Over at CNN, Herb Greenberg speculates that the sales of Hasbro’s Spidey 3 toys may not be living up to expectations:

Johnson is one of several analysts warning clients of possibly disappointing ” Spider-Man 3″ toy sales. His first clue: seeing neat shelves of Spider-Man toys at Wal-Mart stores. If the toys were selling well, he figures, the shelves would be a mess. Then Michael Savner of Banc of America Securities wrote in a recent report to clients that he had heard of lower-than-expected sales from “contacts” at several unnamed “major big-box retailers.” The information, he says, was corroborated by NPD Group, the market-research firm. Dean Gianoukos of J.P. Morgan Chase took it a step further, telling his clients that discussions with 40 toy-department managers at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) showed that “Spider-Man 3” toy sales were “OK,” but that only 20% of the managers said they planned to reorder. Wal-Mart is the biggest retailer in the U.S. It declined to comment. Target Corp. (TGT) , the No. 2 retailer, said “Spider-Man 3” toys are “meeting our expectations.”

In a tough and competitive retail environment where a lot of summer toys are hitting, a slump could have ramifications for both Hasbro and Marvel.

The risk for Hasbro, Johnson says, is the deal it struck with Marvel: That is because Hasbro agreed to pay a minimum royalty guarantee of $215 million over five years, including an initial payment of $100 million. Sales that don’t reach levels to justify that minimum payment, he says, could cut into earnings.

While the money paid to Marvel is viewed as nonrefundable, Marvel isn’t entirely off the hook. According to Savner, Marvel’s earnings forecasts assume the company will receive far more than it has received in guarantees. “By getting such big guarantees, it has a high hurdle going forward,” Savner says.


  1. I suspect that Spider-Man 3 merchandise will be this year’s Superman Returns. You can *still* find Supes stuff on clearance in many toy stores.

    Hopefully it’s not a double-whammy for Hasbro this year. I’ve been collecting Transformers for over 20 years now, and the movie toys don’t seem to be flying off the shelves either.

  2. Problem is, children largely don’t buy action figures anymore, only collectors do. But the collectors see the Spidey 3 figures as not “collectable” enough — kid stuff. Same for “Superman Returns” merch.

  3. Maybe it’d help if the kids to whom the toys are being marketed could actually watch Spidey in action? Maybe conscientious parents see the PG-13 rating and don’t take their kids to go see it, which means the kids don’t clamor for them as they go through Target or Wal-Mart?

    Ditto with all those clearance X-Men and Ghost Rider I always see at Kay-Bee Toys…

  4. I think we have a winnah!

    There’s a fundamental disconnect between the marketing device (movie) and the market that the toys are traditionally aimed at (kidlings). The kidlings don’t see the movie and aren’t driven by want of the toy.

    Of course, the kidlings may not care where the toys came from and may just think that the idea of Spidey and Sandman fighting on motorcycles is too silly for even them. If my kids are any indication, Spidey is old and busted and Star Wars are the new hotness (to borrow an old and busted phrase.)

  5. And let’s also not forget one of the most important things—Money!

    With gas still over $3 in most places, there is little money for “discretionary spending”.

  6. My son felt the Spiderman 3 figures were smaller than the ones before and that turned him off. He loves his action figures and has numerous Spidey 1 and 2 figures. They did look smaller to me as well but I’m not sure if they are.

  7. Hasbro really missed the boat on their Spider-Man toys. The action figures are smaller and inferior to their Toy Biz predecessors. I’ve purchased figures from all 3 movies for my son. They have less articulation and detail, and they simply LOOK cheaper. You can’t mix and match with the older action figures because their smaller size. If they were a couple of bucks cheaper than the old figures, that might be one thing – but you’re paying as much or more for a clearly inferior product. And then there are the versions with stupid accessories like the slime or the sand (which can only guarantee parents rolling their eyes at the prospect of more messes to clean up) that, of course, costs MORE – and who wants to pay for that? I expected much better from Hasbro.

  8. Not a dig on the new Superman actor, but the artwork on the toy boxes for movie tie-ins made Superman look kinda… dorky. It was such a strong contrast with the strong Jose Garcia-Lopez artwork used for stuff like bedsheets and such.

  9. I think it could all fall on Hasbro this time. From what I keep hearing they are making inferior Marvel action figures across the board. And expecting more money for it. Because honestly, a higher rated movie is not indicative of the last two movie runs of toys selling better. Even if I were a kid who did not get to see Spidey 3, I might want some toys still.

    If Toybiz overdid their action figures, and were setting sights to high. Hasbro needed to be aware of that and price accordingly. Because I bet if one were to analyze alot of Marvel/Hasbro product they would find similar sales indications. Of course, as people have been saying it could probably be a trend in most action figures period.