Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 21
SONY PICTURES CONSUMER PRODUCTS
unique and fun world," she continues. "The big thematic
question we explore in this movie is: 'Do I have to change
who I am for the world to accept me, or can I change the
world for the better?' We are creating a really exciting,
funny and relatable App-venture for kids and families of all
ages around the world."
The company also is developing products that are very
distinctive to its characters, including toy collectibles, soft
lines, interactive, accessories and stationery. "With 92
percent of the online population using emojis, which is
close to a universal number, the interest we have from both
a product and retail perspective is outstanding," Stevens
says. "Theatrically, we are launching in most territories
during back to school, which is also an opportunity to
leverage a key seasonal time period. Since the movie
provides a big environment and exciting narrative for the
emoji characters to express themselves, this does provide an
inventive opportunity with unique aspects to incorporate
licensing opportunities within the world of emojis."
Stevens adds, "Again, it's really important you take the
brand DNA of the movie and ensure you translate that
into exciting product," she says. "In [an] aesthetic product
it can be very hard to translate characters to a piece of
clothing or toy. So it was important for us to ensure in the
design and collaboration processes with our partners that
we were able to bring the characters, their personalities
and humor to everything we did across the board. There's a
great story and adventure to this film as well, and I think it
is a big part of what will make it successful."
In 2018, the third film in the Hotel Transylvania franchise will hit theaters. Though a very successful franchise
- it is the biggest September opening of all time at the box
office and the highest grossing animated film in September
- according to Stevens, it's a great example of a property
that had not been a focus in the past from the motion
picture group's consumer products.
"It's an endearing franchise with fun characters that
appeal to the whole family," she says. "Our focus is to grow
this franchise at retail as a 365-days-a-year business, which
will perfectly coincide with our content strategy. It used to
be that monsters were tied to Halloween and were a seasonal opportunity, but they are not. If you look throughout
the business, monsters are very much a part of pop culture
and can live 365 days.
"We have exciting plans to ignite this franchise throughout the year and keep up the monster momentum," she
continues. "One of the ways we are doing that is by launching a TV show for Hotel T this summer on the Disney
Channel. So we do not only have the movie, but there will
also be a day in and day out show. That's the start of it. Our
strategy with that and the film is to really be able to have
products that can sit on the shelves 365 day a year."
Besides the third film in the Hotel Transylvania franchise coming out in 2018, Stevens says Sony is very excited
about Peter Rabbit. "The same animation team behind the
LEGO film will be working on the film, which is set for
worldwide release in March 2018," she says. "Sony Pictures
Animation is already developing a very exciting slate of
consumer products friendly movies beyond 2018."
It's really important you
take the brand DNA of
the movie and ensure you
translate that into exciting product.
Jumanji is another beloved franchise the motion
picture group has launched for modern day. Starring
Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, the film will
be released December 22, 2017.
"We have great talent in it and we're very excited about
the opportunity," Stevens says. "I think it shows when there
is opportunity to continue with franchises that already exist
in our library. It gives us an opportunity to tap into a new
audience as well as serve consumers of the beloved classic."
In addition, Sony is also gearing up for Ghostbusters' 35th
anniversary in 2019. "We have refreshed the style guide,
have a new classic toy partner and are doing a number of
co-branded partnerships, " Stevens explains. "So it is important for us to make sure with the franchises we do have
that we are coming up with great opportunities to be able
to feed the fans."
Growth Through Tech
Sony Pictures is building the future of entertainment
through investing not only in people, but also technology.
Because of that, Stevens says Consumer Products is able to
leverage that across a lot of difference resources.
"We can tap into the company's other divisions, such as
PlayStation, music and our TV group," she says. "So there
are a lot of resources throughout the company. And when
it makes sense we can leverage those and build bigger
programs with our partners."
Stevens adds that the company "strives to be at the
forefront" of innovative technology, including virtual