Marvel Hopes LotR License Will Boost Toy Division Revenues - Excite Business Wire

Marvel expects an alliance between Gandalf and Spider-Man will help it battle sagging revenues next year.
Most of us in fandom know Marvel from its comic book creations: Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc. But Marvel Enterprises, Inc. has grown into one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies with operations in five divisions: licensing, toys-via its Toy Biz division, comic book and trade publishing, entertainment and the Internet. Through the ownership of over 3,500 proprietary characters, Marvel licenses its characters in a wide range of consumer products, services and media such as feature films, television, the Internet, apparel, video games, collectibles, snack foods and promotions.

Unfortunately, Marvel's sales have been less than heroic over the past three months. In Marvel's fiscal 2000 second quarter report, Marvel announced that its net sales decreased approximately 17% year-over-year in the second quarter. The decrease was due primarily to a sales decline in the Toy Biz division pertaining to a line of World Championship Wrestling (`WCW') products. Marvel President and CEO, Peter Cuneo, explained the decline as being merely part of the seasonal nature of the business: "Our second quarter results reflect an expected decrease in net sales in the period, largely due to the timing of toy product launches."

However, Cuneo expects Marvel's future to brighten next year with the release of the new Spider-Man movie and Toy Biz having acquired toy licensing rights to another film you may be familiar with: "Looking into next year, we expect to benefit from Toy Biz's success in securing the master toy license for New Line Cinema's fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings feature film trilogy. This character-rich property is a perfect complement to Toy Biz' excellence in developing realistic figures."

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