Over the course of this year's summer holidays, a total of four movie sequels are being released - Cars 2, Transformers 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and final instalment of the Harry Potter series.
NPD data shows that cinema releases 'play an important role in the toy industry', and in the UK alone, licensed toy sales accounted for 25 per cent of sales value in 2010, boosted by the Toy Story merchandise.
This year appears to be following suit already. Transformers 3 toy sales climbed to become the top property in the UK* after the movie release and the week after, the Cars range overtook in the build-up to the film release on July 22nd.
Meanwhile, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean – with slightly older core target markets – will appeal to broader audiences beyond the traditional toy market.
Frédérique Tutt, toy industry expert for The NPD Group commented: "With an already well established level of awareness with both parents and children, Cars has all the ingredients to be one of 2011’s biggest winners. If Cars 2 delivers as expected, it will become one of the biggest licensed toy lines ever in Europe, and we can easily envisage toy sales across the five major markets in Europe reaching the £172m mark.
"In fact, Transformers 3 is the only other toy line coming to the cinema with sales likely to challenge the success of Cars. Conversely, we predict sales stimulated by the other summer films will be short-lived, as retailers are keen to maintain clean shelves."
Tutt also added a note of caution: "Strong box offices sales don’t always equate to sales of merchandise. Avatar was the biggest box office success of all time, with ticket sales of £1.7bn worldwide, but it only raised £2.3m worth of toy sales in the UK last year."