Star Wars fan Mike Torres, 36, of Fontana and his friends may be well past childhood, but Thursday night took them back to happier days.
Torres gathered his two brothers, his friend and a nephew, wearing Star Wars T-shirts, and were among the first in line at the Toys R Us in Upland for “Force Friday,” a midnight madness event for the first release of new “Star Wars” toys related to the first of a new series of films from Disney.
Fans around the country lined up in front of Toys R Us stores for the first release of new toys at midnight.
Torres, a collector and a Star Wars costume club member, said getting his hands on the new toys will take him back to his younger days.
“It reminds me of childhood,” Torres said. “We had all the toys when we were kids. It’s fun to hang out and talk about Star Wars and get some cool toys in the process.”
His friend, fellow Star Wars costumer Chris Forbes, 42, agreed.
“It’s all about camaraderie and hanging together people with a common interest,” Forbes said.
As Disney releases its new “Star Wars” films beginning with “The Force Awakens” in December, fans around the world are champing at the bit to surf a tsunami of merchandising to hit store shelves commencing tonight with “Force Friday” — midnight madness sales events at major retailers.
The “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” movie is the centerpiece of Disney product output that will also include new theme park attractions, toys, apparel and books, to name a few.
A wide range of products — from toys and collectibles, to books and comics, e-books and apps, to apparel and lifestyle accessories — will be available at major retailers in brick and mortar stores and online outlets, such as DisneyStore.com and Amazon.com.
Toys R Us will be a leading retailer for Star Wars toys, which takes up a significant share of the business.
“Toys R Us has been in the Star Wars business for nearly four decades now since the first items came on the market in 1977,” said Toys R Us spokeswoman Adrienne O’Hara. “Toys R Us has been the destination where customers can find Star Wars merchandise in movie years and nonmovie years. It’s among the top licenses. It really is a phenomenon.”
Disney, in a statement on StarWars.com, had encouraged Star Wars fans to visit their local retailer starting at midnight tonight, and document their experience on social media using the hashtags #ForceFriday and #MidnightMadness.
“Certainly, this is an exciting launch for us and Star Wars fans alike,” O’Hara said. “When you think about it, in 1999 social media was not what it was today. You’re talking about a very tightknit community engagement. They have social media as a fantastic way for them to share their excitement to keep a lot of the momentum alive.”
All told, Star Wars related business has raked in total revenue of about $27?billion, according to StatisticBrain.com, using data from Lucasfilm. The movies alone have earned $4.2 billion, according to the website. Disney acquired the media property three years ago for $4 billion.
The financial services firm Morgan Stanley in June provided a conservative estimate of $2.3 billion in global ticket sales for the new movie, not including any projection for related merchandising.
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