For this essay I intend to discuss how Hollywood as an industry has used the marketing strategies of blockbuster films to significant advantage in film merchandising. Along with the use of mass merchandising as a form of marketing films, with the hope of creating awareness among the public.
As merchandising has become one of the most lucrative ‘arenas’ for Hollywood Studios to earn a profit. Many blockbuster films today come with novelisations of the films story to toy action figures. This is because the contemporary Hollywood blockbusters, in industry terms are high concept films. These are movies that have a striking, easily reducible narrative, which offer a high degree of marketability. This marketability might be based upon stars, the match between a star and premise or a subject that is fashionable. For these movies to earn more money in other merchandising, they are normally easily reduced to a single image. Such as a man flying for Superman (1978), or the two robots, R2D2 and C3PO from Star Wars(1978). This reducibility of narrative to a single image lends its self to the tactile representation of the film, that is, the licensed products constructed around the films characters. These licensed products extend the ‘shelf life’ of the movie by replicating the film’s characters, action and settings through the products. Brad Globe, who was the head of Licensing and merchandising for Amblin Entertainment had this comment to say on the phenomenon:
‘Licensing is not just about generating revenues. We’re really very concerned that the licensing program have a positive impact on the movie and create some consumer awareness for the film.’
Although Films have been merchandised since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), merchandising has become increasingly influential within the past two decades as a form of marketing. Within the last decade have the studios initiated in-house merchandising units within their marketing departments.
Looking back through film history, there are several films from the early 1970’s that advanced the influence of film merchandising as a market force. Love Story producer Robert Evans suggested to Erich Segal who had wrote the screen...
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... it has to be answered yes and no. As stated in this essay, merchandising for films creates a high sense of awareness among the public, but also serves as a means for the Studios to generate more money through product placement and various movie tie-ins, from the face of C3P0 on the cups at Burger King to Star Wars comics and toys found in your local shops.
Ali MacGraw “ Moving Pictures” Bantam Books, 1991
Cliff Rothman, “Disney: A Merchandising World Leader” Hollywood Reporter, June 10, 1986
Dale Pollack, Skywalking: The life and films of George Lucas, Harmony Books, 1983
Janet Wasko, “Hollywood in the Informaton Age”Polity Press 1994
Martin A. Grove, “Special Report: Licensing and merchandising” Hollywood Reporter, 1986
Olen J. Earnest, “ Star Wars: A case study of motion picture marketing,” Current research in film: Audiances, economics, and law, vol. 1, ed. Bruce A. Austin. Ablex Publishing Corporation 1983
Steve Neale, Murray Smith, “Contemporary Hollywood Cinema” Routledge 1998
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