Last year, Mattel announced its upcoming initiative the DC Super Hero Girls, a full line of both fashion dolls and action figures, plus role play toys, books, and apparel as well as an online animated series. The model follows a similar roll-out to Mattel’s existing hit brands Monster High and Ever After High. DC Super Hero Girls reimagines the heroes and villains of DC Comics as teenagers attending Super Hero High School and focuses on adolescent versions of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Katana, Bumblebee, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.
The line was announced as arriving in spring 2016 and now we have updates! The merchandise line will arrive at Target stores in March before becoming available internationally in July. Meanwhile, Boomerang (the spin-off channel of the Cartoon Network) will debut a new animated special while also airing the existing online cartoons.
Target’s senior vice president of merchandising, Scott Nygaard announced:
“Target prides itself on keeping a pulse on pop culture, and we have a legacy of getting behind the hottest franchises to bring our guests exclusive merchandise from their favorite movies, television shows and characters. We are thrilled to be working with some of the industry’s leading partners to introduce a new generation to these inspirational characters, and know fans of all ages will embrace these beloved and iconic heroines as they build new memories.”
Diane Nelson, the President of DC Entertainment, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products and President & Chief Content Officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment explained:
“We realized there’s this untapped opportunity. There’s clearly demand in the marketplace to serve the young girl market.”
In her multiple roles, Nelson has overseen licensing initiatives for such brands as ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Hobbit’.
After playing second fiddle to Marvel for years, the DC Heroes are about to become more visible than they have in years. Currently, there are five prime time shows on the air, ‘Gotham’ on FOX, ‘Arrow’, ‘The Flash’ and ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ on The CW and perhaps most importantly for young girls, ‘Supergirl’ on CBS.
And then there are the movies. The DC Super Hero Girls launch in March coincides with the theatrical release of ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ which kicks of the DC Cinematic Universe in full force and introduces Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) on the big screen for the first time, setting her up for her own movie in 2017.
Then in August comes ‘Suicide Squad’, which is clearly aimed at adults, but does include Harley Quinn, who is a major part of the DC Super Hero Girls line. Though parents may not take their young daughters to see this movie, its very existence will boost that popular character’s profile which can only help the toy line.
Deborah Snyder, who is producing ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Suicide Squad’ and the rest of the DC movies for Warner Brothers expressed:
“I think [girls] have been ignored for a long time. Girls like action. It’s important for girls to see themselves as the hero.”
Laura Martin, senior entertainment analyst at Needham & Co added, “Superheroes at DC Comics traditionally have been targeted toward men and boys, so targeting girls is the smart economic thing to do. That DC Comics is focusing on the less well-served target market is smart business.”
Warner Brothers merchandising generates $6 billion a year, but that is dwarfed by that of Disney which pulls in $45 billion a year. Last year, at a shareholders meeting, WB execs were specifically grilled as to why more wasn’t being done with the DC catalog. This is just a portion of a renewed push for this brand.
The DC Super Hero Girls line was developed with input from actual little girls, who nixed any attempts to make the toys more like traditional princess-y dolls. Their initial bodies were deemed too skinny, so they were redesigned with more athletic physiques. Cumbersome gowns and flowy accessories were also ditched as girls pointed out that they would get in the way of crime fighting. The same for high heels. Girls also wanted the characters to look accurate to their iconic designs, vetoing a pink-suited version of Catwoman and attempts to switch out the red in Supergirl and Wonder Woman’s costumes for pink.
Tanya Missad, director of consumer insights for Mattel, said “She has to look strong and cute. But first and foremost she has to be a superhero.”
Nelson summed things up by saying:
“It’s time for girls to get their capes on and envision themselves as strong, powerful and connected beings at the center of their own superhero story, and DC Super Hero Girls provides a brand-new, robust universe to do just that. The toys, dolls, action figures and books that are rolling out at Target this spring, combined with the fun animated series currently online, feature stories of empowerment, inspiration and optimism that are relatable to girls. This program is changing the face of superhero culture, and we are really proud of that.”
Are you ready to get your cape on? Do you have a little crime fighter that you think will love this line?