Captain Jack Sparrow (expertly played by Johnny Depp) returns to movie theaters this year in the fourth installment of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise: On Stranger Tides. Of course, with a big blockbuster movie comes a big blockbuster toy line. This time around it’s JAKKS Pacific bringing a bounty of pirate treasure to your local toy store.
AFi recently had opportunity to chat with Michael Wilde, Director of Marketing for Boys Entertainment Brands at JAKKS Pacific about the company’s plans for their Pirates of the Caribbean product lines.
AFi: I’ve heard rumor and speculation about this, so I wanted to get this one out of the way right off the bat: Does your Pirates of the Caribbean license cover just "On Stranger Tides" or all 4 films?
We have the rights to “On Stranger Tides” along with the three previous films so you will see new characters or new interpretations of characters alongside some of the classics.
AFi: A lot of companies have tackled the POTC license in the past in a variety of different formats to varying degrees of success. JAKKS‘ planned range is pretty expansive right out of the gate. What is JAKKS bringing to the franchise that fans should get excited about?
JAKKS has always been known as a leader in the Action Figure category and we’ve brought every ounce of that experience and knowledge to the POTC Brand. The detail and depth in assortments are both there alongside a great feature that ties the whole line together and really brings what you see on the screen to life in the product.
AFi: What has been the best part about working with the PIrates of the Caribbean franchise?
The movies are just a lot of fun and working closely with Disney gave us the chance to bring that excitement and energy into our daily development of the line. It’s honestly been a lot of fun!
AFi: I know many fans are excited about the Queen Anne’s Revenge playset. While there seems to be constant demand from collectors online for more playsets, they have proven challenging at retail. On the other hand, it’s hard to have a pirate-themed toyline without a pirate ship. How has the process been for this playset from a design standpoint to make it attractive to retail buyers and consumers?
Fortunately we have a talented design team that is incredibly detailed and wanted to make the line as authentic to what you see on screen as possible. There are lots of little details on this ship that I think both collectors and younger consumers will really get into and appreciate. That said, I also think that the “Hidden Reveal”, which ties the line together, will draw big interest from not only those younger consumers but also the collector community. It adds an element to the figures which really hasn’t been done before. I’m really excited for fans, both young and old, to see it!
AFi: Did your design team have access to the movie while it was filming? Any set visits?
Disney was great with getting us access to any and all materials related to the films. My team was granted access while they were filming scenes in Los Angeles and we were given updates daily on assets for accessories, sets, character designs, costumes, weapons, etc…
AFi: Do any of the figures in the lines utilize the Real Scan technology that has been so prevalent in some of your past lines? How about the 4" line?
You will see the Real Scan technology used across both the 4” and 6” lines. The figures look amazing and our team did an incredible job with the accuracy of the figures.
AFi: Are you able to produce any figures based upon the Jack Sparrow series of children’s novels? Any thoughts of doing so?
Possibly. Stay tuned!
AFi: Did Disney approach Jakks Pacific with the license, or did you pursue it? If so, why?
JAKKS approached Disney to be a part of this hugely successful franchise. This property has non-stop adventure and surprise and the coolest characters that every kid of all ages wants to be. Our plan is to leverage all of our talents and divisions to deliver upon every way a boy, a family, and a collector wants to play with POTC with a diverse and innovative product range that hits upon multiple play patterns.
AFi: Are there any store exclusives planned?
There are a few which we can’t reveal just yet.
AFi: Online retailers are showing either January or February dates for the first products to arrive. Will we see POTC toys in stores prior to Toy Fair next month?
No, we shouldn’t see any product available until March 1st which is the official on-shelf date for the line.
There you have it, me hearties. Be sure to check your local toy retailer to find JAKKS Pacific’s complete line of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides figures, playsets, accessories and more! You can find them at Walmart and Toys R Us in March, Target beginning in April and K-Mart in May.
Be sure to watch AFi’s upcoming coverage of Toy Fair 2011 for more from Pirates of the Caribbean and JAKKS Pacific! The fun is just beginning!
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hits theaters on May 20th in both 3D and 2D.
AFi would like to thank Jeremy Padawer, Anne-Marie Feliciano and Michael Wilde of JAKKS Pacific for making this interview possible.