Marvel broadens scope with 'Age of Ultron' merchandising

Marvel and Disney hope to reach a broader audience with products tied to Avengers: Age of Ultron, which means more items that appeal to women and fans of individual superheroes.

“For the first film, we primarily focused on the Avengers property and the group shots,” Paul Gitter, Disney Consumer Products’ senior vice president of Marvel licensing, tells Variety. “Now we’re broadening the line and scope to create SKUs that focus on the team and the individuals characters, as well.”

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That translates into six to eight different products in each category based around each character, rather than focused on the entire team or just the hot sellers like Captain America and Iron Man.

Avengers products -- from action figures to apparel -- already generate $1 billion in retail sales worldwide, and Disney is looking to expand beyond the usual suspects (Funko, LEGO, Hasbro, etc.) with food and packaged-goods deals agreements with the likes of Sage Fruit, Conagra granola bars, Crunchpak and Chobani.

Variety notes that the focus reaches beyond the Avengers, of course, to include Spider-Man (his own $1 billion consumer-product empire), Captain America: Civil War, and the upcoming Netflix series like Daredevil and AKA Jessica Jones -- although the latter will be targeted toward teens and adults.

“The merchandise that’s being developed around the Netflix content is somewhat limited in scope,” Gitter says. “We’ll be focusing less on products that are targeted at the very young consumer."

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