The Motley Fool: Generation 1 to Boost Hasbro's Revenue
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 2:09PM CSTCategories: People News, Company News, Digital Media News
Posted by: Va'al Views: 47,568
Hasbro experienced great success with its live action Transformers movies over the past six years driving an increase in revenue following their releases in 2007, 2009, and 2011. However, its revenue then suffers in subsequent years as the euphoria from the previous movie slowly wears off (chart below). So far in 2013 Hasbro's revenue remains roughly even with the same time last year. However, Hasbro can do two important things to help boost revenue during the down years between blockbuster movies.
Create live action TV shows
Hasbro along with The Hub, its media outlet jointly owned by Discovery Communications , needs to follow in the footsteps of Walt Disney and Time Warner in creating adult targeted live action television series. Walt Disney's Agents of SHIELD serves the purpose of raising brand awareness for the Marvel based brands despite the ratings slump. Fellow Fool Leo Sun cites the show's construction on "faulty 1990s logic" or a monster of the week scenario for the show's waning popularity. Joss Whedon's creative team behind this show certainly possesses the talent to turn Agents of SHIELD around if necessary, as evidenced by later Buffy: The Vampire Slayer seasons where the audience saw more depth in its characters due to choices made under difficult and unusual circumstances. Time Warner and 21st Century Fox's contributions to the bandwagon include a Batman Prequel called Gotham, Arrow, and its spinoff Flash.
Along those lines, a live action Transformers or G.I. Joe television show would go a long way in boosting toy revenue in between movie years. While well written animated series such as Transformers Prime are great, they generally are viewed by children limiting the scope of popularity. It's difficult to write an intelligent series geared toward that audience. A live action Transformers television series would probably be expensive ; however, the studios could produce short seasons in a Game of Thrones fashion. G.I. Joe would certainly prove feasible for Hasbro's studio partners.
Bring back Gen 1 Transformers
Walt Disney and Hasbro appeal to the nostalgic collector by releasing toy lines such as the Star Wars: The Black Series and reissuing old Star Wars toys. Moreover, Hasbro occasionally releases a Transformers Generation 1 reissue geared toward people who enjoyed Transformer's original line in their childhood. Hasbro could take this a step further and produce an animated (not computer generated) series that picks up where it left off during the second season in 1986 bridging the gap between that time period and the animated classic Transformers: The Movie. An hour long show with a shortened season could conserve on costs. A good working title: Transformers 1980s. Hasbro could also do a spinoff series that centers on post Transformers: The Movie characters such as Headmasters .
The Foolish takeaway
Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Transformers line and the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth live action Transformers movie. A direct-to DVD Transformers Prime animated movie and a new animated series is also rumored to be in production for release later next year. Hasbro and Hub need to think past next year and put forth some larger revenue generating initiatives like the ones highlighted above or its revenue will likely suffer in 2015.
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Posted by Va'al on December 14th, 2013 @ 2:15pm CST
Posted by durroth on December 14th, 2013 @ 2:26pm CST
Posted by Noideaforaname on December 14th, 2013 @ 2:39pm CST
If Movieverse taught me anything, it's that live-action is not the best way to go about it. The bots have to be CGI, while their alt modes probably have to be licensed (and subject to the whims of whoever holds the license), and a whole bunch of human characters have to be involved to make up for the fact that the bots can't be there the entire time.
A new G1 cartoon might not be bad. I know Frank Welker mentioned wanting to do a "reunion" with the other original cast members. Better do that while there are original cast members...
Posted by BERSEKAEL on December 14th, 2013 @ 2:39pm CST
Posted by BERSEKAEL on December 14th, 2013 @ 2:40pm CST
If they update them as they updated Metroplex, will be just a boom!!!
I would love combiners G1 on legends/legion, like constructicons, stunticons, etc...
Posted by Mindmaster on December 14th, 2013 @ 3:08pm CST
Posted by Manterax Prime on December 14th, 2013 @ 3:33pm CST
Also, Hasbro had an opportunity to continue G1 with the rest of the Headmasters cartoon, but they only aired 3 episodes and called it a day after that.
In all honesty, redoing/bringing back G1 w/ brick toys to boot will most likely hurt sales even more.
Posted by Mindmaster on December 14th, 2013 @ 3:36pm CST
Manterax Prime wrote:In all honesty, redoing G1 w/ brick toys to boot will most likley hurt sales even more.
Even if Hasbro decides to do a Generation One revival, they definitely would not have the stupidity to make bricks. We would just be getting something like the IDW-themed Generations: Thrilling 30.
Posted by BERSEKAEL on December 14th, 2013 @ 3:53pm CST
I believe the longest toy line in legends size has been done for movieverse, however they haven't completed one toy line in the past, leaving too many characters just on names, as a collector I can say, is sad to start collecting a brand action movie and finish filling up holes with 3rd party products, Hasbro is missing there great opportunities, killing himself even with special editions for not world wide distributions.
As they started legends size, now called legion size, they did not fill the whole character spots, not even the half for G1, jumping from tv show to tv show, movie, comic, etc... nothing has been done right. I see very positive re-taken old projects on collector's sake.
on the picture I show an amazing Starscream from hasbro, follow by takara's seekers (hasbro lost there, just Asia market) plus a 3rd party product (hasbro lost again), just as a sample of undone work. 3rd parties are taking advantage.
Posted by Autobot032 on December 14th, 2013 @ 4:41pm CST
Posted by Springer on December 14th, 2013 @ 4:45pm CST
Posted by fenrir72 on December 14th, 2013 @ 5:34pm CST
Stay true to the original G1 with no more of those "stylized" look. The Dery style plus a bit of the mech tech of Studio Ox. Just imagine that?
Btw, which would cost more anyway? 3D or 2 D animation?
Sometimes you needn't look too far away to find a winner. And those current sales advisers in the Hasbro think tank (ahem..........TFA )
Posted by Blozor on December 14th, 2013 @ 5:44pm CST
I think if they got a writer as good as James Roberts to pen the series it would attract new fans in whatever television medium they go with. MTMTE is Transformers done 100% right.
Posted by Lord Grimlock on December 14th, 2013 @ 5:46pm CST
Posted by durroth on December 14th, 2013 @ 6:01pm CST
Posted by Mindmaster on December 14th, 2013 @ 6:04pm CST
durroth wrote:Honestly, I would love to see IDW work with whoever has the tv rights to bring MTMTE or something in that vein to the screen.
Posted by welcometothedarksyde on December 14th, 2013 @ 7:17pm CST
Posted by Bumblevivisector on December 14th, 2013 @ 7:20pm CST
As to how cramming a lost season into the middle of the Sunbow cartoon might go over, let's look back at the last American TV show to even imply serious continuity with it: Beast Machines. While much of fandom is apparently OK with those 2 years of the franchise, I mentioned hydro-fracking in part because that's also a good analogy to BM's approach to storytelling. Yes, the show did produce several ounces of decent drama, but extracting it required forcibly retconning several tons worth of an organic core into a planet which had been entirely cybernetic in cartoons and comics for the previous 15 years. Was it really worth the cost? Enough fans said "no" that a tradition of fiction restarts began immediately afterward.
And no, Beast Wars didn't really have those problems because it tried to remain vague enough be connected to either the G1 cartoons or comics, preventing significant retcons. Of course, Japan just had their version of G1 cartoon continuity without another TF universe running parallel from the beginning, so they've been cramming new stuff into it for almost a decade now. And what's been their most infamous addition to the gap between Sunbow seasons 1 and 2?
Now, it's easy to say that there's no way Hasbro would allow something that inappropriate, but in addition to occurring in the same time gap this article suggests filling, Kiss Players was also clearly targeted at an older audience, technically fulfilling the suggestion for the live action TV show.
The point I'm getting at is that these authors are proposing something which makes business sense on paper without any "boots on the ground" understanding of how that would be implemented in order to please fandom. They've clearly heard the chorus of "Bring back G1!", but if they asked any two fans what that actually means, the answers would be as different as night and day. I think this is genuinely more true for TF than other long running scifi franchises, in part because the original treatment wasn't so much "high concept" as O'Neil and Shooter projecting then-current events onto pre-existing robot toys in the manner of a creative-writing exercise: The oil crisis as relevant to a robot's fuel source, and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens as an expression of ancient power we never knew was right under our feet. (The resulting 4-million year time gap and fighting over fossil fuels have largely faded from prominence in recent years) Therefore, the Sunbow cartoon ended up being just loose enough in its value system that fans could project a LOT of different ideas onto it.
For me, the whole appeal was misanthropy. The general rule of toy-characters in 80's 'toons being decently developed while non-toy-characters were extraneous, when filtered through TF, resulted in a vision of humanity as a bunch of dumb animals who more-or-less deserved to be squashed and have "their" fuel seized by these superior robots from space, with the Autobots being the good guys because they valued protecting lesser species. Since I was already getting fed up with human nature as early as kindergarten, this idea seemed downright empowering, since it forced the viewer to look down on their own race and consider the flaws we might fix so that we might one day be as awesome as these robots. I don't expect anyone else to share this view of the cartoon, but even if it was unintentional, that subtext was there, so I'd consider any TF series totally devoid of misanthropy to be flawed. And yet, TV producers would probably consider removing it a way of making TF mainstream enough for primetime.
And yes, the two most recent American series have misanthropy too, just in different ways. Rescue Bots' only antagonist is a human who would subjugate the rest of his kind if not for the intervention of superior alien robots. Prime just plain never had many humans, and the majority that we actually ever saw do anything were terrorists; KILL 'EM ALL!
And no, even Raksha's take on TF isn't more outlandish than anyone else's.
See, we all agree that there were some flaws in the G1 'toon that a lost-years season should fix: Animation errors, continuity, etc. But no one will ever agree on how to fix them. Someone mentioned Dreamwave, but even its flawed G1 universe reads like Shakespeare compared to much of it's fellow '80s nostalgia boom books. Just look at Wildstorm's Thundercats: that was a "more mature" continuation of a cartoon classic, right?
I think Hasbro's already on the right path; Transfans have it pretty good now, right? If they want to expand their empire, they should focus more on having MLP chip away at Mattel's lock on the fashion-doll market, and experiment with reviving some of their forgotten boy's franchises. M.A.S.K. was already name dropped in Prime, and the current popularity of zombies points to a lot of untapped potential in Inhumanoids and Spiral Zone.
Posted by Sabrblade on December 14th, 2013 @ 7:30pm CST
Posted by Va'al on December 14th, 2013 @ 7:46pm CST
Sabrblade wrote:Ugh, that article is so ignorant and Geewun it hurts.
Hence my sigh.