Week 9 Discussion Questions

Most of the revenue in the movie industry comes from ancillary rights, or revenues from non-box office sources. This can include everything from film related merchandise to network TV rights to video rentals. For example, the Harry Potter brand is worth an estimated $25 billion worldwide. Warner Brothers, in turn, has produced related merchandise such as Lego’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle, video games for most platforms developed by EA, and many, many costume pieces and action figures. Universal even developed a section within its theme park dedicated to the brand to increase revenues, and all of this tops off DVD sales and soundtrack CDs.

In what ways do ancillary rights and ancillary products help support a film industry? (Hint: there are 10 categories to discuss) Using another popular film as an example, list specific examples of ancillary rights use.

What started off as a drawing for an idea for a comic book from Bob Kane has exploded into one of the largest franchises we have come to know. Like Harry Potter, Batman started as a book–comic book that is. This spanned out to the silver-screen for a couple of movies in the 1940’s, television series in the 1960’s, along with graphic novels and strips. Except for my fellow nerds kept up with the graphic novels, the Caped Crusader was on hiatus for everyone else for nearly twenty years. All of this changed when Tim Burton and Warner Brothers decided to bring him out of the bat cave and on to the nearest cinema.  Batman (1989) , when released much hyped and highly anticipated. They exploited this with their ancillary rights and products and Michael Keaton. They did advertisements with Diet Coke and Taco Bell.   

DC Comics also decided to pump out the delicious Batman Cereal.

Burton came out with a sequel for Batman with Batman Returns (1992). And with the sequel came more “junk” (I don’t know–that’s what my mother calls it).

The franchise continued in 1995 with a new director in Joel Schumacher and a new Batman in Val Kilmer. To much of the dismay of many fans of The World’s Greatest Detective, the film series took a turn the wrong direction. A direction that made it childish and was caricature of the previous films. The series didn’t suffer. Schumacher’s two films Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) were blockbusters. With the blockbusters came more collectibles.

It also came with it’s first music video from Seal.

In 2005 Christopher Nolan resurrected Bruce Wayne with Batman Begins. Another hit at the box office (a fantastic movie too) and also breathing life back into the great superhero franchise. In 2008 Chris Nolan decided to give the Dark Knight a sequel, The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight recorded the highest grossing opening weekend with $158 million. It is currently the third highest domesticate grossing film of all time, making $533,345,358. The DVD, BluRay, video games and television rights are still pumping out while I type. I could not find an estimate on how much the indivdual Batman brand is actually worth, but one could imagine from the things I have posted. That said, I barely scratched the surface on how much Batman has produced. Batman is evergreen; he has evolved and lasted more than 70 years. And the film franchise will not die with Nolan’s 2012 release of The Dark Knight Returns either. Someone else will pick it up and relive it the next ten to fifteen years. And if not, we’ll still have our comic books.

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2 Responses to Week 9 Discussion Questions

  1. Good example! Especially because I LOVE Batman 🙂 You’re completely right too, the Batman with Michael Keaton came out when I was very young and I do remember seeing Batman merchandise and commercials pretty much everywhere. And those 2 Batman movies that came out in the mid 90s were TERRIBLE. Such a shame since all of the other movies have been so great. Especially the new ones (although that first one from 1989 will always be my favorite). I also agree with you about the ancillary rights and products being the major money makers. Luckily the box office does rake in quite a pretty penny with the hits Batman Begins and A Dark Knight, but still, I believe the Batman enterprise exploits itself with silly McDonald’s toys and endless commercials for various Batman products. I think with the newest movie it was the Joker’s face that I saw everywhere. Mind you I think that was partly due to Heath Ledger’s mysterious and untimely demise right before the movie came out. I must have seen a million and one “Why so serious?” t-shirts from Hot Topic, and everyone and his brother went as the Joker for the last few Halloweens. But I can’t say I mind too much since I love the Joker. Good stuff.

  2. herringmatt says:

    When thinking of movies I thought of Spiderman and never once thought of Batman and what a huge money maker that is. After the first sentence of your post I could not believe that Batman never crossed my mind. Your examples are spot on and as the previous comment mentioned Batman Halloween costumes are extremely popular. When I posted my response I never thought of Halloween costumes and probably left other items off. I enjoyed this post because it reminded of how far back the Batman brand goes. It is incredible that I never even thought of Batman when coming up for a response to this weeks discussion.

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