The Star Wars merchandise machine is a force to be reckoned with, there’s no doubt about it.
It’s pretty well understood that a good portion of the Star Wars franchise’s success comes from it’s merchandising. In fact, if you regard Episodes I-III as a stand-alone series, the merchandising was far more successful than the films themselves.
All credit to George Lucas for inventing this galaxy far, far away that we all love, but if his last four movies prove us correct he’s a far better marketer than he is a director.
Think about it. A New Hope is often credited as the first blockbuster and a milestone for movie promotion (no one knew what it was upon its release) and The Empire Strikes Back had fans ravenous from the moment it was announced.
Even when Return of the Jedi all but flopped, (ewoks taking down imperial troops isn’t believable in any universe) it was the merchandising that carried forth hundreds of iterations of everything from LEGOs to furniture. Part of me still wants a Millennium Falcon bed.
That same merchandising power was used during the next installment of the saga to propel the marketing machine even further.
According to Wired, the Star Wars franchise has made an estimated 33 billion dollars.
While the majority of that revenue was generated from A New Hope, it pays to mention that the largest revenue provider overall is not the box office or home videos, but toys—almost half the total revenue at a whopping $15 billion. If you include video games as well, the number jumps to almost $20 billion, four times as much as all the box office totals combined. You can see the whole breakdown here.
Impressed by Georgie boy’s merchandising magic yet? Just wait. He’s about to pull off a god damn hat trick. With JJ Abrams at the helm directing the upcoming relaunch, and Disney’s evil galactic empire doing it’s bidding, Lucasfilm can focus on what it does best—making money.
According to Forbes, The Force Awakens will make $500 million in its opening weekend and will most likely reach the $1.5 billion mark in ticket sales. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Star Wars merchandise is predicted to generate $5 billion dollars in revenue, with $3 billion of that coming in 2015 alone, most likely due to our obsession with Black Friday and binge-shopping for the holidays.
“Analysts predict Star Wars merch will generate some $3 billion in sales in 2015, and $5 billion over the next 12 months. Disney kicked up its marketing to a higher level Sept. 4 with Force Friday, an engineered shopping day pegged to the launch of a new line of Star Wars toys. It produced holiday-esque sales that bettered Amazon’s Prime Day and neared Black Friday levels, even without any deals, according to Adobe. There were 15 million visits to websites selling Star Wars products between September and November, Adobe says.”
To put that in perspective, this movie alone beat out Amazon.com’s discount day and Black Friday without ANY DEALS, will account for a third of all merchandise sold in the last 38 years, and will make $6.5 billion in its first year — bringing the running Star Wars profitability number to about $40 billion.
But as with everything profitable, people get greedy. And while Star Wars merchandise makes money, there is such a thing as too much. Handing out the rights for your newest masterpiece to any brand with the funds is a pretty big sacrifice to your artistic integrity and pretty soulless in general. If Lucasfilm really is in the business of making movies like they claim, some of the following product mash-ups would not exist.
But in this writer’s humble opinion, The Force Awakens has stepped into the unholy land of sellout-ism and raised the bar of merchandise mania to cloud-city levels. Sometimes your brand lends itself to a nice tie-in, sometimes it doesn’t.
And these my friends, do not. Here are the worst Star Wars product tie-ins, ranked from bad to shitty.
The Worst Star Wars Merchandise
I guess it’s pretty cool they managed to line up their flavors with characters from the movie and designed unique packaging (as you can see in the feature image above), but somehow I doubt anyone will be collecting one-of-a-kind Star Wars coffee creamers.
This kind of stuff appeals more to kids than adults, and you really shouldn’t give your children coffee even with a shit ton of creamer in it.
There have been Star Wars branded cereals since the first trilogy, so that’s nothing new. But something about that f***ing bee wearing Darth Vader gear makes me mad. Also, is he even in this movie? Hasn’t he been dead for quite some time now? I swear to god if that bee gave away a spoiler…
Specifically, “Dark Side” children’s spoons, for your evil demon spawn. Get them on the path to the dark side immediately after they stop teething.
Sith Lord or not, you still have to take your shoes off to go through security.
I really dig that brands and retailers have finally caught on that girls like Star Wars just as much as (sometimes more than) guys do. There’s a whole generation (ours) who had Dads grow up with the franchise and indoctrinated their children, so really the series should know no gender.
That being said, a whole line of Cover Girl products “inspired” by The Force Awakens is a bit of a stretch. It really looks like they just slapped a logo on some new shades of eye shadow, lipstick, and nail polish and called it a day. Pretty pathetic.
To be fair, you could put pretty much anything on the back of a plastic basketball hoop, but I’m really missing the connection between basketball and intergalactic warfare.
Pin the Tail game
Pin the… side on the… force… Fun game, MOM.
This is something that could be built with tape and very few pieces of paper. (Retail Value $16.99)
Take time off from murdering your enemies and vaporizing planets to enjoy a fine herbal tea—because even Galactic Emperors need some me time.
I’m also really bothered that it’s shaped like the Death Star, which is (probably) not even in this movie.
Here’s a perfect example where “Why Not?” should be answered with a harsh, “BUT WHY THOUGH” when it comes to product branding. It’s bottled water. It has absolutely no flavor, no character, or any defining qualities.
“Should we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to put Star Wars on our shitty plastic packaging for no reason other than to capitalize on a movie release? Sure, why not?”— Some guy definitely said.
Star Wars: The Fruit Awakens. Yes, there is Star Wars branded bag produce. No one is safe. But here’s the thing, I get the Droid is orange, and Yoda is green like grapes, but why is Darth Vader on the apples? Are apples evil? Is there something I should know?
Mr. Potato Head
Even these guys got in on it. What do potatoes have to do with intergalactic warfare? Everything apparently. They’re all pretty bad, but I have to say Chewbacca gets the worst of it after they renamed him “Chipbacca.”
Stop. Leave Chewbacca alone.
Good Lord. This is just haunting. #WookieLivesMatter
This hybrid of Furby and Chewbacca must be some sick crossbreeding experiment built with the sole purpose of haunting the dreams of children randomly in the middle of the night.
Where is your God now, Star Wars fanboys?