Through this arrangement, Marvel owns the IP for the superheroes and Hasbro has the benefit of selling & marketing action figures and assorted accessories like the Hulk’s fists, Captain America’s shield and Iron Man’s mask (I hear there is even a Hawkeye bow). All this due to an opportunistic multi-year licensing agreement signed between Hasbro and Marvel a few months prior to the latter’s acquisition by Walt Disney Co.
These two companies are focused on utilizing their brands in the digital age. Just look at the movies – they are huge moneymakers – Hasbro’s three Transformers movies sold close to $3B at the box office, while the Spiderman franchise sold $2.5B in tickets. And the party continues – Hasbro has Battleship & GI Joe II lined up. Expectations are high for follow on movies expected in 2013 – 2014 with Thor II, Captain America II and Iron Man III. The success of the Avengers will surely result in an Avengers II.
Besides movies these companies continue to leverage their portfolio. Marvel’s library of 8,000 characters and Hasbro’s portfolio of 1,500 brands serve as the fuel for growth. Hasbro’s transformation centers on becoming a “Branded Play Company”, shifting some focus away from selling physical toys and games (Monopoly, Candyland, Jenga) to digital based assets as highlighted by The New York Times
As of May 9th, the Avengers franchise has taken in over $600M of ticket sales, smashing box records across the globe according to The Wall Street Journal, boosting Walt Disney shares after its John Carter debacle.
It’s great to see these two companies connected just as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow “connect” to Avenge the earth.