Marketing

Fresh Off Easter, Peeps Head to Hollywood


Fresh Off Easter, Peeps Head to Hollywood

Photograph by Mike Mergen/Bloomberg

Hollywood has successfully monetized Smurfs, exotic fish, anthropomorphic stock cars, and most recently, Legos. Why not chick-shaped marshmallows?

Adam Rifkin, the filmmaker behind Underdog and Detroit Rock City, has secured the film rights to Peeps, the sugar blobs that hatch en masse at the local Duane Reade (WAG) every spring. Peeps seems to have even less animation potential than Legos, with hardly an iota of personality and eyes that are hard to find on their tiny faces. But the candies are having a bit of a moment, after finally making the jump from seasonal Easter treat to the rest of the year. Just Born, the Pennsylvania company that makes the marshmallow creatures, is now rolling out mini versions in three new flavors: crème, chocolate crème, and sour watermelon.

Euromonitor International pegs sales of the chicks and their bunny counterparts at about $63 million a year. Factor in a puffy marketing budget to go along with the new year-round effort, and the Peeps package starts to look fairly sweet to an enterprising movie producer.

But even if Just Born helps bankroll a film, it will have to be more than a marketing enterprise to make money. Animation is not a cheap endeavor, especially when A-list actors are hired for character voices. The Lego Movie cost an estimated $120 million to make, while Disney spent $150 million to make Frozen into a blockbuster.

So what does Rifkin have in the works for his epic about a dessert? According to Deadline.com, the movie will follow a wayward Peep en route to a diorama installation. The filmmaker was inspired by his nieces and the Washington Post’s annual Peep contest.

For a follow-up film, maybe some Hollywood hotshot should get on the phone with representatives for Circus Peanuts or Pez.

Kyle-stock-190
Stock is an associate editor for Businessweek.com. Twitter: @kylestock

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