DC Entertainment, Warner Bros Animation, Warner Bros Consumer Products and Mattel - forming a veritable Hollywood marketing Axis of Evil - issued a joint press release on April 22 saying they were releasing a tsunami of marketing targeted at six-to-12 year-old girls.
The product they will be pushing will be “DC Superhero Girls” - including Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and more - during their formative years.
The cartel promises “fashion dolls featuring strong, athletic bodies that stand on their own in heroic poses”, movies with interconnected plot lines, computer games, comic books and much more. The companies call this using “multiple entertainment content platforms and product categories to create an immersive world”.
“I am so pleased that we are able to offer relatable and strong role models in a unique way, just for girls,” DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson said.
“Relatable” must be the Hollywood buzz word of choice at the moment because Warner Brothers Consumer Products president Brad Globe said: “It’s really an honour to be part of this cultural moment and to be delivering a concept so rooted in a relatable and empowered theme that the characters of DC Comics are uniquely able to present.”
What the cartel is relating to, of course, is profit – and they are taking the superhero war up to their Hollywood rivals, the Disney/Marvel Comics behemoth.
Marvel’s cinematic universe, which kicked off with Iron Man in 2008, is designed to keep the customers coming back for more by using storylines that overlap from one movie to another. The series has raked in US$7 billion at the box office worldwide.
The latest edition, Avengers: Age of Ultron, is expected to be the highest-grossing film ever.
On the films’ coat tails, Disney has sold nearly $1 billion worth of Avenger licenced toy products so far this year. That is in addition to the seemingly never-ending river of gold that Frozen-related merchandise brings Disney.
Frozen was a 2013 animated feature about a pair of gutsy-yet-cute little princesses.
That is the “cultural moment” that the new DC-based cartel wants a slice of. The aim is to get girls to identify with the product early and provide a universe of consumer items about which they will unleash pester power on their parents.
When they grow up there will be another universe of interconnected films for them to lose themselves in.
The success of the Hunger Games and Divergent films demonstrated that young women want to see strong female characters on screen and young men are not threatened by that.
Hollywood has noted that and is adapting, like a form-changing monster, to absorb and negate the cultural threat, while extracting ever-greater profit from the people in the seats.