LOS ANGELES – A line of curvaceous Lara Croft action figures is hitting toy stores in connection with the new Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie, but these toys — modeled on actress Angelina Jolie — aren't aimed at kids.
"We decided to aim these at young adults — men and women who have played the video game," said Nancy Bassett, a marketing executive at Paramount, referring to the popular game Tomb Raider.
"And if kids do buy the figures, they probably won't play with them. These are toys that will mostly sell to collectors."
Dave Gerardi, senior editor of Playthings magazine, a toy-industry publication, said that when the game first came out, Lara wasn't quite so curvy.
"Now she's a bombshell with a bust-line increased to Playboy proportions. That makes the toys a little tricky," he said.
Movies such as Star Wars, Batman and Toy Story have launched successful lines of toys.
But despite the prevalence of female action heroes on movies and television, studio marketers say it's still a tough sell getting little boys to play with a girl doll -- even one with two hip-clinging handguns.
The dolls also hold little appeal to young girls, Gerardi said. The clothes are detailed, but the head and hair are just plastic. There are no Tomb Raider vehicles, playsets or other characters, said Bassett.
The line includes seven 6-inch plastic action-figures: five models of Lara in different outfits and firearms, and a "Stone Monkey" and robot S.I.M.O.N., both of whom attack her in the movie. Two 12-inch Lara dolls come dressed in "Motor Cycle Gear" or "Combat Gear," with an aqua-green bra painted on underneath.
Michael Crawford, 40, of Ann Arbor, Mich., has collected toys for 15 years and said he understands why children balk at the Tomb Raider toys, though he liked them.
"The figures have very few joints. So, if you can't move them a lot, you can't play with them a lot," he said. "But they're fine for collectors because they look good. All they have to do is stand there."