Who Buys Movie Licenses?

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If you read the tabloids, or just news sites in general, and have a fleeting interest in cinema, perhaps a few sensational titles along the lines of – so and so movie flops, this blockbuster loses big at the box office, and so on have caught your eye. Well, one thing you have to understand is that a lot of the people who write these articles don’t understand how the industry works. So, even if you read that a certain movie didn’t make any money, you can ask yourself – did it really, and who lost it?

You see, movies have different income streams, and most independent features are pre-sold before they hit theatres. Even if major movies underperform at the Box Office, they still get sold to TV stations around the world, streaming services, airlines, and, of course, their licenses are available for purchase by other industries trying to capitalize on the likeness and popularity of their characters.

Online Casinos

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Credit: Pexels

Read more: Why Toy Story 4 Forky’d The Franchise And You Should Ignore It

If you’ve never seen what one of these services looks like, just search – great online casino. When you find one, you’ll notice the hundreds of slot games on offer. You’ll also spot that many of these are based on some of the cinema’s most famous movies like Scarface, The Godfather, Terminator, Jurassic Park, etc.

They feature clips and sounds from the movies, as well as many of their characters. On top of these, many of the games provide free spins, skill-based bonus rounds, and the chance to land great casino rewards. So, it’s no wonder more and more people are playing them, and more and more movies are turned into slots, to entice them.

Toy Manufacturers

This is an obvious one. You’ve been to a toy store and you’ve seen the shelves full of toys from hit Disney and Pixar movies. Kids love toys and they love animated movies too. So, it’s a perfect mix. Today, licensors dream of another Frozen, though the movie is more than a few years old, the toys are still selling like crazy. Some companies are focusing on a more niche adult-oriented market and make toys for that crowd.

Book Publishers

The movie novelization has died out, or maybe it’s still in the process of dying, but once upon a time, these books were good business. They began in the silent era and were at a peak during the 1970s. A fun fact is that most of these came out at the same time as the movie or before it, many of them were written based on first drafts and featured endings that were different for the film on-screen.

Clothing Brands

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Credit: HBO

Read more: Toy Story Turns 25: How The Franchise Is A Time Capsule For Pixar

Don’t be fooled into believing that you can design and sell a T-shirt based on a movie character such as Frankenstein or Dracula, or whoever, and get away with it. Studios are on the lookout for copyright infringement of their highly-franchised material. They will sue! So, companies buy licenses to produce clothing that features or references the likeness of movie characters to appeal to their fan base.

All of the most popular clothing brands have featured numerous characters from movies, but the good thing is that they are all cleared out as they have the license to produce and sell movie-based t-shirts. Additionally, they come with fantastic quality.

What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!



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