Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round #8

by Jay Cochran
October 18, 2008
The folks who work on the new Indiana Jones toy line at Hasbro have agreed to do a regular Q&A session with us here at TNI regarding their new toy line hitting shelves now.


TNI: There are rumors the Toht wave of figures has been canceled. Is this true?

Hasbro: This is true - the second Raiders line will not be coming to retail in 2009 as previously planned.


TNI: As a follow-up to the first questions, many readers fear that this line is basically dead in the water and about to be canceled. Is this true or is there something you can tell them that will help put their fears to rest?

Hasbro: Without a movie or entertainment backdrop to maintain kids' interest in the line, it's just not possible to maintain momentum in the intensely competitive boys' action aisle. We are extremely passionate fans of the IJ line ourselves and anticipate that the line will return if and when there is another IJ movie. Until then, the decision to rest the brand will position it for the best possible return.


TNI: Why is it these days (and probably since Star Wars first hit the shelves back in the late 70's), an action figure line has to have something like a movie or TV show pushing it to survive? Why isn't it possible to create a cool action figure line (not nessecairly Raiders but any line), promote it with other ways (like advertisements on TV, web and magazines), and have it survive? There are many toy lines that fall outside of action figures (like girls dolls and video games) that seem to survive without a movie or TV show pushing them, but we always hear with action figures that if there is no show or movie, the line can't survive. I'm just curious where this line of thinking in the toy industry comes from and do you think that it's a possible reason why boys' action figures have become somewhat limited as far as sales in the overall toy industry as compared with video games, girls toys, etc etc? (This question really pertains more to the selling of action figures to parents and their kids not adult collectors.)

Hasbro: Toys are grouped together at retail by consumer-insight driven play patterns (as you mention), but the retail performance expectations for each category are very different regarding top line sales, margin delivery and the like. It is entirely possible that a toy line one aisle over delivers a fraction of the sales but meets retailer satisfaction in other areas, and this is measured against different standards. In an aisle dominated by entertainment, as the boys aisle is and has been for 30+ years, expectations are very high and the competition intense. It is very difficult for non-entertainment-backed brands to succeed, and even GI Joe (the only standout in the last 15 years to have succeeded continuously without persistent entertainment) has a major movie coming down the pike. Entertainment is not only the cost of entry to the boys' aisle, it is necessary to keep kids engaged and coming back to provide a healthy core of support for any line.


If you would like to ask a question of this team, head over to our FORUMS and post it. We may use it in a our next Q&A which will take place on October 31, 2008.


Also see:

Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round 7
Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round 6
Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round 5
Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round 4
Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round 3
Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round 2
Indiana Jones Q&A With Hasbro Round 1



Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
ExultedUnicron - 2008-10-23 @ 10:57 am

well, I'm finally glad Hasbro's finally admitted that we're not getting anything new

Wheeljack35 - 2008-10-19 @ 4:51 am

Here are some questions from other boards

Indiana Jones Collectors

IJC: With the "death" of the Indiana Jones Line coming at the end of the year, are there things you wished you did differently (besides not doing it at all maybe)? I know a lot of collectors who were on the fence with the line and had decided not to pursue it after hearing rumors about it's impending demise over the summer.

Do you think if it was advertised more or if you planned a shorter run and issued more key characters and vehicles up front it would have lived on? I realize it was a movie year but maybe if there was less emphasis on KOTCS and stores were not jammed with the same figures, there would have been better success?

H: We are *thrilled* to have been able to bring a very ambitious Indiana Jones line to reality after all these years. For many of us, the IJ series remains one of our favorite film franchises, up there with Star Wars, and it was our passion that was instrumental in bringing the franchise to Hasbro. IJ was labor of love for us, and the passion and commitment that we brought to the line are evidenced in the quality and depth of the line, not just the 3-3/4" line up but across the board targeting both kids and collectors.

As for the lineup we had to work with, the reason for doing the line in the first place was the new movie that brought a new excitement and potential audience to the IJ franchise, so that would always form the core of the line. We reacted as quickly as we could to the news of the movie, so getting out more figures from the original films was not the answer when we had all hands on deck trying to bring new movie figures to light as quickly as possible. In hindsight, we would not have done anything differently than we did.

Regarding the fans who "waited"...well, we can't really build lines around those who wait on the fence and if they weren't enjoying the offering after close to 30 3-3/4" figures, deluxe sets, and vehicles, we're not sure what could get them into the line. To repurpose a phrase from the upcoming election, people have to be "in" and voting, otherwise their votes aren't heard.

IJC: If there is another IJ movie, will you bring the line back in any capacity?

H: Definitely. We plan to bring the line back if/when there is another IJ movie. All of the development work we have done on the line, but did not get a chance to ship or finish, will be brought back onto the front burner if we get word of another film in development.

IJC: Any chance of doing one last wave, based on collector voting at various sites on the web and at Hasbro.com? It could include one of each figure in a solid case and be sold directly at HasbroToyShop.com as a case only. That would give the collectors a chance to finish off the figures that never made it.

H: This will not be a possibility due to the large production volume requirements and the relatively smaller sell-through opportunity online vs brick and mortar retailers.

Cool Toy Reveiw

Cool Toy Review: At one of the premieres of Crystal Skull, George Lucas stated - I have an idea to make Shia [LaBeouf] the lead character next time and have Harrison come back like Sean Connery did in the last movie. I can see it working out. Does the prospect of another Indiana Jones movie play a role in deciding the future of Indiana Jones toys for Hasbro? While Hasbros contract for Indiana Jones toys did appear to only refer to four films, could a stripped back line for the lean years between Crystal Skull and the next film satisfy a big company like Hasbros bottom line, or would this be a movie year only line, rising and falling solely on movie/DVD launch support?

Hasbro: IJ is a property that closely follows the entertainment support. Given the intensely competitive nature of the boys' toy aisle, it can shine during a movie year but otherwise does not have the support to continue the line when there is no entertainment to keep consumers interested. If there is another film, we will be there with toys for it, including items that were planned for the 2009 line but have been placed on hold.

Cool Toy Review: I was wondering if, in deciding to continue the Indiana Jones line or not, Hasbro takes into account the truly staggering improvement in toy quality from the first assortments in May to the latest assortments? I came into this late I took one look at the Indy figures in May and kept walking. In all honesty, some of them looked like bootlegs. Then I saw the upcoming Indy figures shown at SDCC (Toht etc,) looked up images of the new Last Crusade and Temple of Doom assortments, and was hooked. These new figures surpass the best of the current Star Wars line (which I also collect,) in both attention to detail and accuracy of face sculpts (Kate Capshaw thanks you.) I have never seen a line improve so much going from, in my eyes, an F to an A+. Could this issue of radically improved quality so obvious to buyers standing in the retail aisle regardless of age, yet perhaps lost on the accounting department at Hasbro counting up pegwarmers factor into deciding the future of what has at the "eleventh hour" blossomed into a truly fantastic line? If I totally ignored the line in May, yet have bought up everything released within the last two months, could it be that I am the tip of the iceberg of disappointed fans who have suddenly seen the new releases and jumped onboard this line?

Hasbro: You are not the tip of the iceberg, but thanks for finally jumping into the water. A property like IJ, with a smaller (but passionate) fan base needs an entertainment backdrop to keep kids engaged in the property as well.

Cool Toy Review: What has been your assessment of the foray into 12 figures for the Indiana Jones line? I was surprised to see them when the line was announced given the handing of the Star Wars 12 line to Sideshow and a bit of movement away from the scale, but was impressed with the decent quality of the sculpts and accessories of these dolls for a very low $20 pricepoint, an easy yes for parents. Hasbros 12 Star Wars figures may have been hit and miss, but a decent number were terrific quality - the 1998 Luke Jedi and Bib Fortuna 2 pack figures are in some respects superior to the Sideshow offerings along with being terrific value at a $20 pricepoint generally. This made me wonder what Hasbros opinion of the 12 scale is in general in todays mass-market setting, and of the Indiana Jones product specifically. While local retail experience can be deceiving, these toys seemed to sell through in the end and remain pretty strong price wise on eBay. There were mis-steps i.e. German soldier and Mutt (a somewhat weak character Hasbro understandably assumed was the new Indy and therefore produced in heavy numbers) but these appeared to be the exception. These 12 figures do seem to have value at retail when the character choice is right and the sculpt delivers any thoughts on both the scale and the future for Indiana Jones 12?

Hasbro: 12" is a scale back in a couple lines at Hasbro - most notably IJ and GI Joe, as it is a great play pattern for kids. It's likely that if there is another IJ movie that 12", in some form, will be back. However, we do not have plans to return to the format for Star Wars, instead enjoying the systematic exploration of that space that Sideshow is providing.

Devil Bat - 2008-10-19 @ 3:19 am

I find it hard to believe children drove sales in this line to begin with, especially when it comes to the figures based on the earlier films. Sheesh. You'd think they'd reward long-time, hardcore fans and customers with even a limited release of that last wave. What a disappointment...

Dark Horse - 2008-10-19 @ 1:33 am

Hasbro are bastards. Greedy, lying bastards.

Wheeljack35 - 2008-10-19 @ 1:17 am

They should of never got our hopes up showing us that wave if they weren't intending on releasing it the bastards

terminator - 2008-10-19 @ 12:10 am

i said it once and you can bet your royal behind, that i will say it again and again: hasbro sucks.

rherk - 2008-10-18 @ 11:04 pm

Oh well. I find it interesting how they can release a crappy 4 pack of already released figures but not these new ones. How about 2 four packs to cover this wave?

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