Jakks Triples Forecast for Sales of ‘Brave’ Merchandise

Jakks Pacific Inc. tripled its forecast for sales of merchandise from the Walt Disney Co. film “Brave” based on purchases over the past two weeks and said some items will be sold out in about a month.

The company may double the number of “Brave” products it offers by the time the DVD is released for Christmas, according to Anne-Marie Feliciano, a spokeswoman, who declined to provide specific numbers. Sean McGowan, an Needham & Co. analyst, said “Brave” will generate $10 million in sales for Jakks, which had revenue of $678 million in 2011.

Sales at the Malibu, California-based toymaker have fallen for three years as consumers cut spending on the traditional children’s toys Jakks offers. The company recently ended talks on a confidentiality and standstill accord with Oaktree Capital Management LP, which held 5.1 percent of the stock as of March and bid $20 a share for Jakks last year.

“Merida is showing fantastic sales right out of the gate,” John Blaney, an executive vice president at Jakks, said in an interview, referring to the film’s heroine. “She’s a very aspirational princess and an exciting one for girls.”

Jakks, which also makes toys based on the Hello Kitty and Pokemon brands, rose 0.6 percent to $18.12 at 10:19 a.m. New York time. A self-tender offer for 4 million shares at $20 each expires today. The stock had gained 28 percent this year through yesterday.

The company makes a velour and satin Merida “adventure dress,” which retails for $19.99, and a bow set with glow-in-the-dark arrows that sells for $17.99, among other products. Both are aimed at girls ages 3 to 6 years old.

Girl Power

“Brave,” which opened June 22, was the top-grossing U.S. film last weekend, taking in $66.3 million. The computer animated movie, centered around a rebellious Scottish princess, is the first from Disney’s Pixar to feature a female heroine.

“It will be a surprisingly good movie for selling merchandise,” McGowan, who is based in New York, said in an e-mail. “Not because sales will be so big, but because expectations were so modest.”

McGowan forecasts $50 million in sales for Mattel Inc., which makes dolls based on the film.

Jim Silver, editor of Time to Play magazine, a toy reviewer, said “Brave” constitutes “counter-programming” for Disney’s film and consumer products divisions because other summer films such as the Batman feature “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and Disney’s own “Marvel’s The Avengers” skew toward boys.

“There is nothing else for girls out there,” he said.

(Updates shares in fifth paragraph.)
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