Over the past week, I received via eBay a “confidential” notebook with a paper SW logo on the cover, an “Episode I” lanyard, and one of those STAP figures given out at some licensee meeting pre-TPM about 10 years ago. I live for this sort of collectible, because not only is it something not very many other collectors would have, but also because it’s an interesting look into how Lucasfilm marketed SW to those outside of fandom. I have a promotional packet for the TPM video release in 2000 and it has all kinds of marketing information, including the demographics of SW fandom. This particular notebook was apparently from some sort of pitch for inflatable stuff, because it only mentions pool toys, inflatable chairs, etc.. There’s a rundown of who all of the main characters are from TPM with illustrations and some story details, who are all of the actors in the movie, some key vehicles and stuff that might make for good toys, a products strategies & timing schedule, a copy of a SW Insider, a glossy color Lucas Licensing newsletter, and a glossy color brochure with all kinds of marketing and demographic information.
There are all kinds of gems in this lovely notebook.
On the podrace scene: “In a major set-piece in the film, a new high-speed adrenaline-packed form of racing creates a contest that transforms lives.”
Products: “Inflatable snow tubes…downhill inflatables with cold-crack addictive themed to Star Wars vehicles.” Huh? In any case, I don’t think I ever saw those in the store.
Factoids: They apparently estimated the consumer base to switch from majority Gen-Xers in 1996 to majority 8-12 year olds by 1999. The number of people in the official fan club skyrocketed from 13,100 in 1993 to 155,000 in 1997. Sales of SW toys went up 282% between 1995 and 1996.
Uh oh: On one page of the TPM Power Point-style presentation it states thus: “In 1977, Star Wars filled more theaters than any movie since then…including Titanic (true…ANH is the biggest ticket seller since WWII). We expect Episode I, The Phantom Menace to gross more than any movie in history. (Emphasis mine.) No wonder licensees and retailers went ape you-know-what. Talk about setting waaaay too high a bar.
If there was ever any doubt: “Some additional cast members include Samuel L. Jackson in a cameo appearance and Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine. McDiarmid played the role of the evil Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi.”
Get your facts straight: “The noble Jedis (sic) are sent to a distant planet to help a newly elected young (16-year-old) (sic) queen who is facing terrible danger.”
Fun stuff. Maybe I can corner Sansweet at Comic Con and find out more about it.