Disney, Marvel Supersize Licensing for Thor, Captain America


The characters from "The Avengers" get their own movies and licensing programs that are expected to keep merchandise in the market until the next Avengers movie in 2015.

Marvel Entertainment and Disney Consumer Products have done a heroic job licensing a range of products and merchandise for the upcoming tentpole movies Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier in a campaign designed to bridge the market through summer 2015, when The Avengers: Age of Ultron is released.

Thor and Captain America were both characters in the blockbuster movie The Avengers, which last year became the third-highest-grossing movie of all time and spawned a spate of licensing, helping Disney rack up an industry high $39.3 billion in licensing in 2012 (for all of its movies, including animated properties).

Thor products are already hitting stores in anticipation of the movie's wide opening Nov. 8, with toys from Captain America expected to be at retail in the spring in anticipation of Winter Soldier's release on April 4, 2014.

FILM REVIEW: Thor: The Dark World

“Our strategy for The Avengers has been designed to elevate the franchise into the quintessential boys brand at retail 365 days a year. These upcoming tentpole films provide great opportunities to turn up the volume on merchandising support around key characters and the team overall,” said Paul Gitter, senior vp licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products (DCP).

Steven Ekstract, group publisher of License! Global magazine, said that Disney, through its stores, theme parks and sales to retail outlets, is the world’s largest licensor of movie-related products. He estimates that all of the Avengers-related licensed properties have sold about $2 billion at retail.

Thor’s licenses include consumer products from more than 75 partners led by Hasbro, Disguise, Funko, Turtle Beach, Upper Deck, NECA, Mad Engine, New Era and Cafepress.com. Top products include Hasbro’s action figures and role-play items, Funko Pop! Vinyl Bobble Heads, Halloween costumes from Disguise, Turtle Beach headphones, men’s T-shirts from Mad Engine, and designer hats from New Era and Berkshire.

Captain America already has more than 125 partners including Hasbro, Lego, Hallmark, Sideshow, Funko, Pez, Mad Engine, C-Life, Berkshire and Under Armour. That includes toys, games and role-play items from Hasbro, party goods from Hallmark, confections from Pez, and performance apparel from Under Armour.