NEW YORK – With Spider-Man toys flying off the shelves faster than Peter Parker can spin a web, experts say sales of Spidey merchandise could approach $1 billion.
And that has execs from Toy Biz — Marvel Comics' toy division — and Sony, which put out the movie, rubbing their hands in glee, because they'll split the pot of cash.
Spider-Man, the movie, racked up a record $114 million in box-office receipts in its opening weekend. It is estimated the merchandise tie-ins to the summer's first blockbuster will net between $800 million and $900 million in retail sales.
Average movie-merchandise sales are in the $300 million range, said Charles Riotto, president of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association.
"Spider-Man will go way beyond that," he said. "Spider-Man is leading the pack in a summer that will be packed with movie tie-ins" because of its wide appeal. "Spider-Man appeals to older kids and teens."
Kathleen Waugh, director of special events at the Toys "R" Us Times Square store, said — while watching clerks restock the shelves in the Spider-Man department — "People have been taking Spider-Man toys by the armful."
Michael Lyons, 18, of Queens, New York, said, "I saw the movie, and it captured the comic Spider-Man perfectly. I just had to have this," he said of the Super Poseable Spider-Man action figure.
And Brooklyn mom Jennifer Plott, loaded down with six Spidey toys for her son, who's turning 8 this weekend, joked, "I hope he doesn't pass out from the excitement when he sees these."
On the Web, Spider-Man has emerged triumphant over fellow superheroes Batman and Superman.
eBay has experienced a spike in Spider-Man merchandise the past three months, said spokesman Kevin Pursglove.