Sony Pictures Entertainment "ain't afraid of no ghosts" as it drums up celebrations, products, events and more in honor of the 1984 film Ghostbusters.
Who could have possibly known that, even 35 years on, Ghostbusters, the semi-dark, mostly family-friendly comedy franchise would continue to be as relevant today as ever? This year, Sony Pictures Entertainment is gearing up for a year of celebrations that will bring the property to products, experiences, events and more.
In a timely augment to the big anniversary, in January it was announced that the franchise is getting a new movie, directed by none other than Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, the film's original director. (The film, which is set to release in 2020, is not intended to be a reboot but rather a continuation of the first two films from the '80s.)
This, coupled with the milestone anniversary, is calling for big celebrations around all things Ghostbusters, and Sony is taking the party to the streets and shelves in true style. Building that program is Sony's team of licensing professionals, spearheaded by Jamie Stevens, executive vice president, worldwide consumer products.
"Believe it or not, Ghostbusters is celebrating its 35th anniversary, which is timely for a couple of reasons," says Stevens. "I think that, if you look at what's on trend, it just so happens that IP from the '80s and '90s is really popular right now, so celebrating the 35th is hitting all the notes, along with other activity around the brand."
"We have a ton of partners, which is fantastic," says Stacey Kerr, senior vice president, global licensing, Sony Pictures Entertainment. "We strategically looked at other brands that are also celebrating their 35th, and we tapped Hasbro. It's the 35th anniversary of Transformers, and it's Ghostbusters' 35th, so we are celebrating together with a transforming Ecto-1 toy that will be sold exclusively at GameStop, which is also celebrating its 35th anniversary."
And that's not all that's in store.
According to Kerr, planned are comic books that tie back to the Hasbro/Transformers partnership from IDW Publishing, products from partners such as Funko for a special line of Pop! vinyl figures, large-scale figures and an Ecto-1 car in partnership with Playmobil, costumes from Rubie's Costume Co., brickheads from LEGO, keepsake ornaments and a collection of Itty Bitty plush from Hallmark, Chia Pets from NECA and a host of apparel and accessoriesfrom licensees such as Mad Engine, Ripple Junction and Hybrid that play on the '80s aesthetic from both the film and a top-notch style guide the team at Sony have created.
Perhaps one of the most exciting new products–and arguably the most on-brand, harkening back to the film's plotline and breakout star, the ghostly Slimer, who does just as his name suggests–is a line of slime kits from licensee Mattel.
More partnerships are in the works and will be announced throughout the year.
"When we looked at this program, we picked the categories and licensees by fan base," says Stevens. "We have collector product, product for older children and product for kids that are just entering the franchise. We've looked at this 35-year span and the huge fan base it has, and have delivered product for that. We wanted to make sure we had something for everybody."
"A thing that is unique about our group is that we are very careful about how we extend a brand, the type of partners that we have and the type of products we put out," continues Stevens. "We really make sure that it all goes back to what the IP and film are about. It's not just slapping a logo on a product. It is really something that we consider important for everything we do."