It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that one of the resurging toy lines of late has been Transformers, which saw a relatively profitable Christmas season, all things considered. The feature movie was a huge hit among adults and children alike, raking in $320 million in domestic theatre sales alone, not even considering international releases and DVD releases.
Transformers characters go way back too, being introduced in toy form in the early 1980’s, but their genealogy traces back even further to a Japanese toy line that was acquired by Hasbro for inclusion in the then popular G.I. Joe toy line. After being repurposed for Transformers, the original cartoon series was commissioned solely as a vehicle to propel sells of the toy line.
Children then were fascinated with the innovative designs of Transformers, which led to more character developments, and more toy releases, some of which were impressive engineering feats, especially in the 80’s. Now that those kids have grown into adults, the resurgent interest in Transformers is split among the classic figures, the reissues, and the new releases.
In 2008, McDonalds got into the foray and released some Happy Meal toys for kids that turned from vehicles into robots. While these entry-level toys were a far cry from full-fledge Transformers, it widened the audience even further, prompting children to follow in their parents footsteps by collecting the toys themselves.
Now that the second feature film, Transformers 2, is in production, demand for these toys should continue to increase in the coming years. While the Transformer toy line is powerful, it’s not as exclusive as some other franchises (e.g. Lucas and Star Wars), so expect to see a large variety of spin-offs and crossover toys for the newer collectors.
For the older collectors, local department stores and online retailers will still hold some appeal by stocking some of the classic reissues. But for old school Transformers fans who live for the now vintage Transformers, secondary market sales will be the only option. Secondary market sales include estate sales, yard sales, online auction sales, and party-to-party sales.
Stay tuned for more to come out of the Transformers franchise – it should be an interesting year!