The Crusader Newspaper Group

Movie Ticket Sales Sagging? Time to Bring Out the Toys

By Brooks Barnes,

The once-catatonic corner of moviedom dedicated to merchandise has suddenly come alive as studios — walloped by vanishing DVD sales and determined to keep fans engaged between sequels — look at themed toys, clothes and home décor with renewed vigor.

And Pam Lifford, the president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is in many ways leading the charge.

“To gain market share, it has to come from somewhere,” she said with a mischievous grin, padding in sparkly shoes past a “Hobbit”-themed pinball machine at Warner headquarters here.

Before Ms. Lifford joined Warner in January 2016, the studio’s merchandising unit in some years had no growth at all. Last year, profit increased 47 percent compared with 2015. Revenue from licensed products — Wonder Woman action figures, Harry Potter iPhone cases, Scooby-Doo pajamas — totaled $6.5 billion, an 8 percent increase.


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