While the comic industry may fret that the box office success of movies like Iron Man, The Dark Knight and Hellboy 2 won't translate into higher sales for the original comics that brought the franchises to life, that's not something that keeps the characters' publishers awake at night. After all, who didn't leave Iron Man ready to go and give their hard-earned dollars to whoever could help them look like Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts?
Ahead of today's opening of the New York Licensing International Expo, The Hollywood Reporter looked at what it means to have a successful superhero movie these days:
"On a big movie, you probably will find something related to the movie, whether it's a product or promotion, in almost every major retail outlet you could imagine," said Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, which will be trumpeting its Batman lineup at the licensing show. "We have our core companies like Target, Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, Kmart. all names cq Then you have more specialized stores," including Neiman Marcus, which has upped the merchandising ante by selling fashion-plausible T-shirts for $40 each.
Another example of upscale merchandising is Estee Lauder, which got into the Iron Man game. A page on the beauty company's Web site offers tips on how women can achieve the look of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Iron Man alter ego Tony Stark's sexy spokesperson.
"With the amount of activity surrounding our properties, it's enabled us to create a resurgence in the marketplace for superheroes in general," [Marvel's president of consumer products, Brad] Gitter said. "Unlike in the 1990s, where you didn't have many superhero films, now you have a tremendous amount of marketing, theatrical activity, animation, theme parks, product expansion and other synergies in place to really ride the market."
No matter how cynical you might think you are about today's blockbuster movies, there's always something like this that appears and makes you even less convinced that anyone working in media today has any pure love of telling stories anymore, isn't there?
Cheryl Rubin, senior vp brand management at DC Comics, said she sees no end in sight for superhero blockbusters.
"2007 proved that 10% of domestic boxoffice gross was based on comic books and graphic novels," she said. "Consumers love superheroes."
As superheroes proliferate onscreen and off, consumers could suffer from superfatigue as the movies begin to turn to second- or even third-tier characters.
That saturation point doesn't appear to be on the near horizon, though.
All I'm saying is, it's a sad, sad day when you feel nostalgic for the days of Prince doing "Batdance" every time you turned on the radio.
Superheroes bulk up on licensing deals [Hollywood Reporter]