Studios taking on tie-ins

Pix prep for Gotham confab

Studios have retooled and amped up tie-ins for a spate of tried-and-true franchises to wow retailers at the Licensing 2006 Intl. show June 20-22 at Gotham’s Javits Convention Center.

Sony, Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. are among the studios hoping to recapture attention with new installments of old properties hitting the bigscreen next summer.

“Spider-Man 3” (Sony), “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” (Disney), “The Simpsons Movie” (Fox), “Fantastic Four 2” (20th) and the latest “Harry Potter” pic (Warners) are expected to be hot multiplatform properties.

The seemingly safe properties actually pose a challenge for movie marketers: devising new products for franchises that have been on the market before and are, in some cases, entering their third installments.

For example, “The Simpsons,” which has been a marketing bonanza for two decades, will get a makeover when “The Simpsons Movie” is released in summer 2007. Keeping its made-over product line under wraps, Fox is angling to capture a broader aud than just fans of the TV skein. And the studio is acutely aware that it must find newcomers to the cult of Bart and Homer.

“We are never satisfied with taking existing product and putting a ‘Simpsons’ piece of graphic on it,” said Elie Dekel, Fox exec VP of licensing and merchandising. “The brand is a constant development, a constant evolution. The movie is a pivotal event to the ‘Simpson’ universe, an event that will set in motion new products specifically attributed to the film,” she added.

“Story extension provides different opportunities,” said Vince Klaseus, senior VP of franchise management and marketing for Disney consumer products, of the third “Pirates” installment. “Since there are new characters and new locations, that opens the door for a whole host of new product segments. From a look standpoint, the packaging will be different.”

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