LOS ANGELES • For Star Wars fans, Christmas is coming early this year - on Sept 4, when toys tied to Walt Disney's first film in the space-adventure series go on sale.
Ahead of Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening on Dec 18, Disney is staking its claim on gift lists, with everything from Captain Phasma action figures to Nerf crossbows and blasters. Yesterday, it unveiled plans for events leading up to next week's Force Friday, the first time fans could scrutinise certain characters and vehicles from the new movie.
The events include a global unwrapping of Star Wars merchandise on YouTube by Disney's Internet video division, Maker Studios, and coverage on ABC's Good Morning America.
Starting in Australia on the morning of next Thursday and unfolding over 18 hours in 15 cities and 12 countries, talent from Maker Studios will, one by one, "unbox" various Star Wars products. Good Morning America will carry the product unveilings on TV and online. Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong are the three Asian cities where the toys will be unveiled.
If all goes according to plan, fans, many in costumes, will be lining up well before any new Chewbacca masks, lightsabers or red-armed C-3PO action figures go on sale at midnight on Sept 4.
The products, built around one of the highest-grossing film franchises in history, could help the toy industry score its best growth in more than a decade, according to researcher NPD Group Inc.