Toy, candy tie-ins begin march from 'Jurassic Park'

May 24, 1993|By Los Angeles Daily News

Attention mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles and anyone associated with children. All your cash soon may be extinct.

The June release of "Jurassic Park," the Steven Spielberg movie about genetically cloned dinosaurs gone wild at a Central American theme park, has spawned a plethora of goods that you can eat, wear and play with.

And they are coming to a store shelf near you. Call it Tie-ins R Us.

More than 100 companies have signed up with MCA Inc. to produce more than 1,000 products worldwide. This summer, parents will find everything from video games to coffee mugs tied to what is expected to be the biggest movie of the year.

Toys and T-shirts have already begun arriving in stores. And many more items are expected before the movie's June 11 release.

"We will take dinosaur mania to a new level," said Linda Berkeley, senior vice president for development and head of merchandising at MCA/Universal. "All the enthusiasm, all the excitement has been building. We have such a comprehensive program in play. 'Jurassic Park' [as far as merchandising goes] will far exceed any other movie."

Industry analysts believe profits from the toys and product tie-ins will come close or exceed such mega-moneymakers as "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," "Star Wars" and "Batman."

"I think it's right up there" with those films, said Brad Globe, vice president for marketing at Amblin Entertainment. "We are expecting huge numbers. I think we have one of the strongest licensing programs."

He predicted no other movie due out this summer will be able to compete with the film in merchandising.

"I've worked with Steven Spielberg for 10 years," he said. "This is by far the most exciting from a total marketing movie perspective. It just doesn't get this good."

Marisa Cascio, spokeswoman for the Toy Manufacturers of America, agreed.

"There has been a lot of hype and a lot of publicity about 'Jurassic Park,' " she said. "There was a tremendous interest at the American International Toy Fair in February. I think it all depends on the movie how big this is going to be."

Based on Michael Crichton's best-selling novel, the film is being produced by Mr. Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and released Universal Pictures.

One of the first licensees to see the prehistoric profit potential was Kenner Products. The Cincinnati-based company began last week shipping some of its 35 different toys, according to its president, Bruce Stein.

"This could be the largest new toy introduction of the year," Mr. Stein said. The dinosaurs are virtually identical to the ones used in the movies, he said.

Toys range in price from $6 for a human action figure with a baby dinosaur to $32.49 for the electronic tyrannosaur, which roars and makes stomping noises.

Dinosaurs can crush Jeeps, which can be reassembled, and take bites out of each other.

"You will actually be able to see the blood and bones when the skin is pulled off," he said. "We call that feature 'Dino Damage.' "

On the candy side, Sal Ferrara, president of Ferrara Pan Candy Co. in Forest Park, Ill., is expecting to make about $30 million to $40 million on sales of gummy dinosaurs, fruit snacks, jellies and jujubes.

"This movie is going to be so big," he said. "Steven Spielberg and dinosaurs are so popular. The theme is perfect. The response has been overwhelming."

If your child prefers stuffed animals, a realistic-looking 31 1/2 -inch brachiosaur is available, as are a 17- to 30-inch stuffed spitter, raptor or triceratops. The stuffed animals, selling from $25 to $50, are being made by Dakin Inc. of Woodland Hills, Calif.

No movie merchandising would be complete without T-shirts. Winterland Productions in San Francisco won that honor and will turn out 30 to 40 designs from the movie. T-shirts will retail for between $12 and $20, said Michael Krassner, chief operating officer for the company.

With all the merchandise expected this summer, interest in "Jurassic Park" will not die out soon, Mr. Globe said.

"The demand is so great," he said. "It's very unusual to get a property like 'Jurassic Park.' It really lends itself to merchandising."

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