"They're cool," says Gryffyd Maruska, 6. "They do karate." And, as Gryffyd's parents will tell you, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are as hot as it gets, thanks to mighty marketing. There's a TV show, a live tour, and a summer movie. In the end, "this could go down as the biggest toy phenomenon we've ever experienced," says Roger Goddu, general merchandising manager for Toys `R' Us.
Who's cashing in? Mostly Haim Saban, an Egyptian-born entrepreneur who discovered the Power Rangers on Japanese TV 10 years ago and holds exclusive marketing rights outside the Pacific Rim. His Saban Entertainment stands to rake in some $80 million in licensing fees, plus more from News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting, which airs the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers show.
Most toy fads fizzle after three years, so Saban is striking while the iron is hot, signing some 300 licensees worldwide at Disneyesque rates. "Whatever [licensees] are paying, it's not enough," he says. How long can the mania last? Longer than parents might like: In Japan, Power Ranger-type toys have been around 15 years.