GLENDALE, Calif. — Following American International Toy Fair in New York, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) today announced its 2015 plans for Marvel and its key franchises including The Avengers and Spider-Man. This year will see the roll out one of its biggest-ever licensing programs around Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, expansion in high potential categories including female fashion and healthy lifestyle, the launch of new animated content and innovative marketing initiatives to drive the brand 365 days a year globally.
“Marvel has become a super-brand in its own right thanks to its outstanding universe of aspirational, relatable characters and the incredibly broad appeal of not only its movies but its comics, books, apps, games and TV series, that continually deliver epic storytelling with action, heart and humor. We’re excited to build on this huge momentum and the incredible buzz around the next Avengers movie with a series of product initiatives appealing to fans of all ages,” said Josh Silverman, executive vice president, global licensing at Disney Consumer Products.
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron program captures the popularity of the overall Avengers team as well as distinguishing the core characters in fresh new ways. Marvel is working closely with licensees and top brands – such as Hasbro, LEGO, Hot Wheels, Funko and more – to develop innovative products that expand the storytelling of the franchise and with key retailers to create unique retail programs tied to the highly anticipated film. Through 2015 and beyond, Marvel’s campaigns focuses beyond movie events, with an eye toward new animation on Disney XD and a new MarvelKids.com microsite where kids can regularly interact with the characters and experience new content.
Spider-Man is leaping to new heights thanks to the animated success of Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriors airing on Disney XD. Introducing a full team of spider-themed Super Hero personalities in the series including Agent Venom, Iron Spider, Spider-Girl and Spider-Man 2099, the franchise extension offers new opportunities for retail and licensees. In an effort to support Spider-Man in a variety of categories, 2015 will mark a dedicated focus on action sports and fashion forward apparel for fans of all ages. The plans will help pave the way for the iconic webslinger to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe following a new deal with Sony.
The astronomical success of the first Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy film is just the beginning for this popular franchise. Following the film’s success, Marvel is building a long-term strategy, starting with the new animated TV series set to debut on Disney XD later this year. Marvel is also expanding the franchise’s licensing program with both current licensees – who are extending their existing lines – and a number of new partners who see the long-term potential in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
The predominate characters of the Marvel Universe also headline some of Marvel’s premier comic books including The Avengers, All-New Captain America, Superior Iron Man, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and brand new critically-acclaimed hits like Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, Ant-Man, and many more. 2015 is also on track to be recording setting for Marvel with the highly anticipated mega-event, Secret Wars, thelargest Publishing Event in Marvel’s history, which is receiving cross company support including a consumer products program targeting teen and adult collectors.
Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) will continue to bring Marvel Super Heroes to life through books, magazines, partworks, kids apps, and eBooks in support of all Marvel Studios feature films, Marvel Animated television shows, and Classic versions of Marvel’s iconic characters. In addition to publishing over 4,000 Marvel books and magazines in 30 languages for the next generation of fans, DPW will extend its print and digital program to include Young Adult and Middle Grade novels based on Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man franchises—as well as kids and family friendly apps.
This year will also see the debut of Marvel’s Daredevil, the first of several series slated for production on Netflix; the company recently announced Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are also in development. Each of the series will be supported by an encompassing Marvel Knights merchandise program that will open new opportunities for product lines in with more sophisticated and edgy fashion style, as well as new collector focused opportunities, aimed at teen and adult fans.
All of these programs will be supported by a corporate-wide interest in fostering an active and healthy lifestyle for kids by building an extensive roster of new partners in nutritious foods and sporting goods. Under Armour, Sage Fruit, Conagra granola bars, Crunchpak and Chobani are some of the latest offerings for consumers; more collaboration in these categories is expected to roll out during the year.
The culmination of Marvel’s blockbuster year will be an expanded, national multi-platform celebration – ‘Marvel Super Hero Spectacular.’ Following the success of ‘Marvel Super Hero September’ this past fall, the supercharged 2015 campaign will now run for five weeks – beginning at the end of September and going through all of October – and will deliver even more Marvel Super Hero fun to meet fan demand. ‘Marvel Super Hero Spectacular’ will introduce an enhanced marketing and retail strategy with more partners and merchandise offerings aimed to entice fans to celebrate their love for all things Marvel. The campaign will focus on core Marvel franchises including The Avengers, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Both The Avengers and Spider-Man drove more than a billion dollars each at retail globally in 2014 and Marvel’s toy sales in the US grew nearly 13% in 2014 vs. 2013, according to The NPD Group.