Hit Box Office Movie, National Tour and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Fuel Massive Fan Fervor While Driving Mainstream Brand Awareness
LOS ANGELES, CA – April 1, 2019. Ahead of Licensing Expo 2019, Toei Animation Inc. and Funimation®, a Sony Pictures Television company, released today their annual Dragon Ball franchise report detailing the successful results of their licensing efforts over the past 12 months including new agreements since last year’s expo. Produced by Toei Animation and distributed in the U.S. & Canada by Funimation, the Dragon Ball anime franchise consists of 20 feature films and four TV series, namely “Dragon Ball,” “Dragon Ball Z,” “Dragon Ball GT” and “Dragon Ball Super,” the first new storyline in more than 18 years from original creator Akira Toriyama. 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of Dragon Ball’s introduction to U.S. and Canadian audiences and the global 30th anniversary of the “Dragon Ball Z” anime TV series. Dragon Ball has left an indelible mark on pop culture as reflected by the multi-generational, multi-cultural fandom it enjoys today.
Brand awareness and consumer demand for merchandise from anime fans as well as the mainstream market were intensified by several franchise initiatives and associated promotional marketing. These included the North American Dragon Ball Tour, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” feature film. Launched last July at San Diego Comic Con 2018, the North American Dragon Ball Tour was a seven-month-long, seven-city interactive tour showcasing exclusive and collectible licensed figures as well as electronic games. The tour was supported by a major out of home (OOH) advertising campaign which included building wallscapes in San Diego and a Times Square billboard. In November 2018, Dragon Ball became part of the 92-year history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the debut of a giant-sized Goku helium balloon. The 2018 parade generated an estimated 20 billion media impressions and was the first introduction to Dragon Ball for tens of millions of American households, significantly increasing awareness of the franchise. And this past January, North American audiences experienced “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” the franchise’s 20th feature film and the first based on the “Dragon Ball Super” series. The movie was a $30 million box office hit and was supported by a six-month-long theatrical campaign that culminated in a Hollywood premiere at the historic Chinese Theatre.
In the 12 months since Licensing Expo 2018, Toei Animation and Funimation executed more than a dozen agreements with new licensees and an equal number of agreements for renewals or additional rights with existing licensees. Collectively these agreements covered a range of categories, including mass market apparel, home goods, wall décor, accessories, gifts, calendars and costumes, as well as new rights for “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” and the “Dragon Ball Z” 30th Anniversary. These successes not only unleashed untapped demand for “Dragon Ball Z” merchandise but also swelled the popularity of “Dragon Ball Super” merchandise as well.
Apparel was once again a top performing category for the franchise. Licensee Bioworld was a key contributor in this category where they successfully expanded distribution into mass market retail. In addition to their “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball Super” apparel collections, Bioworld also supplies accessories like headwear, bags and stationary as well as underwear and sleepwear.
The global release of Adidas’ “Dragon Ball Z” themed sneaker collection announced last year proved to be immensely popular. Fans, who have been clamoring to buy the highly collectible, limited edition sneakers, can look forward to one final set of designs this summer. An additional collaboration of note was with Primitive Skating Company. Launched last May shortly after Licensing Expo 2018, “Primitive x Dragon Ball Z” offered fans a co-branded collection of skate decks, wheels, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets and socks.
Due to the overwhelming success of the first collection, Primitive released a “second drop” just three months later featuring all new designs and additional characters from the “Dragon Ball Z” series.
The list of new licensing agreements secured by Toei Animation and Funimation includes:
- Accutime: Designer and manufacturer of on-trend, private label, branded fashion watches for two new watch collections based on “Dragon Ball Super” and “Dragon Ball Z.”
- Underboss: Underwear and sleepwear manufacturer popular with skaters, club kids and cosplayers for two collections including underwear, sleepwear, swimwear and Mo-Show socks based “Dragon Ball Super” and “Dragon Ball Z.”
- Rabbit Tanaka: Maker of premiere entertainment lifestyle products for a collection of tattoo sleeves, dimensional shadow boxes, MDF board signs and tin signs based on “Dragon Ball Super.”
- Spirit Halloween: Specialty retail chain for a direct to retail collection of adult and children Halloween costumes and accessories based on “Dragon Ball Super.”
- Traly: Multi-product importing company for a collection of enamel pins for Target based on “Dragon Ball Z.”
- Fusion FG: Designer and manufacturer of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and fitness apparel for a collection of fighting gi, rash guards, spats and fighting shorts based on “Dragon Ball Z.”
- Ground Up: Designer and manufacturer of licensed and owned brand footwear for a collection of casual footwear, seasonal footwear, sandals, slides, flip flops and slippers based on “Dragon Ball Z.”
- Party City: Specialty retail chain for two direct to retail collections of adult and children Halloween costumes and accessories based on “Dragon Ball Super” and “Dragon Ball Z.”
- Primitive Skate Company: Well-known merchandiser of skateboard gear and clothing for a new
co-branded collection based on “Dragon Ball Super.”
- Naked and Famous: Denim apparel company for a co-branded “Dragon Ball Z x Naked and Famous” collection of denim pants and jackets based on “Dragon Ball Z.” (image05)
- Transworld Entertainment: Entertainment retailer for a direct to retail collection of consumables, confectioneries, beverages, beauty products such as Korean masks, soap, bath bombs and scents based on “Dragon Ball Z.”
Toei Animation and Funimation will be actively seeking additional partners at Licensing Expo 2019 for “Dragon Ball Super” and “Dragon Ball Z” themed merchandise in a variety of categories including pet accessories, bedding, health and beauty. For more information or to schedule a meeting, please visit either the Toei Animation (F-196) or Funimation (K-230) booths to speak to a licensing representative.
About Toei Animation Inc.
Based in Los Angeles, Toei Animation Inc. manages the film distribution of Toei’s top properties, including Dragon Ball all series, Sailor Moon, One Piece, Digimon series, Saint Seiya, and many others to North America, Latin America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Toei Animation Los Angeles office further handles all categories of consumer product licensing based on its film and television brands within these territories. For more information, please visit toei-animation-usa.com.
Funimation, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, is the go-to destination for extraordinary anime. By combining its integrated in-house studios along with its technology and distribution partnerships, Funimation leads the industry with its omnichannel approach to offering anime to fans – from streaming and home entertainment, to theatrical distribution and broadcast television. The company’s next generation streaming service, FunimationNow, provides subscribers with instant access to their favorite sub and dub shows in ad-free HD on the widest array of devices and platforms—from smartphones and tablets to TVs and gaming consoles. For more information about Funimation, visit funimation.com.
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