Not all movie-licensed toys are big hits

Fantastic Toys on the Upper East Side just received and stocked its shelves with licensed merchandise from the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" movie more than two months before that film plays in a theater.

"'Beauty and the Beast' we ordered three or four months earlier, 'Cars 3' has been ordered for months. You just forecast it. You take a guess," says Fantastic Toys "toyologist" Dan Weiss, who is trusted to choose which toys from which movies to order. "You have to really be selective on which ones you carry."

That is because not every movie wins the affection of those asking for the toys on the shelves of shops like this one.

"It's good to have a little bit of everything but not everything," Weiss says.

The toy industry has hovered around $20 billion in sales every year for the last 30 or so. In 2017, analysts expect licensed products to account for nearly a third of all toy sales.

"And this is an especially big year for films. This year's summer's films are going to account for about $5 billion worth of retail toy sales," says Jim Silver, the CEO and editor of Toys Tots Pets and More. He counts 25 different blockbusters this year offering licensed toys of their characters.

"Toymakers and toy retailers love this because it attracts consumers," he says.

Right now when it comes to toys, Joseph, William, and Charlie Phillips and all their friends want to talk about spinners but after this summer they may choose a different must-have conversation piece while not choosing licensed merchandise from other films potentially leaving toys on the shelves. Toys R Us sold $50 million fewer Star Wars toys in 2016 than it did the year before.

"I don't think there's going to be over-saturation but when you have this many films, they all can't be winners."