Gifts Today magazine

Monster plans for Godzilla

Japanese licensor Toho appoints independent licensing company Rocket Licensing to represent the world-famous Godzilla brand in the UK and Ireland

With two new films due - Godzilla: King of the Monsters scheduled for 2019 and Godzilla vs Kong (tentative title) in 2020 - one of the world's most popular film monsters is getting appropriately gargantuan exposure in the next two years. The upcoming powerful 2019 blockbuster from Warner Bros and Legendary features an all-star cast including Stranger Things' Millie Bobbie Brown, as well as stunning special effects. Both Rocket and Toho expect demand for licensed product to be higher than ever as they prepare to celebrate an impressive 65 years of terror and mayhem in 2019, and are planning accordingly across a number of categories.

Target categories for licensed product include apparel, accessories, homewares, toys, novelties and gifts, publishing, stationery/social stationery, and games and puzzles. With both classic and new movie appeal, the core target market for the brand is expected to be adult men and boys age 6-18. There is also likely to be a strong secondary market for parents, gift buyers and adult women.

Godzilla began as a Jurassic creature evolving from sea reptile to terrestrial beast, awakened by mankind's thermonuclear tests in the inaugural film. Over time the franchise itself has evolved, as Godzilla, and the other creatures from the Godzilla films, have become a metaphor for social commentary in the real world. The characters are no longer mere entertainment icons but embody emotions and social problems of the times.

Godzilla first appeared in Toho's Godzilla (1954), a classic monster movie widely regarded as a masterpiece. Toho's work launched a monster franchise that has expanded over 64 years with more than 30 films. The line of original movies continues up to the controversial Shin Godzilla (2016), and the following year, Toho launched its first animated production currently streaming on Netflix.

Godzilla has become a globally recognized icon, finding its way into worldwide pop culture and influencing many creative minds. The character has been adapted via numerous international motion pictures, including TriStar Pictures' Godzilla (1998) directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) and Warner Bros. and Legendary's Godzilla (2014) directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One), re-introducing the character to a new generation and global audience. Godzilla continues to stomp through popular culture with Godzilla: King of the Monsters directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus) to be released in May 2019, and Godzilla vs Kong (tentative title) planned in 2020.

A retail phenomenon since its first inception, Godzilla has inspired numerous tributes from the worlds of film, gaming, literature and art. Today Godzilla, stars in numerous video games, novels, comic books and television shows. It was the first international fictional character to have its name embedded in the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has inspired its very own store in Tokyo, along with numerous licensed products.

The mutant dinosaur's size, fearsome look and capacity for large-scale destruction have made it a massive favourite round the world and a very different type of film hero. Visitors to the Rocket stand (B5) at BLE will have the opportunity to learn more about a licensing programme that - like Godzilla - promises to shake things up a bit.

Charlie Donaldson, Joint Managing Director of Rocket Licensing, says: 'With the arrival of the fantastic new Godzilla film in 2019 and the launch of the animated trilogy on Netflix, awareness of the property is sky-high and growing among fans old and new. The time is undoubtedly right for a new licensing campaign in the UK, and we are delighted to be showcasing the brand at this year's BLE!'

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