View Full Version : The "Adam West" solution

Jan 11, '11, 4:33 PM
I was thinking about ZICA's Adam West action figure. I think the idea is genius. License the celebrity, not the franchise!

I realize that the Adam West is based on a comic in this case, but I don't see that as a necessity. Just secure the rights to make a "generic" action figure with the actor's likeness. Imagine releasing a Christopher Reeve commemorative action figure, with Reeve in a simple business suit (gee, he almost looks like a mild mannered reporter). Surely, the customizers will swoop in and put him in blue & red pajamas. One of the cool things about the Mego format is that you can change the clothes (a la Action Jackson).

Certain actors have enough iconic roles that several great figures are just an outfit change away. Your Christian Bale figure can be John Connor, while I use it to make a Bruce Wayne. Your David Duchovny figure could be customized to a Fox Mulder, while I use it to make a "Californication" custom. (Ok... less likely... but you get the idea...)

I assume this would be cheaper and easier than securing the rights to the movie (particularly with lesser celebrities). Maybe I'm wrong. The fact that this happens so rarely, even in 12", makes me suspicious. But I find the idea really intriguing.

Jan 13, '11, 3:07 AM
I think it's a pretty good idea.

There's a model company called Moebius that is using just that strategy for their upcoming Dracula kit. Rather than licensing Universal's Dracula, they went to the Lugosi estate and got permission to use his likeness from when he played Dracula on Broadway. He looks pretty much the same - I think the only "major" change was the pendant he wore in the film.

There's a couple obstacles I can think of though:

1) actors usually seem pretty ambivalent about granting their likenesses for action figures. I'm guessing that, when it comes to any movie that could even remotely be a candidate for toys, it's pretty much a basic contractual requirement. But it seems like a lot of (so-called "A"-list) celebrities are uncomfortable with it. I remember reading that when Sleepy Hollow was coming out, the now defunct ReSaurus had the license to make the toys. Then it was announced that they lost it and McFarlane got the license because "Johnny Depp didn't want to look like a Happy Meal toy". (Which seemed kind of unfair to ReSaurus, their unproduced Galaxy Quest figures looked amazing, but, anyway...) And it seems like I've heard other stories of celebrities poking fun at their figures, too (Liam Neeson when Phantom Menace came out). So it might be kind of hard to get likeness rights from an actor, without the obligations of a high-paying movie role twisting their arm. (Non-"A"-list actors would probably be more likely to say yes.)

2) economics. I don't think toy companies like to sell anything without it being attached to some kind of property. (The exception being strong "icons" like John Wayne, James Dean, Marlon Brando - where the movie role that's being portrayed in the figure is secondary to the status of the actor who played it.) I'd imagine actors and estates would ask for a lot of money, and without a property to sell it, you're pretty much just relying on customizers (or die-hard fans of that actor). So I don't know if the numbers would add up. (But again, that vast number of actors who aren't getting paid $15 million a movie would probably be much likelier to say yes - but then, their appeal to customizers would likely be pretty limited, as well.)

Still, it seems like an interesting idea...

Trappy Trek Freak
Jan 13, '11, 2:10 PM
I think its a great idea to make figures this way and leave it up to us which movie they are in or what character they are.

Jan 13, '11, 7:59 PM
When can we expect this Adam West figure?

Jan 13, '11, 8:07 PM
When can we expect this Adam West figure?

We're trying for third quarter of this year. That's about as specific as I can get at this point.

The Bat
Jan 13, '11, 9:53 PM
I think this a GREAT idea! Love to see a Sean Connery Figure...and I know where to buy him a Tux.:wink_y:

Jan 14, '11, 12:45 PM
I'll be getting the Adam West figure for sure. I'll likely make my own Batman costume for him.

Jan 14, '11, 1:31 PM
with sound chip


Jan 15, '11, 1:34 PM
I think this a GREAT idea! Love to see a Sean Connery Figure...and I know where to buy him a Tux.:wink_y:

If he comes out for The Venture Brothers,you could always use Colonel Gentleman as a stand-in.