Mr. Rant asks, “why are there so many movie toys?”

The G.I. Joe section at my Wal-Mart sure seems crowded lately. All I want to do is go to my local Wal-mart/TRU/Target and pick up the newest GI Joe figures, but I can’t. I’m sure my readers know why. There’s no room for anything new. All the first run movie toys are still fermenting away on the pegs like house guests that didn’t get the hint that it’s time to go.

I know I’m not the only one having this problem. Sure, the GI Joe movie was good, much better than Transformers at least. And, unlike most movie-based toy lines, the GI Joe line actually has some well-sculpted figures, great accessories, and good quality control. The only problem is that every time I go to a store I get to stare at a Joe section that’s choking on figures that came out months ago.

Now, I understand that toy companies try to sell as many movie figures as quickly as possible. The tie-in window for a movie isn’t very long. I get it. So why do these companies continue to make three or four or five more waves while first two crowd the pegs? Granted, G.I. Joe is a bigger franchise than most movie lines – it will go on – but why do movie lines try to produce figures past the expiration date of the film’s relevance?

Normally, this doesn’t bother me. I didn’t care to have Mongul and Metallo from the Superman movie (hint, they weren’t in it) anyway. I wasn’t sorely missing the 5” Deathstroke from The Dark Knight. But sometimes it is annoying. I want some of these new Joes. My Indiana Jones collection will always be lacking. And Dark Knight Movie Masters? What a nightmare…

I guess what I’m telling toy companies, all toy companies, is to plan intelligently for more than a couple movie waves and get the important stuff out. If you’re going to leave a line half done and manage to barely ship out any cases of the an assortment after the movie leaves the public consciousness, then don’t even bother trying to keep it going. Let it die and save us the grief ahead of time.

  • Mattel – if Two-Face is a major villain, make him in the first wave. If you have to keep his look “secret”, then plan for a wave to hit around the time the movie debuts. And don’t ship the same handful of figures in different ratios! I don’t need fourteen of the same Batman to fight my one Joker and his one goon.
  • Playmates – if you make a build-a-bridge playset, and one piece comes with each character, make sure all those characters actually make it to stores. If any kids got into that line, all the figures will surely die a quick death when they can’t raise shields because they didn’t get that console (and, no, having them at an online store half a year later doesn’t count). Looks like the Romulans will have an ongoing advantage there. And don’t even get me started on Terminator toys – I don’t know if any ended up missing because I couldn’t get past the various “not Christian Bale” John Connors.
  • Hasbro – this is a little different, but you cancelled the sleek looking animated toys and the awesomely retro TF Classics line to bring me Mudflap and Skids as an Ice Cream truck, some ugly motorcycle robots that you can’t keep straight, and Soundwave, just because you wanted to see how bad a satellite Transformer could pegwarm. And then there’s GI Joe, which I have to admit, you’ve made some great figures for that movie. And you’ve got more great figures coming up, but what good is it if those wave five figures have to peak through the mountain of leftovers from your overproduced earlier waves? I’m ready for POC, but you’re going to have be ready to do something to get those pegs clear.

So, toy companies, in the future, you need to plan your movie lines a little better. Lets’ face it, a lot better. Even one of the most wildly successful movie lines, Pixar’s Cars, had to survive an empty peg disaster of epic proportions to get where it is today.

Anyway, no movie’s fervor will last forever, so don’t treat it like it will. Cars being the exception to the rule, of course. How many of those things are there?

-Mr. Rant

25 thoughts on “Mr. Rant asks, “why are there so many movie toys?”

  1. First!

    I thought the Ice Cream truck transformer was cute! And you got two robots to boot.

    I always wonder what happens to the old movie toys after they finally disappear. Where did all the Indy stuff go? Where will all the Trek stuff go?

  2. Just because I like to bitch sometimes, I went to Walmart finally today, they had a Captain Cold and Kid Flash on the pegs. Just 2 DCUC figs…and they’re old…suxxorz.

    Then I saw like 10 Desert Scarletts, SCORE! But Walmart has them for $8. Fuck you, Walmart. Too bad there’s no Target near where I’m staying tonight.

  3. I loathe movie action figures. A movie is not an excuse for a toy company to throw out two dozen piles of plastic crap in unheard of quantities that languish on store shelves.

    I have been forced to accept that these must have a good profit margin since the toy stores allow the companies to keep doing it to them over and over. It baffles the mind to think that it “works”, but it must.

    Next year we get to be treated to more Iron Man, Prince of Persia, and Avatar piling up. I won’t count Toy Story since, like Cars, that appears to be immune. But the others will fill up feature areas and then sink back to the aisle. Probably next to the Star Trek figures that are stil there from this year.

    1. And there’s no excuse for Mattel here. I can’t believe how long the Dark Knight Movie Masters and Pixar Cars pegs were empty in their release years. The two times they didn’t expect to need a bunch of product right away and they were wrong on both counts.

  4. I hate movie product. Nine times outta 10 they’re garbage. I liked Movie Masters, but Mattel drove that line into the ground and I will NOT PAY $30 a freakin’ figure

  5. I’m gonna sound like a lunatic here, but the unfinished toyline that I miss is Small Soldiers. We never got the last two members of the Commando Elite.

    1. Did they make all the Gorgonites? I know the movie was only a few years ago, but I’m pulling a blank. I think it was Link and Butch were unmade Soldiers, but I thought some Gorgonites went unproduced.

  6. Jurassic Park toys. I can’t begin to tell you how much stuff Kenner showed and never followed through on. They were Bandai before they were Bandai.

  7. I take it everybody here has the full endcap of unclearance Star Trek toys sitting on the back of one of the endcaps in the toy section?

    Playmates is announcing all these new things, but sooner or later they have to face the music about the current stock.

  8. The Iron Man movie seemed to kinda/sorta keep on chugging, but I never found half of the armors. They still have peg space over a year later though.

  9. I picked up a batch of Star Trek figures, and the bridge, at deep clearance. And yet I’m still like 7-10 pieces away from completing the bridge. I’ve bought a couple, marked down to a dollar, just for the consoles; and my son and I might ‘customize’ the spares into other crew members…with Sharpies.

  10. Star Trek toys were a total bust this year. My local stores still have pegs with the same bad toys or they super-clearanced it out and now don’t even stock Trek. Transformers toys move more obviously, but I agree that it is unfortunate that the animated and classic styles had to completely get the boot and now it seems that he movie toys aren’t moving like they did previously. The GI Joes have also been overstocked and most of my stores never got past the original releases after restocking once or twice. Terminator was a huge toy problem too. The only toys I see move at a brisk pace are Star Wars, Marvel Universe, DCUC (when new ones are released – not the greatest hits ones that peg warm), and I’m sure there are a few other lines that do decent business that I don’t keep track of.

    1. Cars does pretty good. I don’t know how Mattel managed to land that gold mine or a product and not cave it in yet.

        1. They’re lenticular. Holo eyes might be interesting, but they’d look wrong. Besides, that’s only one part of the line. It’s going on strong.

      1. I don’t know a super exclusive day for cars at K-MART!! That doesn’t sound like something any sane company would do….

  11. the thing i don’t get is the production stategy… you can always make more if a toy proves to be really hot… but you can’t unmake them if they suck.

    for example, by all accounts, the GI joe movie stuff were decent figs… until they revive sigma six, i’m not a joe fan anymore, but i hear good things… but you can only produce so many heavy duty’s. (the following numbers are entirely made up for example purpose) if we made 100,000 heavy duty for the movie line in his initial production run, why not make 75,000 and if the character goes ape-crazy in popularity, release another 25,000 in two-packs, or w/ different accessories… that way, the initial prod run is uniqe and has an after market life, but for kids who just love heavy duty, there’ll be one along shortly to fill the need. wouldn’t that make more financial sense than bidding 100,000 units of a fig who turned out to have a 25,000 personal fan base?

    lastly, i think the movie tie-in properties could be promoted better. wanna move more gi joe figs? price them as is, include a dollar off coupon for purchase of the impending DVD… package the duke toothbrush w/ a coupon for a free tube of gi joe toothpaste. advertise the thermos inside the lunchbox (since we’re anathema to include them anymore), buy two t-shirts & get a rebate on the shoes… this is how you tie the property together, lure the parents into buying ALL the stuff.

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