Hasbro executives told Bloomberg that they listened to kids who thought the character was “cool.” But toy industry analysts tell a different story, suggesting that toy makers may have had lower expectations of Black Panther than they should have.
In January, the month before the movie was released, Black Panther merchandise was in 87 percent of stores in retail tracking service NPD’s point-of-sale panel, according to NPD’s Julie Lennett.
“Black Panther” merchandise was already moving off store shelves pre-release faster than items from any other movies in the last year except “Star Wars” and “Transformers,” Lennett said.
But a closer look at the stores carrying Black Panther merchandise revealed that only 11 toys on average were in stock -- half the number of toys carried on average for Justice League, one-third of Power Rangers, and one-quarter of Spider-Man.
“Not planning for a broader assortment of Black Panther toys might have been a miss in this case,“ Lennett said.
"With these initial figures coming in for January and several weeks of February, it looks like Black Panther is going to not only be a success at the box office, but will also be a success story for the toy industry, which so badly needs a feel-good story right now," Lennett said.