'Pirates' Franchise Sells $1.6bn In Merchandise

By Robert Marich
   Feb 4 2011-- The four installments of Pirates of the Caribbean rolled up $1.6 billion in global sales of licensed merchandise, says Disney Consumer Products. The fourth edition Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides begins its theatrical voyage theaters May 20.
   Based on standard licensing rates and Disney’s track record, Marketing To Moviegoers estimates that the $1.6 billion translates to $160-200 million directly in Disney’s pocket from toys, clothing and other merchandise.
   At an unveiling at a toy convention earlier this week, Disney presented a life-size, six-foot stature of lead character Captain Jack Sparrow made of Lego bricks to wow the press. However, the character’s actor Johnny Depp is not lending his real life persona to hawking merchandise, though others with the film are.
   “Disney Consumer Products and [toy company licensee] JAKKS Pacific also presented actor Ian McShane, who portrays new pirate character Blackbeard, with a one-of-a-kind 12-inch action figure inspired by the toy line,” says a Disney Consumer Products press release. “The film’s Academy Award-winning production designer John Myhre was also on hand as guests were treated to the reveal of a life-sized figure of Captain Jack Sparrow standing a full six feet tall and made of 150,000 LEGO bricks.
   Marketing To Moviegoers: Second Edition notes that retailers like sequels because sales are more predictable than with a new movie, which can prove a hit or miss. Disney gets a second benefit because the movie and merchandise promote its pirate theme park ride. Disney also takes over the pirate genre in terms of toys.
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Pirates star Ian McShane poses next to a life-sized Lego statue.