Licensed Toys: A Growing Phenomenon with Year-Round Appeal

August 30, 2012 | Character licenses based on blockbuster movies have the ability to propel products to stratospheric success, creating memories that last a lifetime for millions of fans. Recent sales for licensed toys reflect this growing phenomenon: in 2011, licensed toys and games were up 2% over 2010 and for the first half of 2012 those numbers have climbed further to 27% of total toy sales.

“Kids love bringing movies to life through play, whether they are re-enacting storylines, imagining new plot developments, or emulating their favorite superheroes and villains,” said Adrienne Appell, trend expert at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “Playthings related to the biggest blockbusters are sure to be on the wish lists of kids throughout the year and well into the holiday season.”

TIA has been tracking on its website many of the family friendly movies that have toy and game tie-ins. The following are a few examples from 2012 so far… and a sneak peak at what’s coming this fall:

The Avengers (May 2012)
Toys and games related to The Avengers encourage kids to get into the spirit of the fast-paced movie. Considered by many to be the break-out movie and toy property of the year, strong toy sales are anticipated to continue during the holiday season following the Sept. 25th release of the DVD and Blu-Ray.

  • Bubble Blaster: The Avengers (Imperial Toy)
  • Gamme Strike Hulk (Hasbro)
  • 21” Avengers Skateboard (Bravo Sports)
  • Marvel Mini Basketball Hoop Set (Franklin Sports)
  • The Avengers Mini Muggs Action Figure 2-pack (Hasbro)

Brave (June 2012)
Telling the story of 10th century Scottish archer, Merida, Disney Pixar’s Brave has generated several toys that encourage fans to re-live their favorite plotlines and imagine themselves as the fearless heroine from the movie.

  • Princess Merida’s Musical Bow and Arrow Set (Creative Designs)
  • Merida and Angus Doll Set (Mattel)
  • Merida Toddler Doll (TollyTots)
  • Merida’s Wig Set (Creative Designs)
  • Gem Styling Merida Doll (Mattel)

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 2012)
A classic that has been engaging children for decades, Spider-Man made a comeback this summer, along with a slew of products that encourage little ones to be creative and role-play with friends.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man Mega Blaster Web Shooter with Glove Set (Hasbro)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Digital Camcorder (Sakar International)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Electronic Hero FX Mask (Hasbro)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Remote Control Speed-Climbing Spider-Man Figure (Hasbro)

Ice Age: Continental Drift (July 2012)
From stuffed animals based on characters to games that the entire family can enjoy together, toys based on Ice Age: Continental Drift foster an emotional, tactile bond with the popular franchise.

  • Ice Age: Continental Drift Mini Plush Dolls (Just Play)
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift Fishing Game (Cardinal Industries)
  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for Nintendo DS (Activision)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (August 2012)
2012 marked the return of Diary of a Wimpy Kid – along with a new crop of toys! Products based on this book series and movie include educational puzzles and games that connect the consumer with protagonist Greg Heffley.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Action Figure (Funko)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days Poster (TNT Media Group
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch Game (Pressman)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Scrabble (Fundex Games)

Coming Soon…
Finding Nemo 3D
 (September 2012); Hotel Transylvania (September 2012); Frankenweenie (October 2012);Wreck it Ralph (November 2012); Rise of the Guardians (November 2012); and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 2012). [Check the “Movies” section of in the coming weeks for related product lines ]

These are just a few examples of the many toys and games based on Hollywood blockbusters … and that are part of the larger licensed toys category with product tie-ins to TV shows, celebrities, apps, videogames, and more. Visit the “Toys and Trends” section of regularly for up-to-date information.