Okay, so, all cards on the table: I LOVE capitalism!
At least when it’s properly regulated to insure fair competition.
Competition forces businesses to continue improving service …
Except those douche bags.
… and inventors to continue innovating. It’s not only why we have phones that are powerful enough to fill the roles of personal communication device, entertainment center and oracle of all human knowledge, but also …
Seriously, Disney? How much is enough? Have the interns finally found all of the loose change under every furniture cushion in every one of your offices?
They (Disney is Buena Vista) have nearly the same market share at the box office as Warner Brothers while releasing 1/3 the amount of movies; there has to be a more dignified way for them to increase earnings with a product that people are actually craving. Like say, oh, I don’t know, a long overdue solo movie for an Avenger who definitely deserves one?
Look, we’re all guilty of frivolously feeding the beast. ESPECIALLY when we’re young.
In 1978, a seven year old me dutifully clipped UPC symbols from the packaging of the four Kenner Star Wars actions figures and mailed them – in an envelope with postage stamps stuck to it, not with mouse clicks – to the home office in exchange for the most awesome figure in the then short history of action figures: Boba Fett with rocket firing backpack!
What arrived in my mailbox four to six weeks later was this …
… a Boba Fett action figure that DID NOT FIRE ROCKETS from his backpack and an apologetic note explaining the switch.
NOTE TO CONSUMERS
Originally our STAR WARS Boba fest action figure was designed to have a spring-launched rocket. The launcher has been removed from the product for safety reasons. If you are dissatisfied with the product, please return it to us and we will replace it with any STAR WARS mini-action figure of your choice.
Thank you for your support.
Disappointing? Sure, but, you know, some people’s children, right?
Dealbreaker? @#$% NO! I had the coolest action figure EVER, the enigmatic bad ass Boba Mother@#$%ing Fett before any of my friends! And that matters, because @#$% those losers!
Sorry, I got a little excited there for a second … but I am far from alone in my love of the Boba Fett action figure.
So yes, I live in a glass house … but even I have a breaking point when it comes to the indiscriminate whoring of intellectual properties.
“I couldn’t escape the feeling that this movie was less about completing a saga and more about George Lucas justifying sales of Darth Maul branded double ended electric toothbrushes to the conjoined twins of the world.” – Tony Marion on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, circa 1999.
So here come the stones.
Is anyone imagining a huge demographic crossover between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a novelty indoor gardening product sold only during the North American winter holiday season?
Apparently Joesph Pedott, the 1970s marketing genius behind not only the Chia Pet but also the as seen on TV legend, The Clapper …
… thought so, as his company ponied up the licensing fee so that his company could sell Chia Pets shaped like beloved Guardians of the Galaxy character, Groot. Cash obtained by moving approximately 500,000 units each year.
The addition of everyone’s favorite muscle/sentient houseplant to the Chia licensed stable isn’t even the first Marvel Superhero to sell out to Joesph industries.
But Marvel is in good company. Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo!, The Simpsons, The Oakland A’s, Michigan State Spartans, Hello Kitty, Duck Dynasty and MANY other entertainment brands have cashed checks from Pedott. And sometimes, the fit between brand and merchandise is undeniable.
Though, it doesn’t seem like that particular estate is turning down many offers.
But CHIA GROOT? Sure, he’s a plant. Yes, he grows little green buds from his body at will. And maybe, just MAYBE those little buds are an interstellar form of Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, a species of flowering plant in the mint family rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala on Earth.
But when you already own the second largest piece of the box-office pie, and your licensing department makes more money than your movies, can’t you pass on one or two offers that some passionate customers (re, zealots) may view as devaluing the movie brand? Is the stain on your souls from preying on the small faction of of your fans so devoid of anything resembling a life that they will buy literally anything with a Marvel logo on it, including CHIA GROOT, really worth it for a few dollars more?
Tony Marion is a writer and filmmaker who splits time between Lancaster, PA and Baltimore, MD. He lives for the work of Descendents (the band), Chuck Palahniuk and Rian Johnson. Check out the digital embodiment of procrastination he calls his website here.