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Merchandising: A very profitable film marketing strategy

Merchandising in the film industry

In the traditional system, after a film premiere, the life of that film is not over, then the film will go to DVD or Blu-ray, a TV release and it might have well-known merchandising products that generate millions of money around the world.

In many movies, they start thinking about merchandising before they even have a final script. How many times have you seen a film and been hooked with one of the main characters or with a garment, tool or doll that appeared on the scene? It is not random.

Two great examples of this phenomenon 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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In Rossscammm we always say that the marketing strategy should start the earliest possible when making a film, even before starting production. This is equally important as thinking on the release in movie theaters or VOD platforms. Making a film costs a lot of money and as more strategies that generate a ROI you have for your film more chances are of getting funds and investors.

Today there are thousands of merchandising options to continue generating benefits over time. From the cheapest and known options as t-shirts and personalized bags to role-playing games, video games or jewelry.

Let’s give 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 talking even about its merchandising strategy. Today you can still buy T-shirts, personalized bags, pictures and a multitude of products related to this film, and do not forget the famous soundtrack that you surely have in mind since I mentioned the title.Titanic merchandising cups This film was a huge success that there have been several documentaries and special programs for TV worldwide 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 in the film world was The Lord of the Rings. Who does not 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 articles from the film and offers at the end of the visit an amount of merchandising objects in its gift shop.

Harry Potter merchandising pijama

There you can buy from the famous boxes of flavored sweets or the chocolate frogs to tunics, scarves or the well-known “Map of the Marauder”. 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, I had to mention this famous saga that has gone around the world several times since the 1970s. 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 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 70s it was not so common to think about this kind of strategies and the film studios lost a lot of money “renouncing” to these rights. Nobody imagined that this story would generate this commercial impact and the thousands of fans that it has today.

That would not have happened in 2019, now it is inconceivable to think of a Hollywood movie without merchandising. Even the studios themselves have their own merchandising bags.

Toy story merchandising dolls

A wonderful example is children’s films. In a few days, Toy Story will be on theaters around the world and right now we can see Disney stores filled with the old and new dolls that will appear in this new movie.

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