The event will feature toys, collectibles, books, apparel going on sale beginning at 12:01 a.m. The movie opens three and half months later on Dec. 15.
“Star Wars Force Friday II” comes two years after the original “Force Friday” marketing push for toys tied to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Touted as the world’s first global live toy unboxing event, Disney launched an 18-hour online marathon employing YouTube stars opening toy boxes online.
The announcement came two days before the start of the industry’s annual Toy Fair in New York City.
“The first Star Wars Force Friday event was truly unique, uniting fans across five continents in an unprecedented global live unboxing event ahead of thousands of midnight openings at retail,” says Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We’re excited to confirm that Star Wars Force Friday is back for ‘The Last Jedi’. Plans for this year’s world-wide event are top secret but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga.”
Jill Wilfert, VP global licensing and entertainment from The Lego Group, said, “It was so much fun to be a part of Star Wars Force Friday, and we can’t wait for fans to join this year’s celebration as we reveal new ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ products during Force Friday II – a global event that will connect fans and families, and allow them to build, create and share their experiences with others.”
As in 2015, products for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will be kept under wraps until “Force Friday II.”
“The Force Awakens” toys were on the top ten toy list for both boys and girls for the first time ever in 2015. Disney did not hold an equivalent unboxing event last year in advance of the first Star Wars spinoff, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
The Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assn. has not broken out any specific contribution from Disney’s first “Star Wars” movie, but Marty Brochstein, senior VP of industry relations and information for LIMA, said that the tentpole movie played a crucial role in boosting the overall numbers in 2015 and 2016. He told Variety that second “Force Friday” should be highly popular.
“You had a popular franchise being marketed for the first time in 10 years and you had Disney on board in 2015, which made a massive effort,” he noted. “Disney is very good at this.”
Brochstiein pointed to Disney’s 2017 slate, which includes the live action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Cars 3,” and Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok.
“Beauty and the Beast,” which opens March 17, will see such items as Hasbro’s “Enchanting Melodies Belle Doll,” featuring the voice of Emma Watson and the song “Something There” along with Lego’s Belle and Beast Brickheadz.
“Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2,” which opens May 5, will see a tie-in with the “Dancing Groot Figure,” which dances along to “Come A Little Bit Closer” from the film.
Other tie-in products unveiled at Toy Fair will include Sony-Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers” and “My Little Pony,” Universal’s “Despicable Me 3,” and Warner Bros. “Lego Ninjago” and “Wonder Woman.”