Hollywood looks to toys for big screen hits

DCM’s commercial director Joe Evea looks at how the success of The LEGO Movie now has Hollywood sniffing around our industry for further inspiration.
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After the phenomenal success of The LEGO Movie, it is no surprise that both filmmakers and toymakers are looking to build on this success.

The impact of a cinema hit can really pay dividends for toy brands.

While Warner Bros. is already planning a sequel to The LEGO Movie for 2017, LEGO itself is reportedly building on the success with plans to move into new markets.

We have all experienced the magic of cinema; its immersive environment and the shared experience that allows us to escape into another world, thanks to the very best storytelling devices, state-of-the-art cinematography and special effects.

The toy industry has also always been about stimulating the imagination, learning through play and encouraging children to develop their own stories through the toys they love.

It seems a natural progression to bring these to life on the big screen.

A trip to the cinema has always been a treat, but it’s also an increasingly rare opportunity for a parent and child to sit down together, switch off the outside world and just lose themselves in what they see in front of them.

Brand association with this captivating and engaging environment can also deliver returns, with research showing that recall from one single ad spot is eight times greater on cinema than on TV.

The recent arrival of digital technology has further revolutionised the cinema-going experience for families today.

The advent of CGI and 3D cinematography, coupled with innovations in surround sound with Dolby Atmos and even 4D cinema experiences evoking smell, taste, touch or Cineworld’s moving DBox seats, means children can watch the unimaginable brought to life in a live action format, where previously only animation was feasible.

Everything is more realistic and more believable than ever before.

At the same time, digital distribution makes it easier to plan, schedule and deliver content in cinemas. Slashed production costs and lead times, along with the ability to book ad spots by the day or rotate copy to support different products have made cinema advertising more accessible and more flexible for toy brands.

Besides the potential for showcasing content on the big screen, brands, such as Mattel’s Max Steel, have recognised opportunities to deliver multi-platform marketing activities before and after the movie.

Whether taking ownership of a cinema’s kids’ club property or bringing a cinema foyer to life, toy brands can drive footfall to their due to the proximity of cinemas to retail centres.

Enabling cinemagoers to really engage with your brand is paramount and it is heartening to see these more and more innovative partnerships between the film and toy industries.


EDITOR'S COMMENT: Inventors on the big screen

When Ruth Handler unveiled the first Barbie doll at the 1959 Toy Fair, it was a concept that challenged the mindset of a generation. With word of a biopic on the toy inventor emerging from Hollywood, Robert Hutchins looks at why it's a story that needs to be told.

Big screen beckons for Mattel Creations

The new division has a slate spanning live-action movies, video games, TV shows based on the American Girl and Barbie brands, as well as feature-length specials for Fireman Sam, Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder.

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Euromonitor’s Robert Porter explores the potential ramifications of Mattel’s acquisition of Mega Brands across the world’s largest regions for traditional toys and games.

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