue all night to get their hands on the first batch of ‘The Force Awakens’ toys, ranging from figures, to lightsabres, to remote control droids.
At London’s Disney Store, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley showed up to ramp up the hype machine to maximum, as they signed items and posed for photos.
There was an 18-hour unveiling video on YouTube, which saw a huge social media push as the new items were opened before drooling fans online, as stores opened at midnight with special events guests, cosplay and more, so people could get their hands on the new line of products.
But the massive campaign behind the merchandise will, according to analyst Pipper Jafray, be worth it, because Disney look set to reap some $3 billion this year alone.
The campaign is somewhat unique, not only because the film’s not for almost three months, but because of the sheer effort (and money) Disney are using in prep for the movie.
But apparently a lot of the fans queueing since the early hours were adults rather than kids. Clearly Disney are banking on ‘The Force Awakens’ appealing to children - a generation that missed the prequels, let alone the original trilogy - but also on original fans who are now in their 30s and 40s.
The strategy is to whet the appetites of fans now, which will spur a second wave of hysteria just prior to the film’s release in December. The idea that all this could see Disney pocket an incredible $3b is incredible, with collectors buying entire sets and multiple copies of the same figures in the hope of not only completing their collections, but with the foresight that, in years to come, these things will be worth a small fortune.
But isn’t that what we all thought just before ‘The Phantom Menace’ came out…?
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ hits UK cinemas on 18 December.
Picture credits: Lucasfilm, Disney