Movies market more than entertainment

We all know about those people: The ones who had their Revenge of the Sith ticket weeks ago; the ones who not only dress as their favorite character, but actually believe they are their favorite character; the ones who will pay thousands of dollars for an authentic piece of Star Wars memorabilia. These people are a merchandiser’s dream and contribute more cash to Mr. Lucas’s already bulging pockets.

Movie merchandising is a booming industry and causes studios in search of more revenue to put some ridiculous products on the market. Franchises such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are the easiest choices because their fans are the most devout. Between the video games, the Lego sets and the special-edition board games, we are pitched at from every angle each time one of these blockbusters hits the big screen.

The big films are not the only ones to warrant merchandise, though it seems the less money a film makes at the theater, the more unusual its products must be in order to snag buyers’ attention. For example, decorating the tree at Christmastime could be a whole new experience with a Friday the 13th ornament set featuring miniature hockey-masked Jason heads. Or, for your planning needs, grab a Charlie’s Angels organizer and calendar. Need some new underwear? Why not wear Cruel Intentions boxer shorts and get your female companion dreaming of Ryan Phillippe?

There are a plethora of products available to aid summer fun and promote your favorite flick. For the beach, you can get a Darth Vader bodyboard and Scarface board shorts. No summer fiesta would be complete without an official Cat in the Hat piñata. Keep those pesky beer bottle rings off your furniture with Cheech & Chong beverage coasters. And keep cool in a T-shirt from nearly any movie, from the bad (First Wives’ Club) to the really bad (Underworld).

Cult king Kevin Smith has mastered the merchandising idea. Smith, better known as Silent Bob, created a store in Red Bank, New Jersey called Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. The store features props and tons of merchandise from his films Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and others. Smith personally signs most of the products, and Jason ‘Jay’ Mewes is often found working behind the counter at both the New Jersey and recently opened Los Angeles locations. The personal touch gives eager fans a reason to spend more cash.

With highly anticipated films such as the Batman Begins, War of the Worlds and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being released soon, it is bound to be a summer saturated by movie-themed and -sponsored products. It will be a battle to see what gets the best endorsements from the big films. McDonalds, Coke and Kellogg’s are going to have their hands full with promotions and giveaways.

So keep an eye out for the new, bizarrely wonderful merch. I’m hoping for Herbie: Fully Loaded remote control cars and Will Ferrell Bewitched Darrin dolls.