The Toy Industry Underestimated ‘Black Panther’. Now There’s A Toy Shortage

Written by Ann Brown

 

“Black Panther” just topped “Titanic” to become the third highest-grossing film in unadjusted earnings, so how come Wakanda fans can’t seem to find enough “Black Panther” toys on store shelves?

Hasbro, which holds the master license for “Black Panther” toys, says no new toys are on the horizon any time this month even though the film’s DVD is about to be released.

“Hasbro often comes out with new items with a video release,” said Jim Silver, president of toy review website TTPM, in a New York Post interview. But “the toy industry underestimated ‘Black Panther.’”

It didn’t help that Hasbro only created 11 “Black Panther” toys for the film’s debut. That’s about half of what retailers offered for the “Justice League” film and a third of what they carry for “Power Rangers” movies.

But a Disney spokeswoman claimed that the “Black Panther” product line is “the largest ever for a Marvel origin film, including expanded categories, such as performance wear and high-fashion collaborations.”

“Black Panther” had same toy allotment as “Wonder Woman,” according to industry publication Licensing Letter.

“This is an industry that downplayed the female character in ‘Star Wars’, resulting in shortages of Rei figures after the release of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’” said Richard Gottlieb, CEO of Global Toy Experts, in The Post. “The African-American community was very excited about this movie.”

However the toy industry did not want to take a risk on the film, worried that it would not generate “broad public demand,” he said.

The toys have been sold out since early March, three weeks after the movie’s Feb. 16 debut. Yet as of April 8, Amazon had only one of the 6-inch, $10 action figures of the movie’s villain, Erik Killmonger, available for its Prime members, the Post reported. The $20 Vibranium Power FX mask was sold out at many stores, including New York-area Target locations.

People are venting on Twitter.

There might be some more “Black Panther” products on the horizon. A source close to “Black Panther” distributor Disney–whose CEO, Bob Iger, admitted he’d been blindsided by the movie’s success–told the Post that there is “a second wave of product coming in the next few months,” but didn’t give details.

The Wrap reported that there are indeed more “Black Panther” action figures on the way. “Disney says that a new batch of ‘Black Panther’ merch will be slowly rolled out over the summer, including new toys that will coincide with the film’s Blu-Ray release and the theatrical release of ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ as well as back-to-school items in July and a new line of toys and Halloween costumes in September.”

And there will be the new “Black Panther” helmet, which actually lights up, as seen in the movie. Marvel Studio News reported that the helmet will go on sale in August and is now available for pre-order.

Black Panther toys
Black Panther toy-commercial

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About Ann Brown
Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.

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