Licensing Expo: 'Fault in Our Stars' Merchandise to Get Big International Push (Exclusive)
About three weeks before The Fault in Our Stars became a surprise hit when it opened in theaters June 3, Fox shipped a line of related licensed fashion and lifestyle merchandise featuring sayings from the drama, like "I fell in love with the way you sleep," "Maybe OK will be our always" and "Pain demands to be felt."
Those were used on apparel (from T-shirts to sleepwear), jewelry, gifts and novelties, calendars and greeting cards, with designs.
"Very similar to what happened with the movie, the products are moving incredibly quickly," says Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox Consumer Products. "Since the moment the movie opened, there were retailers who maybe didn't have room before who now have room and want the product in right away. It's really an interesting design approach, and some of these sayings really resonate with our audience."
Godsick said reorders have come from Walmart, Kmart, Wet Seal and Hot Topic stores, such as one in L.A. Westside Pavilion, where Godsick said they are now putting 10 new designs. "It's become a phenomena," says Godsick.
"We really looked at the depth of the movie, the richness of the movie and the sentiment of the movie," Godsick adds. "So mostly all of our designs are driven by these incredible inspirational and deep phrases and sayings and dialogue that's in the movie."
Although the movie fell more than 65 percent in its second weekend in North America, it is doing well in many international markets, helping the low-budget drama gross more than $100 million worldwide already. (The movie reportedly cost $12 million to produce.) It has done especially well in Mexico, Australia and surprisingly in Brazil, where it was counterprogramming to the World Cup.
Godsick is confident it will continue to resonate and is already looking ahead to the home video release, probably sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.
To that end, Fox will be pushing its licensing and merchandising program this week at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, looking to add both categories and licensees, especially outside the U.S. Among those already producing The Fault in Our Stars products are Changes, Hybrid, Trends and Hallmark.
"People don't like it just because it's a movie," says Godsick. "People like it because it says something. It makes them feel a certain way. It shows them it's all right to talk about things people are uneasy talking about but want to talk about. This movie is a rallying call for that."
While The Fault In our Stars is mostly targeted at young females, another licensing line Fox will bring to Licensing Expo is aimed at boys and men ages 12-45. It is a licensed merchandise tied to the TV show The Strain, a vampire horror series created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan for FX, premiering July 13. Del Toro, a Mexican filmmaker and novelist, is known for dark fantasy pictures such as Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim.
Godsick says it already has a buzz because viewers "love Guillermo del Toro. He's got a huge fan base, so they know this is going to be a thriller unlike any they've seen before."
Partners already licensed for The Strain include Fifth Sun (apparel), Mezco (toys), Spirit Halloween (costumes) and Insight Editions (publishing).