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Merchandising in the film industry

Merchandising: A Very Profitable Film Marketing Strategy

The traditional movie-making system never ends after a film premiere. After all, the life of that film has just begun. Traditionally, after a cinematic release, a film will go to DVD or Blu-ray, and a TV release. It also might have well-known merchandising products that generate millions of money around the world.

With many movies, the filmmakers and producers start thinking about merchandising before they even have a final script. Think about it. How many times have you seen a film and been hooked on one of the main characters? Or with a garment, tool or doll that appeared in a scene? This phenomenon is not random. It is highly engineered.

Two great examples of this kind of marketing engineering at work are Star Wars and Harry Potter which, according to the article “Movies that have made more money with merchandising than with movies”, have been the films that have generated the biggest amount of money with their merchandising strategy.

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Our mission, at Rossscammm, is to implement a film’s marketing strategy at the earliest possible moment – preferably even before the film starts production. This is because a film’s marketing strategy is just as important as decisions relating to for example the cinematic, VOD or other streaming platform release date for the film. Making a film costs a lot of money. The more strategies you have in place to generate a ROI on your film the higher your chances are of attracting funds and investors.

Today there are thousands of merchandising options designed to continue generating benefits over time. These range from the cheapest and familiar options – such as t-shirts and personalized bags to role-playing games, video games or jewelry.

Let’s provide some examples to illustrate all of this:

Titanic (1990)

Titanic merchandising t-shirt

One of the first examples of merchandising was the Titanic phenomenon which managed to make 4 times the production cost when it was released in movie theaters. And we are not only talking about its merchandising strategy. Today you can still buy T-shirts, personalized bags, pictures and a multitude of products related to this film. And don’t forget its famous soundtrack which will surely have been providing dramatic background in your mind since the moment we mentioned the title.Titanic merchandising cups This film was such a huge marketing success that it has inspired several documentaries and special programs aired on worldwide TV over the years.

The Lord of the Rings (2001)

The Lord of the Rings merchandising t-shirt

Another film that has marked a before and after milestone in the film world is The Lord of the Rings. Who doesn’t remember the famous single ring for sale in jewelry stores, online stores, comics … or the Argüen´s elf necklace?

Golum merchandising doll

Since then, dolls, re-editions, costumes, swords, sweatshirts, cups …

Harry Potter (2001)

Harry Potter merchandising t-shirt

This particular film developed a prodigious merchandising strategy. About a year ago, Harry Potter: The Exhibition arrived in Madrid – an exhibition that travels around the world showing original items from the film and offering at the end of the visit a sizable amount of merchandising products for sale in its gift shop.

Harry Potter merchandising pijama

There, you can buy treats from the famous boxes of flavored sweets and chocolate frogs. Also on offer are tunics, scarves and well-known “Map of the Marauder”. This is an incredible way to continue generating profits, even 8 years after the first film of the saga premiere.

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars merchandising t-shirt

To conclude, we have to mention this famous saga that has been circulating the globe several times over – ever since the 1970’s. In this case, George Lucas kept the rights of sequels and merchandising for himself. So this director has been earning millions of dollars during all of these years. Shirts, sweatshirts, costumes, dolls, cups, etc. but this film also has (as Harry Potter) lot of sequels that continue appearing video games, Lego toys, amusement parks, etc.

Star Wars merchandising bag

In the 70’s the value of merchandising and pursuing these kind of strategies was not so common as it is today. Consequently, the film studios lost a lot of money “renouncing” to these rights. Nobody imagined that this story would generate the commercial revenue and the thousands of fans that it has today.

Today, it is inconceivable to think of a Hollywood movie without merchandising. Even the studios themselves have their own merchandising bags.

Toy story merchandising dolls

Another wonderful example of successful merchandising is with children’s films. When Toy Story was released in theaters around the world Disney stores filled with both the old and new dolls that appear in this new movie.

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