Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Leads Sales of Licensed Toys

The love fest between little girls and the film “Frozen” helped Walt Disney Co. maintain its domination of the U.S. licensed toy industry last quarter.

Elsa dolls and other “Frozen” merchandise sold better than any other licensed toys in the first three months of the year, according to NPD Group Inc. The animated movie, released in November, has generated more than $1.1 billion in ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s made it the highest-grossing animated film of all time.

For Disney, the “Frozen” surge is helping continue its winning streak in toy licensing. The company had four of the top five toy franchises in the first quarter, including Disney Princess, Mickey & Friends and Star Wars. The lone non-Disney franchise was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, owned by Viacom Inc.

“Cars,” another Disney property, led the list last year, when retail sales of from licensed toys climbed to $5.3 billion, according to Port Washington, New York-based NPD. The toy industry is increasingly relying on entertainment franchises to spur sales. While total U.S. toy sales declined 1 percent last year, revenue from licenses rose 3 percent.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, also dominated the list of fastest-growing licenses last quarter with three titles: “Frozen,” “Planes” and “Sofia the First.” The top spot went to toys based on “Despicable Me,” owned by Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures.

Mattel Inc., the world’s biggest toymaker, has licenses for “Frozen,” Disney Princess, “Cars” and “Planes.” Hasbro Inc. has a deal with Star Wars. Playmates Toys Ltd., meanwhile, makes toys for Ninja Turtles.

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