2007 Hot Property
Principal: Howard Roffman, president, Lucas LicensingLicensees include: Hasbro, Lego and many others The story: The most venerable of all entertainment licensing properties has earned $13.5 billion worldwide since its 1977 inception. But even at anniversary events like last month’s Celebration IV fan convention in Los Angeles, it’s obvious the 30-year-old franchise is at a crossroads. Sure, “Star Wars” raked in product sales worth $1.5 billion in 2006, capturing the No. 1 boy toy position in North America and two top-10 vidgame sales slots. But the earnings were just half of those generated by the franchise in 2005 — the last year it was led by a motion-picture flagship. “Star Wars” continues to court kids and grown-ups alike with toys and collectibles, bestselling books and vidgames. Can it continue this momentum without a movie in the marketplace? George Lucas’ empire will look to strike back next spring, with a new “The Force Unleashed” game for next-gen consoles that will pick up the saga’s story where 2005’s “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” film left off. Meanwhile, an all-CG TV series, “The Clone Wars,” will debut in the fall of 2008. POV: “The original generation that was there for the premiere of ‘Star Wars’ has grown up,” Roffman acknowledges. “They’re in a different phase of their life, but they’re still very connected to ‘Star Wars’ and still buying product.”
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!