But the studio, coming off $19 billion in sales last quarter, should be able to take the sales hit
Disney has missed out on millions of dollars by not having Baby Yoda merchandise ready to go for this holiday season, according to a Thursday report from Jungle Scout, a company dedicated to helping out Amazon merchants.
According to the firm, the entertainment giant has missed out on at least $2.7 million in revenue by dragging its feet on producing products based on the breakout character from “The Mandalorian,” the “Star Wars” spinoff series launched last month on its new streaming service Disney+.
Amazon customers have searched for Baby Yoda products more than 90,000 times in the last month, Jungle Scout found, while “The Mandalorian” has generated another 126,000 searches during that same time.
At the same time, the lovable green munchkin who’s captured the hearts of countless “Star Wars” fans — and become a meme sensation in the process — has helped random Amazon merchants make a little more cash this holiday season; the top 47 “Baby Yoda” products so far have sold an average of 1,842 pieces of merchandise, at an average of nearly $23 a pop.
But official merchandise like plush toys and bobble-heads based on the character (and others from the show) won’t appear until this spring — though many are available for pre-order.
It’s important to consider that Disney is coming off a quarter where it made $19.1 billion in revenue. And last year, the company reported $4.65 billion in consumer product revenue alone. Failing to grab another $3 million isn’t going to put CEO Bob Iger out on the curb, but as anyone that’s been to Disneyland can attest, the company typically doesn’t overlook an obvious way to make money off its fans.
So what else is at play here?
“The Mandalorian” creator and showrunner Jon Favreau told The Hollywood Reporter this week that the dearth of Baby Yoda toys and goods was intentional.
“Part of what people really value is to be surprised and delighted, and I think that’s becoming all too rare. It’s very difficult to keep secrets about projects you’re working on,” Favreau said about Disney’s decision to hold off on manufacturing Baby Yoda products.
“By holding back on that one product, we knew that we may have had the disadvantage of not having toys available day and date, but what we got in exchange was an excitement surrounding the character, because everybody felt like they discovered him together,” he said. “That emulated more what my experience growing up was like.”
The bet Disney is making here is that after seeing the viral phenomenon that is Baby Yoda sweep their Twitter and Facebook feeds, people will be compelled to signup for Disney+ — which is more crucial to the company’s future than plush-toy revenues.