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Thread: Toy Line Disasters

  1. #1
    Quester JonWes's Avatar
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    Toy Line Disasters

    So, while at TRU today, I noticed the MIB3 figures are already on clearance! I know these things aren't always national with these chains, but I could hardly believe it. These figures have been out for less than a month here. I know the movie didn't seem to have much heat, but I was shocked at how fast they went from being released to being on clearance. I wonder if it's some kind of record. Poor Jakks Pacific.

    So, it got me thinking... what are the biggest toy line disasters in your opinion?

  2. #2
    Super Powered Mod! markatisu's Avatar
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    Thundercats 2011-2012 is currently the biggest disaster I have ever witnessed

    The others are all movie based (see below my thoughts)

    2. Dragonball Z the Movie
    3. Tron Legacy
    4. Avatar the movie by Mattel

    I don't really consider movie toys as true disasters, they are budgeted to fail and most only ever sell on clearance. I was actually amazed MIB3 got a toy line approved, the 2nd movie just about killed the franchise and it has been dormant for years.
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  3. #3
    Quester JonWes's Avatar
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    I'd agree on #2 for sure.

    Not sure about #3 and #4 though, though this is just from the viewpoint of an observer. For both of those, we got quite a few waves with a fairly representative mix of characters. With the case of Avatar, it seemed like it sold through okay and stock didn't linger much after it went on clearance. It's not like MIB3 where the stock seems virtually untouched. Now, I guess you could argue one of the biggest movies of all time box-office-wise should have had a more successful toy line and it was cut short.

    I guess Tron Legacy did turn out pretty badly. There did seem to be a TON Of stock that ended up in discount stores. If I were to nominate two bigger failures in recent years from movie toy lines I'd go with:

    1. Star Trek
    2. Terminator Salvation

    Playmates had a one-two punch in the same summer of toy lines that went nowhere. There are STILL Star Trek toys at my TRU. They have virtually given them away for free and no dice. As a former die hard Trekker I was very sad to see that.

    But you're right, movie toys are almost too easy of a mark. If I were to pick some non-movie toy line disasters they'd be:

    1. Thundercats (really only because of the expectations and the inflated accounts of early sales.)
    2. Secret Saturdays (Poor Mattel.)
    3. Generator Rex (Poor, Poor Mattel.)
    4. Redikai (not sure about the spelling, but these seem to have come and gone in a second.)

    Toys are a tough business and kids are tough customers!

  4. #4
    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    I'm collecting some 200x stuff right now, but two of the lines you pointed are lines that I am collecting right now LOL.

    I think TRON Legacy was a mixture of too many darth vader looking guys and a series of screw-ups by Spin Master. You've got Quorra helmeted only, no figure for Gem, Castor cancelled, Kevin Flynn hard to get for who knows what reason, Deluxe Sam Flynn that looks more like CLU, etc. They did not even make the 2 figures that the kid has in his hand at the beginning of the movie

    I think TCATS is a situation where collectors didn't buy Bandai as a legit company for making an "adult collector's" line. Lack of sales and interest forced Bandai to keep downsizing the figure scale.
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  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior
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    In the 90's Capital Critters- brilliant idea doing the toys out of the foam material, bad idea being no kids watched it and the line went on clearance nationwide within a week of it going on sale.

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    Super Powered Mod! markatisu's Avatar
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    Poor Mattel, Poor Poor Mattel...LOL @ JonWes are we seeing a theme

    I put Avatar up there because I still see Avatar toys on clearance around here, and for a film that broke every record in the book and played for months to fail that badly should never happen

    I don't count Terminator Salvation because that movie should have never had a toyline, it was aimed at Adults in both nature and story but yet they put Kids toys out?!?! Even the best Terminator movie (T2) was not a kids movie

    So Playmates just lucked out I guess with licenses, Star Trek should have done better but it just did not resonate I guess
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  7. #7
    Monster High Crazy Detective Lubic's Avatar
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    Green Lantern and Young Justice another Mattel mess up and I dont have a whole lot of hope for the Dark Knight Rises stuff..but as someone just said Movie Lines rarely sell well. Maybe Mattel should just stick to Dolls and Hot wheels.. Besides MOTUC and DC Universe.. The "Boy" Toy lines dont sell well in recent times.
    Last edited by Detective Lubic; June 21, 2012 at 12:12am.

  8. #8
    Realist. Deal with it. Lord Anubis's Avatar
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    The tron stuff always sold out near me. Those were really great toys too, its just a shame they didnt expand that line. They did a nice job with making the toys different and stand out.

    Green Lantern, Iron Man 2 are the worst culprits. Stores will be eating that stuff for years. I do kinda feel the Dark Knight Rises 4 inch line will go that way. All of them look like bootlegs. The last 4 inch line of Dark Knight actually looked good for little articulation, these are REALLY bad.
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  9. #9
    Heroic Warrior ShowerPowerFrosta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    I think TRON Legacy was a mixture of too many darth vader looking guys and a series of screw-ups by Spin Master. You've got Quorra helmeted only, no figure for Gem, Castor cancelled, Kevin Flynn hard to get for who knows what reason, Deluxe Sam Flynn that looks more like CLU, etc. They did not even make the 2 figures that the kid has in his hand at the beginning of the movie
    The figures were all too similar with the helmeted heads. Unhelmeted Quorra, Gem, and Zeus would have been really cool. The vehicles actually sold out pretty quickly around here. I had a hard time finding the white lightcycle for a while. Though now I see them quite often in other places.

    And I agree about the Terminator Salvation toys. Why were they even made?

  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior Sky Breaker's Avatar
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    Has there ever been a highly successful movie toy line? The hype tends to fizzle out a few months after the movie has been released as there is nothing to drive sales and keep the characters fresh and alive in the minds of children.

    With kids moving away from plastic action figures and becoming digital, I can't imagine any future toy line based on a movie doing well.

    Remember Green Lantern? It was being blown out for $5 on Blu-Ray last boxing day, only weeks after its release. Just because its new, doesn't meant its good.

  11. #11
    Quester JonWes's Avatar
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    Well, Star Wars.

    I know people don't think so because of the peg warmers, but actually I think Iron Man 2 was a very successful toy line. They seemed to have shifted a TON of stock even though there is a lot left. What is left is just the result of bad case ratios. I think Thor and Captain America were sort of middling. But Avengers seems to be doing very well. I think retailers ordered fairly conservatively because of leftover IM and Thor stock, but they still ordered. And around here anyway no one can keep anything in stock except some of the comics figures like Ultimate Thor and Hawkeye.

    And, of course, there was a time when many more of them were successful, back when action figures in general did better.

  12. #12
    Illumina & Cat please! Darkspecter's Avatar
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    I think Batman, Batman Returns and Batman & Robin toys sold well. They were always sold out everywhere I went! The new Batman movies...not so much.
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  13. #13
    Heroic Warrior
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    Got an action figure line to tie in to movies? NECA, NECA and NECA again! Only NECA should touch movies action figure lines. I'd even buy a NECA 'Battlefield Earth' line! Mattel's movie masters, where every face from Dana to Harvey Dent looks like Adam Sandler in different prostheses, are a total disaster.

    Someone mentioned Playmates' line for 'JJ Abrams' Star Trek. How awful were they, especially compared to the Art Asylum figures or Playmates 1990s line? Ridiculous.

    As for lines that failed but were actually pretty good, I'd go with the 'Bucky O' Hare' figures of the early nineties and 'Toxic Crusaders'. Both excellent.

  14. #14
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  15. #15
    Super Powered Mod! markatisu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Breaker View Post
    Has there ever been a highly successful movie toy line? The hype tends to fizzle out a few months after the movie has been released as there is nothing to drive sales and keep the characters fresh and alive in the minds of children.

    With kids moving away from plastic action figures and becoming digital, I can't imagine any future toy line based on a movie doing well.

    Remember Green Lantern? It was being blown out for $5 on Blu-Ray last boxing day, only weeks after its release. Just because its new, doesn't meant its good.
    Here are some recent movie lines that did great business

    Star Wars Prequels, Iron Man 2, the Avengers 6" Movie Line, TMNT (2007), Transformers (2007)
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  16. #16
    Cobra Saboteur Firefly's Avatar
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    I think Bravestarr was kind of a disaster back in the day. They rushed the toys out before the cartoon came out, so it had no support. I also think they made the figures too big.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gragar View Post
    Got an action figure line to tie in to movies? NECA, NECA and NECA again! Only NECA should touch movies action figure lines. I'd even buy a NECA 'Battlefield Earth' line! Mattel's movie masters, where every face from Dana to Harvey Dent looks like Adam Sandler in different prostheses, are a total disaster.

    Someone mentioned Playmates' line for 'JJ Abrams' Star Trek. How awful were they, especially compared to the Art Asylum figures or Playmates 1990s line? Ridiculous.

    As for lines that failed but were actually pretty good, I'd go with the 'Bucky O' Hare' figures of the early nineties and 'Toxic Crusaders'. Both excellent.
    Bucky O' Hare did really well in the UK market of all things. I know stateside that the Toxic Crusader toyline actually did fairly good numbers but they picked a time when the market was shifting from TMNT to Power Rangers and it ultimately cost them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    I think Bravestarr was kind of a disaster back in the day. They rushed the toys out before the cartoon came out, so it had no support. I also think they made the figures too big.
    I agree with this. As a kid I remember seeing these and being perplexed as to why they were so oversized and "stumpy" looking.

  18. #18
    Heroic Warrior
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    Earliest disaster I can remember was 'Dune' - David Lynch had not made that film for kids so when LJN came out with the toys hardly anyone bought them - big collectors' items now, though.



    There have been completely missed opportunites too - what were the Louis Letterier WB 'Clash/Wrath of the Titans' films if not ready made to sell toys - yet they had nothing, just one NECA Perseus figure. No Medusa, no giant Kraken playset. I think they're very lame reimagining of Calibos was a Rubies costume and mask set but that was it.

    'John Carter' I think would also have been immensely helped by toys - if a large boxed 'White Ape', some Tharks and Riders or John Carter NECA figures had been tantalizing geeks on pegs in the lead up to the movie I think it would have had better returns.

    As for the Nolan Batman films - well, he's all about inner character and plot. I love the Dark Knight films but, surprisingly, there's little in them that actually cry-out "action figure". I'm saving my Batman pennies for the awesome DC Direct 'Arkham Asylum/City' figures which have become, for me, the definitive Batman figure range.

  19. #19
    Heroic Warrior
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    Anybody remember Sky Commanders from Kenner? They had these back backs and vehicles that traveled along zip lines. Each figure had a "lifline" bunge cord. I had a few as a kid and they were fun as heck. I would string there ziplines up all over the place. They had a short lived cartoon from Hanna Barbera.

  20. #20
    Clown Prince of Darkness Benedict Judas Hel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Breaker View Post
    Has there ever been a highly successful movie toy line?
    Quote Originally Posted by JonWes View Post
    Well, Star Wars.
    Pfft. That toyline was a flop. I don't know anybody who collects that line or even heard of it.
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  21. #21
    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    I think some of the movie lines are only disasters in the fact they tend to overproduce and sales don't meet that apparent expectation. If they had lower production they would probably appear to at least do a bit better.
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  22. #22
    No Rio? We Riot! TheFallen's Avatar
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    Jazzwares Street Fighter. Most Jazzwares products are pretty bad.

    Shocker Toys Metalocalypse toys and many other attempts at toylines. I was on the fwoosh at the time Geoff Beckett was there posting and stirring up trouble. It was a very enjoyable read.

    If I am not mistaken, the words Shocker Toys were censored on the board at one stage. They still haven't released their much promised Mr. Gone figure from the Indie Spotlight line.

  23. #23
    In disguise! Barbecue17's Avatar
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    Green Lantern definitely comes to mind.

    Interesting to remember that the first Nightmare Before Christmas toys were pretty much a retail failure. Then they took on a second life on the aftermarket and everything NBC took off!

    Remember that Shaquille O'neil line from back in the 90's? Those things set around quite awhile.

    G.I. Joe Extreme was a pretty massive disaster.

    Star Trek and Terminator Salvation were both quite weak. Not sure if it was a disaster, but the A-Team line for the new film was certainly much weaker than it could have been. I think more effort might have made a line that resonated with 1/18th and G.I. Joe collectors.

    Waterworld toys seemed to flop hard. I remember getting those for pennies at Target.

    Trendmasters put out lots of lines back mid-late 90's that seemed to go nowhere.
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  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyldman11 View Post
    I think some of the movie lines are only disasters in the fact they tend to overproduce and sales don't meet that apparent expectation. If they had lower production they would probably appear to at least do a bit better.
    I would add the fact that they are overproduced with different versions of the same character. It really isn't any fun for kids to have 6 different Captain Americas fighting 1 bad guy. I think that was the appeal of Star Wars back in the day was all of the individual character choices.

  25. #25
    Cheap Repaint FAKER II's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear-at-Arms View Post
    Anybody remember Sky Commanders from Kenner? They had these back backs and vehicles that traveled along zip lines. Each figure had a "lifline" bunge cord. I had a few as a kid and they were fun as heck. I would string there ziplines up all over the place. They had a short lived cartoon from Hanna Barbera.
    I just recently bought one that was almost complete at a comic shop for about $3.
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