Even though Disney didn't release a Star Wars movie last year the franchise didn't suffer one bit on the merchandising side of things. This has been made clear as Hasbro, one of Lucasfilm's major licensing partners, has revealed that Star Wars toy sales spiked in 2020. This is in no small part thanks to the success of The Mandalorian and, more specifically, the popularity of Baby Yoda, aka Grogu.
Hasbro recently reported on its earnings for the last year. The company's sales of its licensed content from entertainment studios fell 12 percent to $1.08 billion for the full year. However, sales of Star Wars merchandise expanded by 70 percent during that same period. Hasbro said fourth-quarter earnings fell to $105.2 million. Fourth-quarter revenue, meanwhile, expanded by 21 percent to $1.72 billion, which beat industry estimates. Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner had this to say.
"What's been great for our business is that streaming content is now being enjoyed by so many people, it has really hit a tipping point. And that tipping point means that you have tens of millions of people watching a piece of content over a given early period of time that allows us to 'eventize.'"
"Eventize" they did with The Mandalorian season 2. Baby Yoda was kept entirely under wraps during the show's first season until his surprise debut in the first episode. This prevented Lucasfilm, and its partners like Hasbro, from creating merchandise in advance. But heading into season 2, they were able to capitalize in a big way. Hasbro is said to have had difficulty keeping Grogu merch in stock. That lines up with the reported spike in sales. Stephanie Wissink, managing director at research firm Jefferies, had this to say.
"We see the rapid subscription growth, globalization of Disney+ and the access to Disney content for new audiences as a key catalyst driving consumer product demand. Hasbro is one of Disney's largest strategic partners in enabling fans of all ages to engage in the brands in a physical goods form."
The good news for Hasbro and Disney is that this money train is going to keep on rolling. Not only is The Mandalorian season 3 set to begin filming in a few months but Disney+ is going to be home to many future Star Wars projects. Shows such as Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka, Rangers of the New Republic, The Acolyte and The Book of Boba Fett are all on the way. That will provide plenty of merchandising opportunities.
Hasbro recently extended its contract with Disney. That is good news as Hasbro also handles Marvel as well. Starting with WandaVision, which debuted recently, quite a few MCU shows are heading to Disney+ as well, with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier up next. And Star Wars movies are still on the way, with Rogue Squadron, directed by Patty Jenkins, set for December 2023. More toys. More money. This news comes to us via CNBC.