Boom time for Star Wars toys
Lucasfilm's Star Wars franchise had its highest toy revenue ever for a non-movie year in 2010 and the best toy revenue since Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
With sales of more than US$510 million ($662 million) last year, Star Wars also maintained its position as the bestselling boys toy licence in the US for the third consecutive year, according to Lucasfilm and research firm NPD Group.
The popularity of animated TV series Clone Wars on US cable network Cartoon Network has helped keep the saga in media play, and toy lines from Hasbro and Lego have helped keep long-time and new fans spending.
Lucasfilm said the brisk sales of toys are also being reflected in demand for licensed products in such categories as publishing, apparel, consumer electronics and housewares. It didn't disclose revenue for all merchandise categories.
Among last year's merchandise successes is the Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary from DK Publishing, which has spent 56 weeks on top of the New York Times Children's Picture Book Bestseller List.
"Around the office, our mantra is that 'Star Wars' is forever, and we continue to see that this is true for our loyal fans," said Howard Roffman, president of Lucas Licensing.
"We've got a great series on the air, and a whole slate of great products that provide ongoing connection points for our audience. When the canvas is an entire galaxy, there is always more to explore."
This year, the sci-fi evergreen will see the release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga on high-definition Blu-ray, a relaunched Star Tours ride at Walt Disney theme parks, a new Hasbro take on the lightsaber and video games, such as Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
All this will lead up to the return of Star Wars to theatres in 2012 with the 3D release of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.