It should surprise no one that Star Wars was the hottest toy property last year in the United States. Still, you may be shock at just how huge of a merchandising phenomenon the Force awakened.
Retail research firm NPD Group tells Reuters that Star Wars toys generated sales of more than $700 million in 2015. That’s more than products related to Avengers, Jurassic World and Minions combined.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn’t arrive in theaters until Dec. 18, Disney and its licensees benefited greatly from the early release of merchandise for Force Friday, Sept. 4. Of course the merchandising didn’t end in September, or even with the film’s premiere.
Reuters notes the toy and collectible rollout continues with many new products featuring Daisy Ridley’s Rey, whom some felt was underrepresented in the initial offerings. Disney contends it held back some Rey merchandise to avoid spoiling movie plot points, but also acknowledges it underestimated the character’s popularity.
“Rey came in with a huge amount of momentum and ultimately above what we were expecting,” said Paul Southern, who oversees Star Wars licensing for Disney Consumer Products. “We really struggled to keep Rey on retail shelves.”