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'Last Jedi' toy sales outshining 'Force Awakens': Funko CEO

[NEW YORK] Funko Inc, the toymaker that went public last month, isn't seeing signs of Star Wars fatigue.

The company's sales of Star Wars products are above what they were in 2015, when the last major installment of the sci-fi series came out, according to chief executive officer Brian Mariotti.

The toy industry has fretted that demand for Star Wars products would peak quickly and then fade after the franchise's renaissance under Walt Disney Co.

The Force Awakens, the seventh episode in the series, debuted in 2015, followed by The Last Jedi this year. And there was a spinoff movie, Rogue One, in 2016.

Even with that saturation, Funko's Star Wars products are surging, Mariotti said in an interview.

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"We are definitely up," he said. "That is a little bit of surprise, because of just how pent-up the demand was on episode seven after not having Star Wars movies for so long."

Funko, which is best known for its large-headed Pop figurines, has over 1,000 licenses of entertainment brands. Its catalog spans from big franchises like Star Wars and Marvel to more niche titles such as The Golden Girls.

The company had a rocky market debut, with the stock falling about 50 per cent since its initial public offering. But Funko sees international sales helping fuel growth.

Its business model relies on speed, and the company often puts out items based on characters or plot lines that it didn't know about until seeing the film. That was the case with The Last Jedi.

"We're rushing right now on a few," said Mr Mariotti, who has seen the film twice and planned to go again this weekend. "We think we are going to have a long tailwind with this movie."


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