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media platforms, Thor's character is relatable, inspirational and aspirational. “It's important for Marvel to choose actors who embody these characters,” explained Simon. As such, it's great news that Chris Hemsworth will be returning to take his hammer as the God of Thunder and preparing to go into even bigger and better battles. Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman will also be returning, as will Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston. Thor's character strength will be further fuelled beyond the movie with action- packed content and will see the superhero


Thor's World


Thor is an iconic superhero of mythic proportions; mighty, valiant, confident and bold. Wielding his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, he leads audiences on immense adventures that span the Marvel universe, taking them from


present-day Earth to the otherworldy realm of Asgard, where fabled champions clash with larger-than-life foes.


featured across television, home


entertainment, publishing, online and games. “The second film is already expected to be much bigger than the first,” said Kiran Jeffrey, franchise business director. “It is going to be a huge action/adventure film with some interesting villains and locations creating incredible play pattern possibilities. Lots of new characters and weapons have been introduced as well, so there is a great opportunity to


really stand out at retail.” Thor's core target audience is


“Thor is a core part of the central The Avengers franchise where all the films and other content releases have a knock-on effect on one another, forming a sort of support programme. All of the movies really do have something for everyone; Marvel is great at ensuring that each demographic will get something very different out of the film.” - Simon Phillips, general manager of Consumer Products, The Walt Disney Company EMEA.


older boys; those aged between six and 12 – although, like all The Avengers superheroes his wide appeal means that he reaches boys both side of those brackets as well as the dedicated Marvel fanbase. Of course, the release of Thor: The Dark


World will allow The Walt Disney Company to continue to promote the Avengers team throughout late 2013 and early 2014, forming a 'tentpole' spike of activity for the franchise. Kiran explained: “At a retail level we will always have a


A SPECIAL MAX PUBLISHING 81 disney PUBLICATION 2013


window where we focus on the movie being released, but the animated series (Avengers Assemble) and the other movies will mean that the other characters are always there, 365 days of the year, forming a solid background to the movie activity. That's the beauty of having an ensemble cast!” As ever, a key objective will be to maintain The Avengers as a true evergreen at retail, securing everyday The Avengers sections with product refreshes, and to achieve seasonal expansions by taking full advantage of all new content. “It's hard to put into context exactly how


the Avengers Assemble movie has elevated each of the individual characters,” explained Kiran, “but the relationship has undoubtedly resulted in fresh new opportunities for merchandise.” Hasbro has revealed that when Thor


was first released, the Thor Hammer was a very popular product and produced strong sales for the toy company – but when Avengers Assemble released last year; “its Hammer sales suddenly increased five-fold,” said Kiran. This demonstrates the power of The


Avengers and how their force as a team equals even stronger retail opportunities. “It's important,” Kiran emphasised, “that all merchandise is a natural extension of the content, that it extends the relationship between audience and character and helps their relationship grow.” But for now it certainly seems that Thor – and his hammer – will continue be a great asset to driving The Avengers franchise forwards.


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