Warner Bros’ Julian Moon on JK Rowling’s Wizarding World, the future of DC and Looney Tunes fashion

What can we expect to see from Warner Bros. Consumer Products at Brand Licensing Europe this year?

We are going into Brand Licensing Europe with an incredibly strong line-up of content from the studio that, by working with our market leading licensees and retail partners, is producing very positive sales results across all key categories.

JK Rowling’s Wizarding World will be hot news on the show floor with the imminent release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on November 18th. WBCP recently rolled out a worldwide licensing programme inspired by the new creatures, characters and locations in the film. This new era in the Wizarding World is creating an excitement across the entire franchise as demand also continues for newly released products inspired by the blockbuster Harry Potter film series.

We’re thrilled to feature the DC brand with a powerhouse film, television and animation slate. With one of our most pertinent franchises, DC Super Hero Girls showcases our complete commitment to developing original Super Hero content for girls. 

Additionally, we’re featuring the first-ever Wonder Woman feature film, from Warner Bros. Pictures, set for release in June 2017.The DC content only gets stronger as we’ll also have the all-new Justice League Action and the hit series Teen Titans Go!, from Warner Bros. Animation, and much more content.

We’re also excited to bring fans product in support of the new animated content, including Looney Tunes animation in the form of Wabbit – A Looney Tunes Production, as well as the all-new Be Cool Scooby-Doo! and The Tom and Jerry Show series, and so much more to come.

What areas of growth are you targeting within consumer products?

Growth will come from drilling deeper into our key areas of business and creating brand narratives and product solutions in response to the conversations that we have with our target consumers across the region. In practical terms this means continuing to develop completely original Super Hero content for girls and all fans in the form of our new hit franchise, DC Super Hero Girls, as well as Warner Bros. Pictures’ much-anticipated feature film, Wonder Woman.

It also means a complete commitment to innovation whilst also protecting the core DNA of our brands. For example, from high-end to the mass market, the Looney Tunes fashion category is thriving, attracting international design houses and fresh retail programs with such partners as H&M, Zara, Paul and Joe and Iceberg, who are enticed by the universal appeal of the characters and the iconic graphics. 

The result? Expanded collaborations and a roll-out of new collections for adults and kids, as the Looney Tunes remains on a steadfast upward trend driven by an iconic legacy and cross-generational appeal that has these and many more premium clothing labels across EMEA queuing up to work with the brand.

Can we expect to see an increase in live action/experiential activity?

Live action user experience is already a huge and still growing area for WBCP. For example, Harry Potter offers multiple immersive experiences with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Hollywood, which recently opened in April, along with the themed lands in Orlando, FL, and Osaka, Japan. 

WBCP also has Harry Potter: The Exhibition, the globally touring exhibit of film props and artifacts currently here in Brussels, as well as other unique events like the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, which is a live symphony orchestral screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on a 40-foot screen, which is also touring globally and will be in the UK in spring 2017.

We’re also excited to bring DC fans, art fans and LEGO fans The Art of The Brick: DC Super Heroes, the global touring exhibition currently in Madrid. Recently opened in September and in Spain until February 2017, this one-of-a-kind exhibit features incredible sculptures by famed LEGO artist, Nathan Sawaya, of the iconic DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains made entirely out of LEGO.

What are your expectations for this portfolio of properties for the rest of this year and 2017, particularly with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them readying to launch?

With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them it’s an incredibly exciting time for our business in the region, taking us to a new era in the wizarding world.

The global licensing and merchandising program extends the Wizarding World fan experience with an impressive roster of licensees and retailers offering exciting new products and retail promotions in support of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. From replica artifacts for collectors to a wide range of apparel and accessories, to specially curated lifestyle programs, and more, the global program brings the film’s array of characters, creatures, and locations to life.

What plans do you have for the classic animation offerings at Warner Bros. Consumer Products, how will you continue to drive the popularity of properties such as Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry?

The Looney Tunes characters are iconic and instantly recognised by all ages. The characters, with their unique personalities and irreverent catch phrases possess a social relevance that is translating particularly well in the fashion space.

Retailers such as H&M, Primark, Codello and Oviesse, among others, are producing some really cutting-edge designs using a combination of cool graphics and interesting treatments including repeat patterns, embroidery and embellishments. All of this is fueled by new content for Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry.

How important is the toy sector to Warner Bros. Consumer Products and what plans for growth have you got in this area?

Toys is obviously a lynchpin for our licensing activity and we work with best-in-class partners in the business, including Mattel, LEGO, Character Group, Rubies, Funko, and more.

We work closely with our global, regional and local partners to support our franchises and properties – and a great example is the global launch of our licensing and merchandise program for DC Super Hero Girls. 

With master toy licensee Mattel, and many other partners, including LEGO as exclusive construction set partner, DC Super Hero Girls has rolled out great product around the world and it’s proving to be a recipe for success as the international licensing programme already spans 30 categories from toys to costume, apparel and accessories, and has been rolled out in more than 35 countries around the globe.

What are the next big steps for Warner Bros Consumer Products for the rest of this year and next?

The product slate that we have available at retail across EMEA, with JK Rowling’s Wizarding World with the beloved Harry Potter franchise and the highly anticipated feature film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; DC with the world’s most iconic Super Heroes and Super-Villains and the most powerful content in film, television and animation; as well as our Animation franchises and world-renowned characters, makes the next 12 months ahead of us quite exciting, to say the least.

We will continue to explore and maximise the tremendous potential of these world-class franchises at retail and in other potential new areas, as we offer fans many new and immersive experiences.

With all WBCP has to offer, and with our best-in-class line-up of licensing and retail partners, we’re brilliantly positioned into next year and beyond.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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