Disney must fight the Dark Side of Star Wars licensing

Disney must fight the Dark Side of Star Wars licensing


Analysts believe the movie “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens “could earn perhaps more than US$ 200 million in its opening weekend, and some think merchandise sales could quickly eclipse world-wide box office receipts. It’s Walt Disney Co.’s first turn at using its marketing might on the 38-year-old franchise, and consumers are hard-pressed to find a store without “Star Wars” merchandise this holiday season.

The movie is at its best in its class-reunion moments: Fisher and Hamill lend a spark when their characters appear, and Ford gives the movie lots of heart by reprising Han Solo, once again on the run from intergalactic loan sharks.

The action begins 30 years after “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” the last of the series that wasn’t a prequel. The Empire may have been vanquished, along with Darth Vader, but every age brings new threats and the current one is the First Order, a military junta with legions of Stormtroopers and its own incarnation of deep-dyed evil in Kylo Ren, an extremely bad guy played extremely well by Adam Driver.

On the other side of the gathering conflict are an accidental heroine and a reluctant hero, and they’re both, in their respective ways, brilliant creations.

If movie is receives a good feedback, then chances for it to stay in heart forever are quite high. If not, the glut of products could begin to alienate the hard-core fans that have helped it succeed across generations. Some new products have already delighted old and young fans of the franchise an orange toy droid has been drooled over for months while others have met with bemusement, including a bag of oranges bearing the image of that same droid.

“The movies still drive the mystique. However, over time, all of that merchandising starts to gnaw away at the movies, and if every single one of them is not phenomenal, then some of that over-merchandising starts chipping away at the brand.” – Director of brand strategy consulting firm Vivaldi Partners Group, Philip Ryan

Moreover, the quality of the movie and the two other films in the pipeline, which have planned 2017 and 2019 releases, must support Disney’s marketing drive, according to Ryan.

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I cover technology, utilities and biotechnology for Markets Morning, and I help out occasionally with other industry sectors. I've written about investment and personal finance topics for more than 20 years from a lowly copywriter to editor-in-chief, so I've done a little bit of everything. For what it's worth, I have a BA from Duke University and an MBA from Rollins College. I'm married with one daughter, and that's worth more than everything else put together.