Marvel 80th Anniversary Exclusive 6-Inch-Scale Hulk Figure from Hasbro.
High demand for “Avengers: Endgame” toys helped Hasbro cruise above earnings estimates in the second quarter, and sent its stock up nearly 9%.
The toymaker has held the master license for Marvel for over a decade, creating products based on the company’s comic book characters and as tie-ins for Disney’s slate of superhero films. And, if Marvel’s upcoming slate is any indication, Hasbro stands to make even more money in the coming years.
Currently, Hasbro’s deal with Disney for the rights to produce Marvel and Star Wars toys will expire at the end of 2020, but the toy company has every intention of renewing both of those deals for years to come, Hasbro told CNBC.
And it’s no surprise. Marvel and Star Wars are two of the top five best-selling toy properties in the world, according to NPD data.
“Quite frankly you’d expect this contract to be renewed because of the long-standing relationship [between the two companies] and the success of the Marvel line,” said Jim Silver, CEO of TTPM, an online toy review site. “In terms of gross sales, it’s a billion-dollar property for Hasbro.”
The toy company has had success turning the characters from Marvel’s films into highly sought after action figures. Hasbro has a core line of figures just for the theatrical releases, but also has “Legends” collector series for the truly passionate fans as well as a line of child-friendly toys as part of its Playskool line.
“Hasbro has done a good job expanding the line for all different ages and demographics,” Silver said.
As it stands, Hasbro will be the toy master for “Black Widow,” “Eternals” and any tie-ins to the Disney+ show “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
Should Hasbro secure an extension to its licensing deal with Disney, it would have access to create toys for “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “WandaVision,” “Loki,” “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” “Hawkeye,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” as well as a number of other films and shows that have yet to be given release dates.
Marvel head Kevin Feige teased sequels for Black Panther and Captain Marvel as well as a third installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Not to mention, Marvel will be doing a “Blade” movie and, likely, a “Fantastic Four” film now that it has repurchased the rights to those characters through its acquisition of Fox.
With great franchises, comes great risk
Of course, any toys Hasbro makes for these films and TV shows are not guaranteed to sell. Richard Gottlieb, CEO of Global Toy Experts, noted that the content of the films and shows will have a huge impact on actual sales.
“[Sales are] really going to rest on how good the movie is,” he said. “There won’t be inherited value from a well-known brand.”
For example, “Justice League” had the makings of a lucrative toy line for rival toymaker Mattel. However, a lackluster movie with a forgettable villain meant toy sales were also flat.
Gottlieb noted that a number of the upcoming films feature characters that are new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While hardcore Marvel fans know who Shang-Chi and the Eternals are, for most of the population they are no-name superheros.
“This is a whole new batch of characters, so we don’t really know how the broader audience will embrace them,” he said.
However, that doesn’t mean their action figures won’t sell. Black Panther was a relatively obscure superhero to non-Marvel fans and, with the success of the film, sold well for Hasbro.
Regardless, “there’s going to be a passionate core who will buy these collector products,” Gottlieb said.