Disney has the biggest film in the world right now, The Avengers. Having grossed more than a billion dollars, it’s the 10th highest earning film in the history of cinema after being released less than three weeks ago. Disney’s stock has already benefitted and merchandise sales are brisk.
However, Disney has an Avengers problem.
When people want to visit attractions based on characters from The Avengers or visit their costumed characters, they have to go to a competing amusement park. Unfortunately, Disney has done a great job of making people aware that Marvel is their brand and that has now led to disappointment.
Just walking through Downtown Disney on an average weekday illustrated the problem. Guests to D Street asked where the special merchandise was and were told that they had no special Marvel Vinylmation or exclusives. All they could offer was the same merchandise selection offered at any Toys’rus except for Marvel Frenzies from Tokidoki. To make matters worse, the Avengers merchandise that was scattered throughout the stores was very picked over. Thor, Iron Man and Captain America are all that remains. One boy was visibly crestfallen as he looked in vain for his favorite movie character.
Disney could still fix things in time for the fall DVD/BluRay release. With the opening of The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow at Hollywood Studios, plenty of space will be freed at the Hollywood Studios Backlot Tour for props and/or costumes from The Avengers. There could also be a small movie-related exhibit at Innoventions at Epcot. Other parks could also do some sort of little attraction. While Disney would be limited to the film universe because of Universal’s copyright agreements, this could be a huge asset to Disney. Many of the newer fans are not familiar with the original source material at all because they went to The Avengers on the strength of liking certain actors or the plethora of positive reviews.
There is also enough time to solve the merchandise problem. There needs to be more figures of Hulk, Hawkeye and Loki. New figures also need to be added, including Agent Coulson, Agent Hill, Director Fury, Bruce Banner and the Chitauri. Disney must also start to treat its Marvel franchise like Star Wars. Not only does it need pins, Vinylmation and other exclusives but make the Disney characters into the Avengers for figures, just like Goofy is made into Cad Bane or Stitch is turned into the Emperor. It may alienate the traditional male comic book fan but they’re not the main audience for The Avengers. The majority of the audience for The Avengers has been either female or a child and Disney needs to address that, too.