WBCP and DC Entertainment have revealed plans for an extensive licensing programme to support their much-anticipated superhero team-up film Justice League, but can DC’s young franchise steal the consumer products top spot from sitting champions, Marvel?
DC hasn’t had the easiest road in establishing its cinematic universe. While within DC’s ranks is arguably the greatest superhero film series of all time in the Dark Knight trilogy, the new universe to follow lacked the focus of Disney’s MCU and early attempts at bringing the heroes together in Batman vs Superman had mixed results. However, Warner Bros seemed more willing to take risks and from this came the summer’s biggest hit Wonder Woman.
Now, with a robust and far reaching licensing campaign set to support November’s big screen team-up, could DC be poised to snatch the top spot from Marvel?
Should Justice League prove a runaway success in the vein of Wonder Woman, it's certainly possible but how likely is that to happen? With Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman director Zack Snyder at the helm, the film is unlikely to score as well with critics as Patty Jenkin’s rip-roaring Wonder Woman, however the fun factor of the movie could well be boosted by Avengers scribe Joss Whedon, who has been brought on board to help punch up the film’s script.
Meanwhile, the cultural impact of all these iconic characters being brought together on screen for the first cannot be denied. While Marvel’s slate of heroes has brought consistent quality to the screen over the last few years, since the first Avengers movie, the firm has failed to deliver an event that can match this scale, which is where Justice League could find the advantage. With the full roster of heroes including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg brought together on screen for the first time, DC could be set to win over a new generation of fans, one that has not grown up with Marvel movies.
WBCP has made a smart move in almost using its merchandising line-up as a way to build hype for the films, a strategy that Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox pioneered with its Star Wars series back in the early 2000s. DC is going head on with Marvel in the toys space with partners on board including Mattel, Lego, Rubie’s Costumes and Jakks Pacific. Not to neglect the older fans from teens to adults, there is also set to be an enviable line-up of collectibles with partners including Funko, Hot Toys and Japanese figure-makers Kotobukiya.
Of course, it's unrealistic to expect DC to knock Marvel off its perch over night, but for the first time the super-powered company have a true rival in the superhero space and a bit of healthy competition is no bad thing. Disney’s roster is gearing up for some high-profile launches of its own, with Thor: Ragnorak prepping for a wide-reaching campaign of its own and Avengers: Infinity War right around the corner in 2018. For your latest updates on the merchandising campaigns on both sides of the superhero wars, remember to keep reading Licensing.biz. Let the battles begin!