Warner Bros. Consumer Products has awarded the master toy license for the Harry Potter films to the collector-oriented NECA Inc. of Hillside, New Jersey. NECA's license will begin in 2007 when Mattel's runs out. NECA plans to produce Harry Potter Action Figures, plush, mugs, wall decor and more, and to have its first wave of products out in time for the release of the latest Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in July of next year.
Warners also announced that Cards Inc. has acquired the Harry Potter master toy license for the European market.
In spite of the fact that the Harry Potter films have continued to do extremely well at the box office and the Harry Potter novels remain strong sellers, Mattel was never able to make the license work. Although its initial wave of Potter toys did well, Mattel has been proclaiming disappointment in sales of its Potter products in its financial reports since mid 2002.
NECA's more collector-oriented sensibility might be just what the Potter toy franchise needs -- and like the young magician himself, Potter fans are growing older so it remains for NECA to figure out a way to appeal to the segment of Potter fandom that wants three-dimensional Potter merchandise.