Hollywood Rolls Out Red Carpet For Toys and Games


Sorry, paparazzi. You may be chasing brands instead of stars from now on.

Hollywood studios are investing heavily in toy and game brands, in an effort to capitalize on the power of nostalgia and instant brand-name recognition. The Los Angeles Times reports movie moguls are reallocating money usually spent on big-name stars toward the purchase of established brands such as Asteroids, Stretch Armstrong, Monopoly and Barbie.

Creating movies based on popular toys and games doesn’t reflect much originality or creative depth, but the practice is sound business—particularly in an economy where consumers are reluctant to spend money on the unknown. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” the summer’s top hit movie, was based on action figures from the 1980s. Yes, the toy created Megan Fox, not the other way around.[more]

The formula in Hollywood used to entail adapting a book or play into a movie, and supplementing that with a star to guarantee box office receipts. Now studios are opting instead for brand names that can equal a star’s draw—even if they don’t have much of a storyline in mind. For example, “Battleship”—scheduled for release in July 2011—is based on the board game and little else.

“Brands are the new stars,” says Marc Shmuger, Universal Pictures Chairman.” Chief Executive Stacey Snider of DreamWorks adds, “I think that, for me, it’s as much connected with the feeling evoked by a brand as it is with the brand’s awareness. The most successful brands are those that connect on an emotional level.”

Childhood memories are powerful forces, and the film industry knows how to capitalize on those bonds. Popular toy and game brands have built-in name recognition that evokes emotional responses within people, making them more inclined to identify with a movie.

It’s basic human nature. Just ask G.I. Joe.


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