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Star Wars Rules Pop Culture Collectibles

The growing action figures and collectibles market has Star Wars to thank for its success these past few years. The NPD group estimates that the property was the top-earner in toys sales for 2016 (at nearly $760 million in the U.S.)—while TLL ranked Star Wars as No. 2 for overall licensed retail sales in 2015 at $1,327 million in the U.S./Canada.

Entertainment Earth, the wholesale toy and collectibles retailer, reports that it saw sustained demand for products based on Star Wars from mid-October 2016 to mid-January 2017. But there was also significant consumer interest in more recent media phenomena like Stranger Things and Guardians of the Galaxy that the retailer expects will make strong inroads into 2017.

Video games, including indie game Five Nights at Freddy’s, and anime properties are also making a strong showing for 2017 as the “geeky” brands begin to enter into the mainstream. And superheros? Hardly deserve a nerd label anymore, as they’ve entered the mainstream pop culture consciousness thanks to a host of big-budget productions over the last decade. The lesser-known heros and villians from the DC Comics and Marvel universes are getting strong screen time with their own feature films and streaming series with merchandise to match.

Note that Star Wars sales weren’t necessarily focused on the latest Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film. Entertainment Earth’s overall best-selling collectible in the prior three months was the Wave 9 case from “The Black Series,” Hasbro’s line of deluxe 6-inch Star Wars action figures, which mostly features characters from older Star Wars material.

And while our sources are hinting at a variety of new merchandise connected to this year’s Star Wars film, most of the excitement is centered around classic characters, ships, and robots that make up the backbone of the classic sci-fi series.

Finally, Entertainment Earth reports that while Hasbro remained the number one company by sales, the continually growing scope and popularity of its Pop! Vinyl figures made Funko the top company based on volume for the previous three months. Based on volume, Hasbro was number two and Bif Bang Pow!, the in-house Entertainment Earth brand, was number three.

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