This Movie Character Dolls page features a selection of movie dolls from my collection that are not shown on other themed pages of this blog. In other words, Talking dolls and dolls based on Star Wars, Star Trek, DC Comics Super Heroes, and Marvel Superheroes are included on their own themed pages. For the sake of giving a more complete concept of the types of movie dolls that have been made I've listed additional movie dolls below that I don't yet have in my collection, however I've only included pictures of the dolls that I do have in my collection. Enjoy!
Mikey's Rambling Introduction to Movie Dolls...
In the 1990's collecting toys as a hobby became more mainstream which caused a major shift in the toy industry. Toy companies began marketing toys to be collector items for adults rather than just a child's plaything. During this period a significant demand grew for licensed toys that would be both fun to collect and a worthwhile investment that could make a small profit in the not-to-distant future.
Of course, TV characters and movie celebrities have been marketed as dolls since the 1970's, along with characters from major block buster films such as Star Wars and Planet of the Apes. Prior to the 1990's toys based on movies would typically only be produced once the characters and the film had already proven to be popular, allowing toy companies to capitalize on a well established fan base. With the increased demand for collectables in the 1990's however, it became commonplace for production studios to market dolls based on characters in new films that had not yet become major successes. In addition to being a good way for movie studios to capitalize on a film's theatrical run, such movie themed dolls also served as a means to market the film and build up more hype.
However manufacturing dolls based on movies is a gamble for toy companies as it is unknown if the movie will "bomb" and fail to connect with an audience. If a movie gets a negative public reaction then selling off the remaining stock of dolls based on such a film becomes very difficult, even if the doll has an interesting design and is well made. For example, Mattel produced a doll based on the 2004 Catwoman film starring Halle Berry which bombed at the box office. This made it very difficult for retail stores such as Sears to sell the dolls they had already ordered, even at clearance prices. For this reason, movie dolls tend to appear in stores several months before a movie begins to play in theatres as this allows time for sales of the toy based more on the merits of the toy itself, along with hype and curiosity about the film.
A rare pre-1990's example of this type of advance movie marketing took place for the 1967 film Doctor Doolittle starring Rex Harrison, for which a 6 inch bendy doll and a 22 inch talking doll was produced by Mattel. Unfortunately this film was also received poorly and according to Wikipedia "diminished studio enthusiasm for similar forms of marketing for years" until George Lucas's mega-hit Star Wars was released a decade later in 1977.
Wizard of OZ
There have been several doll collections based on this classic 1939 film, here is a list of some of them...
8 inch dolls by Mego, 1974
This set includes Dorothy with Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion (several variations), Glenda, Wicked Witch, Wizard of Oz, and four munchkins: Flower girl, Dancing girl, Mayor, and General.
18 inch plush dolls by Mego, mid to late 1970's
This set includes Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. They were sold in window boxes as part of Mego's Softies series.
12 inch plush dolls by Hamilton Presents, 1987
This set includes Dorothy with Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch. Each doll came with a doll stand shaped like the yellow brick road which can be connected together with other stands to form a pathway. Dolls have plastic heads and hands. Tin Man is not a plush toy as it is all plastic.
12 inch dolls, Multi Toys, 1988
This set includes Dorothy with Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion (three variations), Glenda, Wicked Witch, Wizard of Oz, and several munchkins. An action figure series was also released at the same time.
12 inch dolls by Mattel, 2007
This set includes Barbie as Dorothy, Ken as Scarecrow, Ken as Tin Man, Ken as Cowardly Lion, Barbie as Glenda, Barbie as the Wicked Witch, Ken as a Winkie Guard with Winged Monkey.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 12 inch doll by Kenner, 1982
Not only is it infinitely cool that this doll was made, but the fact that Kenner simply reused their Han Solo doll from 1979 and dressed it in the Indy outfit is brilliant! As a collector I long for the day when I can place both dolls side by side on my shelf. I already have one of them! Notably, Kenner painted the hair on the Indiana doll a different shade of brown from the Han Solo doll. Indy also has blue eyes instead of Han Solo's brown eyes. The Indian Jones dolll is harder to find than the Han Solo doll, especially complete with his whip, pistol, belt and his brown felt fedora hat which is actually made out of felt.
Apollo 13, 12 inch doll by Hasbro, 1995
Prior to the films release Hasbro offered a G.I. Joe style doll of a generic astronaut wearing a white astronaut outfit. The doll was sold in a black window box with the Apollo 13 logo in white text on the front. It's not clear if the doll is an official licenced item based on the film or if it was just cleverly released to co-inside with the movie's theatrical run.
The Adventures of Pinocchio, 8 inch doll made by Equity Toys, 1996
One of the unique aspects of this doll is that the entire surface of it's body has been given a wooden detail. The chest also has specific shapes that were seen in the movie. Oddly enough, the doll has sculpted joints at the elbows and knees (shown above and below) that don't actually bend. The joints that do work allow for very basic movement. The arms and legs move back and forth, and the head turns. None the less, I think this is an awesome doll as it's very well detailed to be movie accurate.
A 14 inch plush talking doll of Pinocchio was also made (shown on the talking dolls page of this blog) http://mikeysdolls.blogspot.ca/p/more-super-hero-dolls.html
Dark Crystal, 12 inch dolls by Sideshow Toys, 2002
The very impressive original boxes for the Sideshow Toys Jen and Kira dolls have a picture of each doll on the sides of the boxes.
The front flap on the box opens and has some movie credits listed inside.
Here is an awesome photo of Jen and Kira as they appeared in the movie.
The doll's faces are slightly different from these puppets.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy, 12 inch dolls by Toybiz, 2001 to 2003
2001, Fellowship of the Ring (green boxes): Aragorn, Arwen, Frodo, Gandalf, Galadriel
2002, The Two Towers (red boxes): Bilbo, Legolas, Eowyn
2003, Return of the King (blue boxes): Aragorn, Legolas (These appear to be the same dolls that were previously released. In addition, 12 inch action figures of Aragorn, Gandalf, and Gollum were produced by Toybiz though not as part of the doll series)
12 inch dolls by Mattel, 2004
Two Pack set: Aragorn and Arwen
Speed Racer, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 2008
Two pack set
Pirates of the Caribbean, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 2011
Captain Jack Sparrow complete with shrunken head on his belt.
The Hunger Games, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 2013
Peeta and Finnick
Divergent, 12 inch doll by Mattel, 2014
I have yet to see this movie which, as of 2017, is part of a three film franchise and features hottie Theo James in the lead role, portraying a character named Four. The face for the doll that is based on this character looks nothing like the actor, but it still has a very handsome face. This is a very cute doll that is very well designed and produced with high quality as a collectable for adults as pert of Mattel's "Barbie Collector Black Label" series. That must mean it's cool or something, right? :)
To be honest, I have little interest in seeing the film and simply like this doll for how interesting and well made it is. If I were a fan of the movies I might have an issue with the doll likeness being so far off the mark, but it is honestly such a cute doll that I like it better the way it is.
Very cool detailed boots!
Text and photos copyright Mike Artelle, 2011, 2017