Marvel Locks Down Licensing Partners for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Hasbro, Sideshow Collectibles and Disguise on board to produce merchandise and help market Marvel's answer to 'Star Wars'

Licensing partners already are sold on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” with Hasbro and Sideshow Collectibles among the notable companies already locked down to create merchandise around the the space-set superhero actioner.

While the film has just gone into production, under the direction of James Gunn (“Super”), Disney Consumer Products used the Licensing Expo, in Las Vegas, this week to announce that Hasbro will create toys, while Sideshow Collectibles will produce high-end statues, and Disguise will make Halloween costumes based on the film’s characters, that include Star Lord’s Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket Raccoon.

Film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Benicio del Toro, Karen Gillan and Dave Bautista.

Disney and Marvel introduced the property to the licensing community for the first time at the annual confab this week, and property was considered one of the more buzzed about tentpoles that will be released in theaters and in the retail aisle next year.

Through their deals, Hasbro, Sideshow and Disguise will also put considerable marketing behind the release of the film when it hits theaters Aug. 1, 2014.

“Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ has been very well received by our licensing and retail partners during meetings held both before and during the show,” said Paul Gitter, senior VP, licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products. Both the film and new character portfolio introduces a new and exciting slate of personalities and galactic vehicles that span the galaxy like non other seen in previous Marvel films. These elements along with the power of the Marvel brand sparked the attention of potential partners who immediately saw the application to both new and existing product categories and are well positioned for a successful 2014 program.”

Hasbro has long been Marvel’s toy partner. In addition to the “Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” movies, it also produces toys based on the “Spider-Man” films at Sony.

“As we’ve seen with ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Iron Man,’ Marvel Studios is expert in developing comic-based properties into major blockbuster events and bringing them to the forefront of pop-culture,” said Adam Biehl, VP of global marketing at Hasbro. “From the early visuals Hasbro has seen of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and knowing the extensive franchise marketing Marvel will put behind this property, we are extremely excited by what the studio has in store for fans and movie goers. Hasbro can’t wait to offer kids and fans of all ages an exciting array of toys based on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’”

The initial group of partners is expected to be expanded in the coming months to cover other product categories.

Marvel has long viewed “Guardians of the Galaxy” as its own “Star Wars,” featuring a variety of setpieces in outer space and alien creatures, which the company and Disney are using to attract licensing partners. While “The Avengers” and the superheros that make up the group have been huge successes on the bigscreen for Marvel, many of the licensing opportunities have already been taken by companies and exploited across most merchandising categories. “Guardians of the Galaxy” will now enable Disney to broker deals with regular partners and new companies around a new set of characters.

SEE ALSO: ‘Star Wars,’ Marvel to Boost Disney’s Already Dominant Licensing Biz

“It’s thrilling to see the way that Marvel continues to expand the brand and broaden the vision for entertainment, bringing more and more fantastic characters from the rich comic history to the big screen,” said Greg Anzalone, president of Sideshow Collectibles. “‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ offers a whole new sense of adventure in the great beyond of deep space, an exciting turn for the Marvel film franchise.”

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