Welcome to this week’s edition of “Trending Topic Tuesday,” where we share our take on what’s going on in the world and what promotional products would appropriately (or inappropriately) market the subject matter.
According to movie critics, the 2006 animated film Cars was not much of a success – at least not for Disney-Pixar, which put out 6 movies before the release of Cars and never received anything lower than a 91% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. According to that site, Cars only managed to please 74% of critics and 80% of audience members. It wasn’t a failing grade, but it also certainly wasn’t the sort of feedback Disney-Pixar was used to getting.
However, while Cars-inspired promotional products earned Walt Disney Co. more than $8 billion in retail sales of everything from toys to toothpaste and bed frames to bubble gum, a sequel was produced (along with 300+ new Cars 2 branded toys and other items). Despite the fact that the movie has received positive reviews from a mere 33% of critics and 66% of audiences, making it the first Disney-Pixar film to be deemed a “rotten tomato,” Disney expects its Cars 2 promotional products to surpass the $2.8 billion in sales that Toy Story 3 earned last year. Counselor magazine notes that this would make Cars 2 “the largest branded merchandise program ever related to a single movie release.”
I’ve heard personal testaments to how successful Cars promotional items have been from coworkers and friends whose kids have insisted on filling their homes with everything from vitamins to lamps and drapes inspired by Cars characters. If you’ve ever bought a Cars or Cars 2 promotional product, you too have helped contribute to what has been an enormous licensing success for Disney & Pixar, in spite of the not-so-successful films that have inspired these items.
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