Season two of Stranger Things, which was nominated for 18 Emmys after its first season, is expected to arrive Oct. 27. But the show’s unprecedented appeal is also scrambling the financial ambitions of both its stars and Netflix.
The show became an instant cult classic when it debuted in 2016, and unauthorized merchandise soon began popping up for sale all over the Internet, reports Hollywood Reporter. As a result, Netflix quickly made licensing deals with a clothing company, Hybrid Apparel, and retailer Hot Topic. Netflix also hired Jess Richardson, WWE’s former licensing vice president for North America, as director of global licensing, merchandising, and promotions, writes The Hollywood Reporter.
Now, Netflix is making deals for the second season of the hit show, as it has “changed the thinking” in terms of licensing related to shows, writes THR. Since Stranger Things is one of the most-watched shows on Netflix, and is set to launch right before Halloween, costume sales are likely to be boosted, but the main focus is still on the holidays.
The payoff could be lucrative. According to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey, sales of licensed goods surrounding entertainment and characters from shows or movies reached $118.3 billion globally last year, with $42.7 billion of that from sales in the U.S.
While the network ramps up its licensing of the show, THR also reports that the child stars of Stranger Things are planning on joining together to renegotiate deals for future seasons of the show. One source said that the actors each got $30,000 per episode for the first and second seasons with a bonus (still less than six figures). The cast is signed for six years. THR reports that Netflix had hoped to shoot seasons three and four back-to-back to avoid any “potentially awkward adolescent transitions.” But the creators and executive producers are said to have disagreed with that idea.
Instead, the plan is to create the show based on where the actors are at in terms of age when the episodes are shot. It’s unclear how Netflix would handle a group negotiation, but acknowledged the series is “clearly is the streaming service’s most important franchise.”
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