“The Force Awakens” Merchandising is Off to Good Start

Matt Di Michele, Staff Writer

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Last week’s “Force Friday” event looks as though it will go down in history as one of the most lucrative marketing endeavors to ever take place. All across the United States, a collection of sellers took part in the massive sale that is sure to net Disney billions in revenue.

As soon as the Walt Disney Company bought the rights to Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” franchise for a whopping $4.05 Billion in 2012, fans have been waiting for a major merchandise release. And on September 4th, 2015, the company delivered on this hype. This event is a tie-in to the upcoming cinematic release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the seventh episode of the epic space fantasy saga. The film, which is the first release of a Star Wars movie since 2005’s “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”, has been brewing up quite the anticipation for fans of the series and is expected to break an abundance of box-office records.

But along with making money in theaters, Disney’s newest enterprise is expected to haul in billions of dollars in merchandise. And “Force Friday” is acting as the catalyst for the sales department of the film. The film franchise is not new to making money off of merchandise; according to Forbes, the saga has made over $10 Billion in just toys, books and video games alone leading into this year.

The “Force Friday” celebration has added a large collection of novels, reference books, action figures, and other toys to the “Star Wars” entertainment sphere. One of the biggest releases that Disney had to offer for the event was the BB-8 Droid toy, presented by Sphero. The app-powered robot is actually a character that featured prominently in the teaser trailers for “The Force Awakens”, and consists of a spherical yet maneuverable frame along with a magnetically attached head. Sphero’s CEO, Paul Berberian, told the Denver Post Business that the toy and its ability to update over time, is “the future of play.”

The event has also promised that more is still to come. While most of the merchandise has catered to a younger demographic, other items such as video games are meant to appeal more to teenagers and young adults. Chief among these types of releases is “Star Wars: Battlefront”, a first-person shooter set to release in November for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One gaming systems. A collection of pre-orders and trailers for the game, which has a story that ties into “Episode 7”, were released prior to and on “Force Friday”.

And while most of the sales can certainly be attributed to the hype surrounding “The Force Awakens”, other factors remain at play. For example, the Walt Disney company announced in August that it would be adding “Star Wars” themed additions to its theme parks in California and Florida, according to Disney CEO, Bob Iger, at the D23 Expo.

All of this has culminated into what would seem like one very profitable crusade for Disney, and a very intriguing celebration for “Star Wars” fans everywhere.

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