BLE Interview: Monster smash

Sony Pictures’ Jamie Stevens delves into the vault to share more on its thriving reboot business – giving the hit movie properties of the 80s and 90s a new lease on life

Posted 10.10.2018

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Looking to the past continues to be a good means of moving forward for Sony Pictures, revitalising your favourite movies of the 80s and 90s with brand-new theatrical releases and exciting licensing programmes.

The studio is enjoying its best year in a decade, spearheaded by the box office success of Hotel Transylvania, and Jamie Stevens, EVP Global Consumer Products, says that’s just the beginning.

“What the studio achieved with Hotel Transylvania 3 shows that there is a real 365-day audience for the monster franchise – not just Halloween. We moved the cinema release this year from Hotel Transylvania’s traditional October slot into the summer blockbuster window because we felt the third movie in the franchise would hold its own – and it blew us away.

Now with the new TV series – a second season is on the way – Hotel Transylvania has become a true franchise for the whole family, and Sony will be working to build the brand out through licensing.

“We have Jazwares on board as our master toy and they have done an incredible job getting into the details and intricacies of what makes the characters so unique and translating that into toy. It’s the first time we have a toy line for the franchise and we could not be happier with the way they are turning out,” says Jamie.

The monster theme continues with next year’s 35th anniversary of Ghostbusters. “I can’t believe it’s been that long,” says Jamie. “We’re really doing something special for the fans with an extensive consumer products programme and a host of events, including concerts around the world, including here in London, celebrating the music from the franchise.”

The activity will solely be focused on the classic brand and the very first movie, which remains as popular today as it did in 1984.

“It’s such an enduring property for us,” says Jamie. “I think the fact that it really is for the whole family – not just appropriate but genuinely entertaining for everyone – is a huge part of the appeal, and we will have something for all ages, whether it’s baby apparel or product for teens and adults.”

An augmented reality app, is bringing the brand into the 21st century, letting fans hunt ghosts in their very own homes and towns – and anywhere they venture.

Other properties up for an overhaul include Men in Black, with brand-new aliens, characters and a “very exciting slate” of licensees already on board. And Charlie’s Angels is getting a make over, returning to the spotlight with a natural focus on apparel and fashion.

Delving into the Sony Pictures Vault – the firm’s catalogue of classic TV and movie properties – there’s more retro magic. Jamie explains: “We’re really opening up our catalogue of TV series and movies. There’s a phenomenal amount of properties and content, and what we really love is when we have licensees coming to us to tap into one of those brands for something unique. A great example of this is was a Boyz in the Hood apparel range… for babies!”

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