‘Black Panther’ Toy Shortage Blindsides Retailers

Jeremy Fuster
‘Black Panther’ Toy Shortage Blindsides Retailers

12:20 PM PT: Updated to include official statement from Disney and additional reports.

The success of “Black Panther” has become almost too much for the toy industry to handle, as Hasbro is scrambling to solve a shortage of action figures and toys for the hit Marvel movie.

According to The New York Post, thousands of stores nationwide had sold out their stock of “Black Panther” action figures just three weeks after the film’s mid-February release. The Post also reports that some action figures are just a few orders away from running out of stock on Amazon.

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Disney says that a new batch of “Black Panther” merch will be slowly rolled out over the summer, including new toys that will coincide with the film’s Blu-Ray release and the theatrical release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” as well as back-to-school items in July and a new line of toys and Halloween costumes in September. The studio also asserts that the toys are still readily available on major online stores.

“The product line celebrating Black Panther is the largest ever for a Marvel origin film, including expanded categories, such as performance wear and high-fashion collaborations,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement sent to TheWrap. “We are thrilled that fans around the world are celebrating this incredible story through merchandise. We anticipated demand would be strong, but it is exceeding even our highest expectations.”

Meanwhile, some parents of Wakanda-loving kids are expressing their disappointment that their local stores have empty racks where “Black Panther” toys should be, though some choose to see it as a sign of the film’s overwhelming popularity.

Toy analyst Richard Gottlieb told The Post that the toy industry simply underestimated the status of “Black Panther” in the African-American community and how that demand for representation in media would translate into demand for toys.

“The African-American community was very excited about this movie, but the toy industry was unsure whether it would generate broad public demand,” he said.

But BMO Capital toy analyst Gerrick Johnson had a different view, telling Fox Business on Monday that a major reason why toy racks at several stores are so thin right now is because of uncertainty regarding toy sales at retailers. He also said that when it comes to “Black Panther” toys, it’s better for Hasbro to “to keep it tight now, as scarcity is good to keep interest and demand going into the back half.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Black Panther' Passes 'Frozen' to Join Top 10 Highest Grossing Films of All Time

Wakanda Over Everything: How the Fictional Country of 'Black Panther' Might Exist in Real Life (Bonus Podcast)

'Black Panther' Passes 'The Avengers' as Top-Grossing Superhero Movie at US Box Office

'Black Panther' Makeup Artist Says He's Never Seen a Film 'Move People' Like This