With a full 18 months to go until Robots’ March 2005 release date, Fox Licensing & Merchandising has already pretty much finalized its merch program. A roster of 20 licensees will come out with products for mass and mid-tier one month before its theatrical debut. ‘Instead of piece-mealing and slicing up rights, our strategy was to have a focused line with broad grants given to partners who are committed to doing a wider range of products,’ says VP of domestic sales and worldwide publishing Jennifer Robinson.
Although the film goes after a family audience, the merch will target boys 10 and under, a demo Robinson says will be drawn to lead character Rodney. ‘He’s the underdog and has a gang of sidekicks who are in a state of total disarray,’ she explains. ‘His quest becomes a clear-cut case of good versus evil that appeals especially to young boys.’
Accordingly, master toy licensee Mattel will produce action figures, playsets and electronic games. Robinson says the toyco is definitely looking at getting into the hot role-play category as well, but specific product designs were still being hammered out at press time. The toy line will hit a variety of price points, with impulse-priced items emphasized for the movie’s release and higher-priced goods hitting the market in Q4 2005 to coincide with the movie’s DVD/video release.
Along with the toys, Robots will also have expansive publishing, apparel and soft goods programs. HarperCollins and Kappa Graphics will be handling storybooks and coloring/activity books respectively, with Accessory Network (bags), Freeze (toddler/boys T-shirts), Union Underwear Co. (toddler/boys underwear), S. Goldberg (footwear) and Wormser (pajamas) splitting up apparel and accessories at both mass and mid-tier. Robinson is still looking for a few more licensees in the food and candy categories.
Robinson says retailers like Sears, Khol’s, JCPenney and Mervyn’s are strong advertisers and they’ve become ‘a destination for licensed apparel,’ adding that Fox is developing creative ‘in-store executions that will help drive traffic to these mid-tier stores.’