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When Twentieth Century Fox released the first Ice Age film in 2002, it debuted with a pint-sized licensing program. While Fox had high hopes for the CGI film from Blue Sky Studios, it realized selling a new property based o
April 6, 2018
When Twentieth Century Fox released the first Ice Age film in 2002, it debuted with a pint-sized licensing program. While Fox had high hopes for the CGI film from Blue Sky Studios, it realized selling a new property based on the adventures of a saber-toothed tiger and a woolly mammoth during the Ice Age wouldn't be easy.
Seven years later, Fox Licensing & Merchandising is unveiling its biggest film-based global licensing campaign ever for Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. The movie is due out on July 1, and the studio has 200 licensing partners on board in more than a dozen categories, dwarfing the 2006 campaign for Ice Age 2 that featured more than 100 licensees and generated more than $500 million in merchandise sales.
"This is the largest global licensing campaign we've had for any film," says Elie Dekel, executive vice president of licensing and merchandising for Fox L&M. "And our largest campaign before this was Ice Age 2, which gives you an idea of how big it is."
This time around, there's a special emphasis on overseas markets that have made the Ice Age franchise a global phenomenon. Ice Age 2 was a huge success in Latin America and set box office records in Mexico, where its merchandise program generated even more revenue than the theatrical release. To tap into the enthusiasm for the third film, Fox L&M has more than a dozen different promotions in Mexico with partners including Kraft, Bimbo, Sabritas/Frito-Lay and Casino. It also has a direct-to-retail deal with Falabella for the film in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Colombia for apparel, underwear, sleepwear, blankets, beach towels and plush dolls.
"We've seen tremendous growth in Latin America, and many of our licensees for Ice Age 3 are on board for the first time," says Dekel. He says Eastern Europe also is a key area for the global program, with promotional partners that include X5 in Russia for Ice Age 3 household products, Unilever for ice cream in Europe and Ferrero for chocolate products.
Here in the U.S., Fox L&M has more than 100 licensees signed up with major players like HarperCollins for puzzles and storybooks, Hallmark for cards and party goods and Activision for the Ice Age 3 video game. For toys, Fox L&M is partnering with several different companies, including Fisher Price and Mega Brands, a departure from the last film for which Mattel was the master toy licensee.
"We have an even wider range of things like plushes, playsets and games, but we wanted to work with leaders in each category this time around," says Dekel. "It's a different strategy because we didn't want to replicate what we did in the past." It's also partnering with McDonald's for Ice Age 3 Happy Meals and other products and is teaming with Toys"R"Us as its primary retail partner for promotions in the toy category.
While Ice Age 3 enjoys strong name recognition—something retailers value above all else for movie merchandise—its product line will arrive in stores at a time when the global economy is still floundering. Dekel says the sales environment is an obvious concern but believes the theme of the movie and the merchandise associated with it should help drive sales. "The theme of Ice Age 3 really revolves around the importance of family and taking care of each other," says Dekel. "It's a hopeful and optimistic movie, and we think the message will really resonate with people in this environment."
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