Disney's Mike Stagg on this year's toy plans for Star Wars and Marvel

For fans the world over, 2015’s release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens made for a monumental moment. Now, with new Marvel releases, a Frozen sequel and more Star Wars to come, Disney promises that the next few years will be no different. Robert Hutchins talks to Mike Stagg, The Walt Disney Company’s vice president and general manager, retail UK and Ireland, about the its plans to top the toy charts this year.
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How was 2015 for Disney in the toy space? What where the big successes of the year?

2015 was a very busy and successful year for us, with both Star Wars and Frozen topping the toy charts once again.

The year also saw multiple launches across our business, from the latest interactive video game Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits to Disney Tsum Ysum.

We are really excited about the ongoing success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, what an exciting way to have ended the year and begin 2016.

What can toy retailers get excited about this year?

This year will see a very diverse and exciting film slate from The Walt Disney Company, with new movies and content in the form of Zootopia and Finding Dory as well as live action classics with The Jungle Book and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

We also have a slate of action movies, including Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, all of which will provide incremental sales opportunities for our licensees and retailers across multiple toy and consumer categories.

We expect another big year for Star Wars, Frozen and Disney Princess.

What activity is planned for Captain America: Civil War next year?

With the film out in April, we can expect to see exciting new licensing and retail opportunities across multiple categories for Marvel overall. More will be revealed in the coming months as we draw closer to the film’s release.

What toy plans have you got for the wider Marvel portfolio this year?

We are excited about what next year will bring for Marvel. With the new Captain America film coming out as well as Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, we will see exciting new licensing and retail opportunities across multiple categories.

Did the global reaction to last year’s Star Wars Force Friday surprise you?

Force Friday was a highly anticipated and big moment for Star Wars. It was a great global event at retail that delighted fans the world over.

While fans counted down to ‘Midnight Madness’ when the product became available for the first time, we saw huge numbers of people queuing outside stores throughout the world to be the first to own a piece of the new consumer product range.

What will Star Wars achieve in the toy space for 2016?

Star Wars remains the most successful film licensing franchise of all time and its heritage in toys is embraced as much as the films themselves.

2015 ended with demand for Star Wars: The Force Awakens product being very high and we expect to see this grow even further this year.

The franchise offers endless opportunities for licensees and retailers that will continue to flow from the abundance of content in the coming years.

This includes season three of Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD as well as the first film in the new standalone Star Wars stories series, Rogue One in cinemas this December.

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