Turning toys into feature films has become a boffo trend for the film industry. The computer animated feature Toy Story was evidence that not only could you create a popular movie franchise based on anthropomorphic playthings, but you could also turn it into a huge merchandising success. The Hasbro company in particular has been able to capitalize on this genre with Battleship, G.I. Joe, and Transformers. And just when you thought they might have run out of ideas, The Lego Movie was released in February this year, and immediately became a blockbuster hit.
Well, forget about toys. A new trend may be developing. There’s a film project in development that may signal in a new category of the commercial-product-turned-into-a-film genre. The main characters in this new movie are essentially grocery items. Chick-shaped marshmallows to be exact. Or more specifically, Peeps, the brand name for those sugar blobs that vaguely resemble chicken hatchlings that appear in Walgreen stores every Easter.
Adam Rifkin, the filmmaker behind Underdog and Detroit Rock City, has secured the film rights from Just Born, the candy company that makes the sugary creatures. Don’t scoff. Euromonitor International says that sales of the chicks and their bunny counterparts rake in $63 million a year. Enterprising movie producers take note. There could be big box office bucks to be had making food-themed films.
Should the Peeps project get off the ground and make a profitable theater run, we might begin seeing more consumer products appearing on the theater screen. For example, breakfast cereal icons Snap, Crackle and Pop, or Tony the Tiger might be ideal for this emerging audience market. The Keebler Elves could develop their Hollow Tree Factory into an entire fantasy universe in Smurf-like fashion, including an ample inventory of Keebler merchandise.
The mind reels with the possibilities: Mrs. Butterworth, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Mr. Peanut; the list is virtually endless. The Jolly Green Giant once had his own top 40 hit song. Why not a feature film starring a green, monstrously sized behemoth? It’s a natural. Or if you want to go for an epic classic, Betty Crocker could be the mother of all trademark inspired movies. Scoff if you must, but don’t underestimate the creative hutzpah of the marketing mind.