This story first appeared in the Dec. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
In June, Walt Disney invested an undisclosed amount of money in Sphero, a maker of robotic toys. The following month, the company got a visit from Robert Iger, who took out his phone and showed Sphero CEO Paul Berberian some on-set photos of BB-8. “You already make stuff like this, right?” the Disney CEO asked Berberian, pointing to the bubble-shaped droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Fast-forward seven months, and the BB-8 by Sphero, a toy robot standing 4½ inches high and selling for $150, arguably is the hottest piece of Force Awakens merchandise. Sphero is private, so Berberian won’t disclose sales figures, but he says the company is making “hundreds of thousands” of units per month.
So if Sphero’s BB-8 is the holy grail of Force Awakens gear, what might end up at the opposite end of the spectrum? With Wall Street estimating worldwide merchandise sales of $5 billion in the first year, there’s plenty of oddball pieces to choose from, including the $80 Furbacca (remember the ’90s sensation Furby?) from Hasbro, a $60 piece of BB-8 rolling luggage, a $180 Jedi Master Kickboxer punching bag, Star Wars Limited Edition lipstick and mascara ($35 for both) and, yes, adult underwear for $35 a pop.
If you’re nostalgic for the ’90s Furby doll, then maybe Furbacca is up your alley.
Read more from THR’s Star Wars issue:
- How ‘Star Wars’ Will Change Hollywood (Again)
- Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy on What George Lucas Thinks of ‘Force Awakens,’ Rivalry With Husband Frank Marshall
- The “Jackie Robinson of Jedis”: ‘Black-ish’ Creator Anoints ‘Star Wars’ Star John Boyega
- Inside the ‘Star Wars’ Writers Room: Meet the 5 Architects of the Franchise
- An Oscar-Winning Composer’s Ode to John Williams and the ‘Star Wars’ Score (Guest Column)
- ‘Star Wars’ Flashback: When No Theater Wanted to Show the Movie in 1977
- When ‘Star Wars’ Script Was First Shopped: Read the Surprising Memo