×

Universal teams with Walmart for ‘Hop’

Retailer lands exclusive sales deal

Walmart has a new Easter mascot in E.B., the drum-playing bunny of Universal Pictures’ “Hop.”

Retailer has inked a deal with the studio to provide a considerable amount of shelf space to Easter-themed merchandise tied to the family film.

Starting today, Walmart has the exclusive rights to sell more than 100 licensed products related to “Hop,” including candy, toys and apparel, at the company’s 3,000 stores nationwide. Themed areas, including a “Candy Factory,” will enable customers to build their own Easter baskets with “Hop” merchandise.

“This is the first time we’ve worked with a licensed property to brand an important seasonal event in Walmart stores,” said Gary Severson, senior VP, home entertainment, Walmart U.S.

“Hop” is the sophomore effort from Illumination Entertainment, which made “Despicable Me.” Pic jumps into theaters April 1.

The retail program is unique not just for Universal but for Hollywood as retailers usually opt not to devote major shelf space to a film unless it’s a summer tentpole. But U has long been eyeing “Hop” as a way to create a consumer-products program around a title during periods on the calendar that are less crowded and offer opportunities to tap into holidays not tied to films in the past.

Walmart has long used pairings with film properties to attract consumers into its stores. Last year, it built a boutique store within its outlets to sell a line of exclusive merchandise tied to DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Company’s plans to provide “Hop” with a major promo push should also put U’s pic in front of millions of consumers.

“Walmart’s unprecedented level of co-branded promotional support is an incredible opportunity to raise awareness for our film and allow shoppers to bring the adorable characters and ‘Hop’-themed products into their homes,” said Stephanie Sperber, president, Universal Partnerships and Licensing.

Prices for “Hop” merchandise will range from $1 to $10 and include toys, plush animals, Easter baskets, Hershey’s candy Frankford chocolates, boys and girls T-shirts from Garan and Topsville, cookie decorating kits by Create a Treat, baked goods from Keystone Bakeries and other items from Kool-Aid, Country Time Lemonade, Kraft Mac & Cheese. Walmart will also offer “Hop” videogames for the Nintendo DS, DSi and 3DS, greeting cards and children’s books.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Bruce Springsteen arrives for the New

    Bruce Springsteen Returns to NJ Hometown for Surprise 'Western Stars' Introduction

    Bruce Springsteen returned to his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey to offer a surprise introduction to the first public multiplex viewing of his concert/documentary film, “Western Stars.” Dressed simply in a brown jacket, Springsteen took a moment to say a few words at the AMC Freehold 14 movie theater on Saturday night. “We knew we [...]

  • Backstage in Puglia del film SPACCAPIETRE:

    'Gomorrah' Star Salvatore Esposito Set For De Serio Twins' 'The Stonebreaker'

    Salvatore Esposito, the Italian star who plays young mob boss Genny Savastano in Italy’s hit TV series “Gomorrah,” will soon be hitting the big screen toplining upcoming drama “The Stonebreaker” by twin directorial duo Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio, who are known internationally for “Seven Acts of Mercy.” The De Serio twins are now in post on “Stonebreaker” [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Tops 'Joker,' 'Zombieland'

    “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is on track to give Disney another first place finish after scoring $12.5 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales. If estimates hold, the Angelina Jolie-led film should finish the weekend with about $38 million — well below earlier forecasts but enough to top holdover “Joker” and fellow newcomer “Zombieland: Double Tap.” [...]

  • Maelle Arnaud

    Lumière Chief Programmer Maelle Arnaud: 'Film History Doesn't Have Parity'

    LYON, France   — As the Lumière Institute’s head programmer since 2001, Maelle Arnaud helped launched the Lumière Festival in 2009 and has watched it grow in international esteem over the decade that followed. This year, the festival ran 190 films across 424 screenings in theaters all over town. The festival will come to a [...]

  • Girl with Green Eyes

    Talking Pictures TV: Bringing the Past Back to Life in the U.K.

    LYON, France – Since its launch in 2015, Talking Pictures TV has become the fastest-growing independent channel in the U.K. with a growing library of British film and TV titles that span five decades, according to founder Noel Cronin. Noel Cronin attended the Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) in Lyon, France, where he [...]

  • Wings of Desire

    German Heritage Sector Applauds Increased Digitization, Preservation Funding

    LYON, France  — Germany’s film heritage sector is celebrating a new federal and state-funded initiative launching in January that will provide €10 million ($11.15 million) a year towards the digitization and preservation of feature films. Rainer Rother, the artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, outlined the plan at a panel discussion at the Lumière Festival’s [...]

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content