As Marvel’s Black Panther inches closer towards the coveted US$1-billion mark at the global box office, the film is also hitting it big in the toy aisle.
According to The NPD Group, the superhero movie was the number-three toy license in the US during the week of February 18 to 24 (the first full week after the film’s February 12 release).
NPD reports that US retailers were somewhat prepared for the brand’s initial success, with movie tie-in toys available in 87% of stores. While toys were in stock, retailers were quite cautious about just how many Black Panther toys were available. According to NPD toy industry analyst Juli Lennett, US retailers only carried 11 toys on average, which is on par with 2017 films Beauty and the Beast (US$1.2 billion at the global box office), Wonder Woman (US$820 million) and Thor (US$853 million). However, Black Panther’s stock amount still represents a fraction of the toys generated for other big-action superhero movies. For example, it’s half as many toys as Justice League (US$657 million at the global box office), and a third of Power Rangers (US$142 million).
Lennett points out that a lack of broader Black Panther toy offerings may have been a misstep for retailers and toymakers alike. She also says the move shows just how much the film industry still underestimates the on-screen role of women and minorities. NPD expects that Black Panther’s retail strength will continue through March.