Film merchandising is nothing new, and now it’s a critical part of the Hollywood machine. “Star Wars” set the standard for what could be done with clever licensing. More than $20 billion in “Star Wars” merchandise has sold, including books, toys, electronics, housewares, video games, and more, 24/7 Wall St notes .
Like movies, video games such as Battlefield 4 are starting to merchandise more and more with novels, toys and spin-off comics based on the franchise. However, few pieces of video game merchandise can compare to these bizarre pieces of merchandise from film.
‘Being John Malkovich’: Nesting Dolls
Photo by Darwin Bell via Flickr
Back in the dark ages of 1999, studios released boxed VHS sets, and Polygram was looking for something to make the boxed set of “Being John Malkovich” stand out from the other VHS titles on the shelf. They ended up commissioning Golden Cockerel, a Russian maker of nesting dolls, to produce a unique run of 40,000 matryoshka wooden nesting dolls emblazoned with the faces of Cameron Diaz, John Cusack, Catherin Keerner, and John Malkovich himself. While certainly a strange piece of merchandising, at least it makes some sort of sense, given the content of the film. It might be a little precious and clever, but there must be someone out there who was really excited to see this.
‘Fight Club’: Overpriced Jacket
Photo by Dr. Blofeld via Wikimedia Commons
Nothing says ,“The things you own end up owning you,” like a $155 premium quality leather jacket inspired by the beat-up look of Tyler Durden in the 1999 nihilistic atom bomb, “Fight Club.” For a film that was supposed to be David Fincher’s violent response to crass materialism and mindless consumerism, there certainly were a lot of licensed products being sold. RedBubble has an obscene number of “Fight Club”-themed shirts available, each one completely unaware of its smirking irony — “I am Jack’s licensed merchandise collection.”
‘Twilight’: All Sorts of Junk
Photo by jasonlam via Flickr
The “Twilight” phenomenon makes people crazy, and where there are crazy people, there’s a market. A unofficial cookbook, “Twilight” condoms and perhaps most manipulative of all: a “Twilight” engagement ring. While plastic replicas go for somewhere in the neighborhood of $15, crystal versions of the ring retail for up to $600, and diamond versions are thousands of dollars. More frightening than any vampire or werewolf is there is probably a pretty big market for a strange product such as this.
‘The Human Centipede’: Lovely Jewelry
This is where things go from silly to scary. The world of Etsy is something of a lawless creators’ market, where all sorts of knock-off unlicensed products based on movies or video games are spawned and sold without the creators’ consent. While E! Online reported Lionsgate did sue an unlicensed producer of “Mockingjay” pins last year inspired by “The Hunger Games,” that hasn’t stopped the production of bootleg products. One of the strangest of these is “The Human Centipede”-inspired plastic necklace by BurritoPrincess on Etsy. While it’s hard to imagine the person who would buy this as a serious gift, the same could be said of how serious the film “The Human Centipede” is itself. Maybe this is an appropriate piece of merchandise?
Sean is a freelance entertainment writer and mass communications major from Texas.