NEW YORK—“The Fantastic Four” film is scheduled to be released by 20th Century Fox on July 1, 2005, but licensees are already signing up more than a year in advance of the film’s release.
Companies headlining the merchandising campaign include: Toy Biz Worldwide (master toy licensee), Activision (interactive video games), Russ Berrie (plush), Mega Bloks (construction toys), Jakks Pacific (plug and play games), Jay Franco (domestics), Meredith Books (sound storybooks) and Sara Lee (underwear).
"The Fantastic Four as a property is truly special in the Marvel Universe as it features four diverse and incredibly appealing characters, each with their own set of unique powers. Licensees see the huge potential this property affords them in diversifying their retail mix with lines for each hero and in so doing, expanding the potential consumer audience interested in their merchandise,” says Tim Rothwell, worldwide president consumer products, Marvel Enterprises.
As announced earlier this week, the cast will be led by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Michael Chiklis (TV’s “The Shield”) as Ben Grimm/The Thing; Jessica Alba (“Honey,” TV’s “Dark Angel”) as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman; Ioan Gruffudd (“King Arthur”) as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic; and Chris Evans (“Not Another Teen Movie” and upcoming film “Cellular”) as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch. Tim Story (“Barbershop” and upcoming film “Taxi”) is set to direct.
Other high profile manufacturers who have been early to embrace the property include: Disguise (costumes), Spin Master (juvenile furniture), E.S. Originals (footwear), and Sideshow (collectibles). Initial merchandise will be introduced at retail beginning Spring 2005.
“The Fantastic Four” licensing program follows on the heels of the success of the current “Spider-Man 2” and last summer’s “The Hulk” movie merchandising programs.