This week, Billy Langsworthy looks at some alternative film properties that toy inventors could turn their attention to.

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Alternative movie toys

Toys based on big movies and TV shows are a cornerstone of the industry but this weekend, the summer blockbuster season draws to an end with the welcome sight of Tom Cruise hanging off a plane.

In toy terms, most of the major big screen hitters have already graced the screen. We’ve had The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Shaun the Sheep: The Movie, Cinderella, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Home.

Elsewhere, the likes of Minions, Jurassic World, Ant-Man and Inside Out (the best film of the year so far in my humble opinion) are still making big bucks in cinemas across the country.

And the toys are doing well too. LEGO told ToyNews recently that its Jurassic World sets were performing better than expected, Minions recently knocked Frozen off its icy perch to become the top-selling licence for the British toy market, and even the Vermont Teddy Bear Company found itself selling out of Fifty Shades of Grey Teddy Bears (fear not, they’re back in stock now here, although the price tag alone presents its own brand of pain).

Of course, still to come and boasting toy potential are movies like Hotel Transylvania 2, Jem and the Holograms, The Peanuts Movie, The Good Dinosaur and of course, the big one, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

But has the industry missed a trick? There have been loads of movies out this year ripe for toy tie-ins that have gone without. Maybe it’s up to you, the wonderful inventor community, to highlight what we’ve missed out on.

So here, I’m unashamedly indulging my love of movies to present the case for some films I feel deserved to be given the toy treatment.

They may not all be child-friendly (don’t fret, I’ve left The Human Centipede Part 3 well alone), or boast huge audiences, but I reckon they’d make brilliant toys and if you come to this year’s Inventors Workshop having created one of the below, I’ll buy you a milkshake:

1. Whiplash – Roll Along Wooden Drumming Miles Teller

In my mind, this works like one of those wooden drumming soldiers on wheels that hits the drums as you pull it along. Only, rather than a wooden soldier, it’s a pint sized version of Miles Teller’s bruised and bloody jazz student Andrew. There’s also potential for an plush of JK Simmons that screams ‘Not my tempo’ when you squeeze his hand.

2. Birdman Action Figure

While Iron Man, Captain America and Ant-Man are sitting on toy shelves in different forms, the greatest movie superhero of 2015 is instead resigned to a life on DVD and Blu-ray. Fox Searchlight did actually create a one-off Birdman action figure as a competition prize, but as the above spoof advert shows, it deserved a proper run.

3. Mad Max Fury Road play-sets

Whether as a set of limited edition Hot Wheels cars, a LEGO set or a Scalextric-style play-set, the chance to recreate some of Fury Road’s more insane car chases would be an offer to good to refuse. Still not sure of Max’s toy potential, check out these Mad Max meets My Little Pony creations. I rest my case.

4. Foxcatcher – Rock’em Sock’em Wrestlers

Now there wasn’t much room for levity in the Oscar-nominated tale of John du Pont’s tragic 1986 recruitment of wrestler Mark Schultz, but that’s where toys come in. Whether it’s Steve Carell and his great fake nose taking on Channing Tatum’s Mark Schultz or Mark Ruffalo’s Dave Schultz, it’s a Rock’em Sock’em Wrestlers set for people who would never be seen dead playing Rock’em Sock’em Robots.

5. Creep – Peachfuzz Dress Up

Now this one you might not have seen unless you’re a bit of a horror fan, but one of the year’s cult genre offerings (and now available on Netflix) is Creep. The film sees videographer Aaron answer a cryptic Craigslist advert from Josef who looking to be recorded throughout the day. Naturally, Josef reveals himself to be quite the odd character but a moment destined to become a future Halloween fancy dress costume classic is when Josef reveals that his father liked to don a mask and dress as Peachfuzz, a friendly wolf. It sounds odd but you heard it here first dress-up firms. This Halloween, Peachfuzz masks will be all the rage.

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