Star Wars toy empire crushes rebel alliance

Star Wars merchandise led to a huge boost in toy sales in the United States last year. Photo / AFP
Star Wars merchandise led to a huge boost in toy sales in the United States last year. Photo / AFP

Star Wars toys generated sales of more than US$700 million ($1.1 billion) in the United States last year, making them the No1 property in the toy industry.

Sales of toys such as Kylo Ren light sabres, BB-8 droids and models of the Millennium Falcon spacecraft totalled more than those for competing movie franchises Jurassic World, Minions and Avengers combined, retail researcher NPD Group said.

Led by Star Wars merchandise, toy sales in the United States rose 6.7 per cent to US$19.4 billion in 2015, one of the strongest performances in years.

Sales took off on September 4, or "Force Friday", when retailers launched merchandise in anticipation of the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first Star Wars film produced by Walt Disney Co.

"With the early release of Star Wars toys on Force Friday, Star Wars managed to become the No1 property for the year," NPD said.

Such was the demand, toys based on characters from the new movie were hard to find after Christmas. Disney said last week that new toys and collectibles related to the movie were rolling out in the United States.

Many new products feature the female scavenger Rey, the lead character in Force Awakens.

Some customers had complained she appeared under-represented on store shelves filled with male characters from the film.

- AAP

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