Disney taps augmented reality for ‘Star Wars’ toy event

FILE PHOTO - A fan dressed up as Luke Skywalker picks new toys from the upcoming film
FILE PHOTO - A fan dressed up as Luke Skywalker picks new toys from the upcoming film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" on "Force Friday" after the launch of the film's new toys in Hong Kong, China, September 4, 2015. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

August 25, 2017

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co will send “Star Wars” characters into the realm of augmented reality next week to draw fans into stores as they release new merchandise tied to upcoming movie the “The Last Jedi,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. PDT (0701 GMT) on Sept. 1, more than 20,000 retail locations in 30 countries will feature displays that fans can scan with their smartphones to reveal characters such as Rey or Chewbacca.

Using augmented reality technology, users will see the characters overlaid on their surroundings by looking through their phone’s cameras, and can take photos or videos with them.

Disney is tapping into the trend of augmented reality, or AR, which first gained mass adoption in July 2016 with the release of Niantic Inc’s Pokemon Go game.

The hunt for “Star Wars” characters is scheduled to last three days and will coincide with “Force Friday II,” when retailers start selling toys and other products tied to “The Last Jedi.”

Retailers include Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target Inc, and Best Buy Co Inc stores. “Last Jedi” merchandise will also be sold online, and the AR characters will be accessible via some websites.

Apple Inc stores will sell new app-enabled “Star Wars” toys made by third parties but will not take part in the augmented reality hunt. Apple stores will hold other “Star Wars” events during the “Force Friday II” weekend.

“Star Wars,” one of Disney’s most important franchises, was the U.S. toy industry’s top-selling property for 2015 and 2016, with $1.5 billion in sales over the two years, according to research firm NPD. “The Last Jedi,” the eighth movie in the “Star Wars” film saga, arrives in theaters in December.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sandra Maler)

  • Deny

    For a liberal company Disney sure knows how to turn a buck and rake in all that capitalist money.

    Could never understand the Star Wars craze. I have never seen one of those movies.

  • AllAmericanTDS

    The Disneyland labor force is now run by the illegal aliens. The majority of the workers were illegal aliens. Disney dresses then in character dresses and expect us to go along. A brown haired, brown skinned person does not look like Alice. Not racism, just open your eyes. I won’t be back again. It is no longer the Disneyland of Walt.

  • Scott Henke

    Just stop producing the overpriced 5 POA figures with the stupid gimmicks and give us back the super articulated figures of a few years ago.

  • Bubba

    We were at a junk store last week. Every kind of over produced under bought crap. Saw an interesting set up of Star Wars action figures of three toys to a box. The box was huge and contained the black guy, the chick, and the bad guy. Question, who wants shoot em up action figures? Gee, wild guess, lil boys. So who is gonna buy this box of a female, not lil girls who want dressy things. Lil black boys who have a figure of a character who plays second fiddle to a honkey female, kind of doubt it. Lil white boys, no character for them to identify with. Now, wonder why there are probably a hundred of these toys in a junk store. Looking at the toys they were expensive retail but no body is gonna buy it……………sorry liberal dumb asses. you loose, try again. Convince the lil kids to be sissy boyz and play with the girley figure and the actual lil girls, well it doesn’t have a dress up princess kit. love it when liberal progressives loose thier azz

  • whoselineisitanyway

    The first sign of NWO’s nefarious plans for total control. REMEMBER COMMON SENSE AND FREE SPEECH; we used to possess them.

    • Jeedai Infidel

      I’m not seeing a connection between NWO takeover and Star Wars toy events using augmented reality, so I’m going to assume you accidentally posted to the wrong thread, lol.

      But I’m very curious as to where you intended to post to if you don’t mind putting a link for me.

      • Bombayduk

        Just guessing here, but maybe is was a shot at Disney, which portrays itself as family friendly, but, on the other hand, controls ABC and ESPN, which we have seen in the past year, censor anything that tends to portray conservative values. Just a guess, but there seems to be a dark side, pun intended, in the way they run their empire.

        • AllAmericanTDS