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Mattel confirms end of 6″ figure line, but still looking at new products in 2013 [update]

Mattel confirms end of 6″ figure line, but still looking at new products in 2013 [update]

By on May 10, 2012 in GB, MERCH | 13 comments

It was pretty much a given, once Mattel announced that they were canceling Club Ecto, the subscription based service that provided fans with first crack at unique figures, but Scott “ToyGuru” Neitlich, Mattel’s brand manager in charge of the license, confirmed a lot more details today, outlining exactly why the line was shut down. You ready…?

There aren’t enough of us.

After we did not receive enough sub holders in 2012, we could not get additional development resources for more figures so we move the most fan demanded figure that was already in development to the SDCC slot. Fans really do vote with their purchase and the sub not selling was a big red flag that we don’t have enough customers for the 6″ GB line right now.

Mattel was already worried about the line when sales of the figures showed that the main interest was in the original four busters, and of those, Peter was the most popular. None of them – the later figures (which would be of more interest to more serious fans) were worse – sold anywhere near the numbers of Mattel’s best two licenses, Masters of the Universe and DC Universe.

Honestly, had GB sold in the realm of MOTUC or DCU we could talk more figures, but at the end of the day, we just don’t have enough customers to keep the line going. Only the core movie 1 figures sold at the numbers we needed, and really of these, only Peter did well. After that, all figures, including fan demanded figures like Vigo, just did not sell the number of units we needed to produce more figures. We can only make figures when their is a customer base buying them.

There’s a lot of fan recrimination over the whole affair, with a lot of them pointing at the increase in figure prices (from $20 to $22 dollars) and corner cutting (variant heads on recycled bodies), but going by what Neitlich says, that’s not exactly fair. Production costs have been increasing dramatically over the last four years, and when you combine that with soft sales and a negligible profit margin, you begin to see why Mattel opted to reduce costs as much as possible (as with new heads on previously released bodies) before finally having to increase the price on all 6″ figures on all their licenses.

That said, there is some good news; Neitlich has confirmed that Mattel is still working to refund fans that bought faulty SDCC Stay-Pufts (the soft outer layer has a yellowing issue on some figures) and those fans that held 2012 Club Ecto subscriptions will still get an unannounced exclusive (plus, there’s one more SDCC figure to be announced for this year.)

More importantly, Mattel still holds the license and is still looking at their best prospects with it – presumably the props – and has confirmed they are still looking at new products for 2013. As well they, like a lot of license holders one imagines, have high hopes for the announcement of a third movie, in which case Mattel would have lot’s more development resources available. Stay tuned.

[Nods to GBFans for the heads up, head pats for the Proton Charging web monkeys for digging up the relevant links and quotes]

[UPDATE] Some people on Facebook were hoping that we might see one figure or another as the Club Ecto freebie for cancelled sub holders – According to Scott, it’s something that fits into the 6″ line, but isn’t a figure… Hmmm. Terror Dog? Nobody say Ecto-1 – that’s just wishful thinking. Any guesses?

Info on getting a refund for a faulty Stay-Puft will be up in “a couple of days” according to Scott, and this was a couple of days ago, so I expect it likely we’ll know more by the week’s end.

    13 Comments

  1. just as predicted in GB2, some kids just want he-man… stupid kids

  2. No real surprise, but at least they finally came out and made it all clear.

  3. My thought on the “Thank You” is that it will be a Marshmallow Minion. It’s a pack-in sized ghost with limited (if any) articulation. It compliments The Rookie, who was supposed to be the sub exclusive figure anyway. It isn’t a core figure/ghost to the line that would upset those without a sub. Yet, it’s substanital enough that it’s not just a throw-away after all this time.

  4. I really want the other Scolleri Brother figure, we canĀ“t just have the collection with Nunzio, we need Tony.
    I hope some ecto-goggles to show up on 2013.

  5. maybe if these figures weren’t so damn expensive, people would be more willing to spend their hard earned money on them…like me!

    • I second what Jay says. If they would have made all of their figures at least half the price, and had a variety of characters, instead of just the same four guys, they would have sold like gangbusters. Mattel would have made their money back through a greater number of sales, and they’d see that there really IS a fanbase and a demand for the figures. There just isn’t a demand for overpriced figures of the same four characters.

      • Just out of curiosity, any one know how many different characters there are in each of the MOTU and DC lines? And how many variants are in each line? I have a feeling that there’s a wider variety of characters in each of those lines than there is in the Ghostbusters line. Mattel was comparing Ghostbusters to those lines, but unless the unique character-to-variant ratio is as mucked up as it is in the Ghostbusters line, there is no comparison to be made.

  6. Awww, I’m sorry, Matty, but you’re disappointed I didn’t sign up for a club that would allow me to purchase the limited run of whatever shape you molded your cheap plastic into? I’ve got $120 ready to purchase a ghost trap…whenever you decide to make them again. The whole controlled market thing totally turns me off. I’ve got a PKE meter here that is worth not a dollar more than the $60 I paid for it, no matter what Ebay sellers think, and if you’d stop pretending it’s something more, maybe you could make $120 off me…instead of complaining that I didn’t buy whichever overpriced random figure you put out last month.

  7. Would like to see a few more props such as the goggles, geiga meter and sniffer. Was not really a fan of the 6″ figures.

  8. I’m not sure how you guys figure that makes any sense. Selling them at half the price or less (ten bucks and under) when they’re telling us that $20 doesn’t cover it and they’ve had to raise the price two bucks, means they are losing money per figure. They could sell a million of them and be losing millions of dollars.

    NOW, if we assume they’re charging a huge mark-up (and they’re saying they’re not, if two bucks takes it from not making back the money to recouping), then at best this plan means they’re selling a lot at no profit. And this is Mattel. It’s not a charitable corporation, it needs to show returns.

    Rewrite the basics of capitalism all you want, it’s not, it didn’t, and it never would get everyone what they think they deserve, simply because they love something.

  9. I still think Mattel signed on to the license in the belief that they were only a couple of years away from a big blockbuster movie they could merchandise the everloving crap out of. The Mattycollector online stuff was just supposed to be the warm-up.

    Then of course, five years later, GB3 is still in the same “They’ll maybe start filming next year if Bill Murray changes his mind” (if ever) status, and the line is still a niche seller so they’re cutting their losses.

    I think Paul’s right–the property is a little more limited character-wise. You have the four characters everybody knows. A few more known supporting players (Janine, Dana, Louis, Slimer, Peck). A few enemies (Gozer, Vigo, etc), and then what? Either you start adding characters (Yeah. Look how well the Extreme Ghostbusters were embraced by the fandom) or get used to seeing Venkman, Ray, Egon, and Winston again and again. You could get a lot of ghosts if you open the cartoon to licensing, but even then, after you sell the Peoplebusters, the Anti-Ghostbusters, the Boogeyman and Sam Hain, sales are going to drop when you get to more obscure stuff like Sir Bruce Sans Piti or Professor Dweeb.

    Kenner had the same problem in the 1980′s–look at how their line basically ended up being weird variants of the same four to six characters; heck, they even resorted to just doing repaints at the end. They at least had a top-rated cartoon driving sales. Matty didn’t.

    I’m sad it came to this, but not really surprised.

  10. Well, it’s a darn shame they’re shutting the line down. There’s a lot more stuff from the movies which they could’ve milked a lot more characters and ghosts. But whaddya gonna do with a dwindling customerbase? Nothin’! There’s nothing you can do – if there’s no more resources, then there’s no more resources. Only it irritates the hell out of me that we only got the Nunzio ghost from GB2 and not Tony as well!! To not go the whole hog was nothing short of rude and inconsiderate of them. What the hell am I going to do with only one half of the duo, huh?
    That was really, really uncool of them.

    Here is a list of figures they could’ve release as well:
    (I know a lot of it is wishful thinking, but just imagine!)

    1. Janine with a desk
    2. Tony Scoleri
    3. Janosh Poha in ghostly nanny attire with babycarriage plus baby Oscar
    4. jogger ghost
    5. diorama with titanic ship and passengers
    6. ecto-1
    7. Ghostbusters headquarters (or at least some kind of diorama

    Well that’s all!

  11. Wow, i never pegged Mattel as a “Take the easy way out” company.

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