Last year there were lots of articles about what a weak sister at the box office the Pixar/Disney feature Cars was. You know, it under-performed earlier Pixar features. Its reviews weren't uniformly enthusiastic, and so on and so forth.
But Variety informs us how the picture has been a bonanza for Disney:
While many refuse to rank "Cars" as Pixar maven John Lasseter's finest two hours, its merchandising campaign has become a global phenomenon. A year after the motion picture release, a sojourn to a local Toys R Us will reveal collectors -- boys to men -- on the prowl for the new shipment of Mattel-made die-cast miniatures, with the movie's extensive ensemble of characters yielding an endless array of product iterations (Dinaco Blue Chick Hicks, anyone?).
Merchandising campaigns for tentpoles are supposed to peak around the time of the DVD release, then begin to taper off, but "Cars" is only getting hotter.
And we once again learn that box-office, reviews and awards are important, but what Hollywood worships -- far beyond the awards and ticket sales -- is total cash flow. And Cars has paid off big time for the Disney Co.