Sunday, May 16, 2004

License to thrive: The Indianapolis Star knows where the real money lies for films studios (and comics publishers): licensing deals. Here the focus is on Garfield: The Movie, with its tie-ins with Wendy's restaurants, Goldfish crackers and Ty Beanie Babies. But it could just as easily be, say, Spider-Man:

"They are the kind of licensing deals that generate more than $7.6 billion a year for film studios and their partners, according to The Licensing Letter, a trade publication.

"Without them, a movie might not even be made because Hollywood studios have come to rely on the revenue to defray the costs of making and promoting a movie.

"'If you can't generate enough tie-ins, then you no longer have a true summer blockbuster film,' said Ron Leone, assistant professor of media and film at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass."

The most alarming interesting part may be that Garfield, which hasn't been remotely fresh or funny for at least two decades, already rules over a $750 million-a-year merchandising empire.