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Force Friday spurs double-digit gains

Published: September 15, 2015
Industry data-tracker NPD Group reports that Disney's Sept. 4 global "Force Friday" rollout was a great victory for the Star Wars empire of licensed products, with triple-digit growth in some areas as Christmas and the December release of the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, draw closer.

Force Friday dawned in Sydney and ended at Lucasfilm in San Francisco, and featured new items from Hasbro, Jakks Pacific, Mattel, Lego, Spin Master and others, with many stores holding midnight openings. In Australia, year-to-date sales of Star Wars products grew 13 percent in value and 20 percent in units moved.

One item in particular seems to be the droid customers are looking for: the new app-enabled BB-8 by Sphero. The interactive, adaptive robot responds to voice commands, transmits messages as "holograms," and emits various expressions and sound effects as heard in the movie trailer. Lego unveiled Star Wars Episode 7 playsets that replicate details from the film, including surveillance cameras, laser cannons, and new vehicles and characters. Hasbro is bringing out several 15cm action figures as well as a BladeBuilders-series Jedi Master Lightsabre, Poe’s X-Wing, a Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster, a Battle Action Millennium Falcon, and the Micro Machines First Order Star Destroyer. Kits from Bandai and Revell are among several plastic scale models to come.

Predictions are that the first film in the new trilogy could generate $5 billion in sales in the year following the December premiere.