In early November, Disney and Pixar made a surprise announcement that confirms they’re working on Toy Story 4. The film will be directed by John Lasseter, who directed the original 1995 Toy Story – the first computer animated film in Hollywood.Written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, the film is rumored to “Open up a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz and the Toy Story gang.”
With earnings upward of $1.06 billion, Toy Story 3 is currently the second highest grossing animated film of all time, (Disney’s Frozen is currently the highest grossing at $1.276 billion). Arguably, the Toy Story films have been a game changer for animated movies, triggering a chain of Disney Pixar animated feature films. And a chain of toy-turned-action-movie feature films backed by Mattel.
The success of the Toy Story films has also been felt among toy manufacturers across the world that has seen their branded toy sales increase substantially. Entertainment content is considered a major sales tool for toy brands. Case in point, this week, Hasbro has promoted veteran exec Stephen Davis to the newly created role of EVP-Chief Content Officer, responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms.
Sales of the Mr. Potato Head toy increased 800 percent after the original Toy Story movie release. Mr. Potato Head was created in 1953, and is licensed to Mattel. The original product was sold as a box of mixed body parts that children could use their imagination and ‘stick’ into their own root vegetable. In 1964, Mr. Potato head was manufactured with a plastic body. The original Toy Story added eyebrows to their character interpretation of Mr. Potato Head – the appeal of the film adaptation of Mr. Potato Head influenced the toy make to adopt Mr. Potato Head’s on screen look and from there forward Mr. Potato Head has now been manufactured with character eyebrows.
The Slinky Dog’s producer, James Industries of Philadelphia, had stopped manufacturing the toy at the time the first Toy Story was made. The manufacturer had been out of business for 10 years and the slinky dog toy off the shelves for four years prior to the movie’s release. However, following Toy Story’s success, James Industries was inundated with 20,000 new orders and put back into business.
The toy sales with the greatest increase experienced has been by Etch-A-Sketch, with a 4,000 percent increase in sales. The toy was created in 1960 by the Ohio Art Company. The company reports that they have sold well over 100 million units.
Scheduled for a June 2017 release, Toy Story 4 will likely be introducing even more new toys to the film, and creating major toy sales impact. The franchise has realized the power it has in the toy space, and now also features in the content Disney-owned and manufactured toys, having successfully created its own marketing machine.
Toy Story 4 is not the only sequel Pixar is working on. Hot on the heels are Finding Dory, Cars 3, and to the sequel for The Incredibles, all currently in production. The next Disney/Pixar studio film following the now-in-theaters super box-office-success Big Hero 6 (sure to be developed into a sequel too) will be an original project named Inside Out, coming to theaters in June 2015. All of these films result in licensed toy deals, furthering the impact of movies on the toy industry.
What is your favorite toy from the Toy Story franchise? Comment below!