The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Hasbro (HAS) and DreamWorks Animation (DWA) have signed a deal to produce toys and games for two of DreamWorks’ upcoming films.
Hasbro has a long history of producing toys for popular movie franchises like Star Wars and Jurassic Park, not to mention Hollywood’s recent trend of creating film franchises out of toys like Transformers and G.I. Joe (both Hasbro properties). Hasbro is also behind games like Monopoly, Candy Land and Battleship (which was also made into a movie, but let’s not talk about that).
DreamWorks, the studio behind hits like Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon, is hoping Hasbro’s experience will help them sell merchandise for two of its forthcoming films: Troll and B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations.
The former will actually be based on the line of naked, neon-haired troll toys that popped up in the 90s, despite the fact that audiences have already seen two of the greatest troll movies imaginable. Meanwhile, B.O.O. will star Seth Rogan and Melissa McCarthy as the voices of two paranormal agents (both of them ghosts) who must save the world from a ghost army.
Activision (ATVI) has already found success cross-promoting content and merchandise with its Skylanders video game, which uses toys that interact with the game through near-field communication. The game has sold well, earning $500 million in the U.S. and $1 billion worldwide, inspiring Disney (DIS) to develop its own version of a toy-driven video game — Disney Infinity.
The logic in the Habro-DreamWorks deal seems to be that a hit film from DreamWorks will lead to higher toy sales, which will hopefully widen the films’ popularity, and possibly have a cyclical effect, sending kids (and their parents) back into theaters.
But, again, we’re talking about naked, neon-haired trolls from the 90s. Whether that makes for good cinematic story fodder remains to be seen.
Personally, I’ll be holding out for a Street Sharks movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Adam Benjamin is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.