9 Baffling Movie Merchandise Tie-Ins

Every summer, movie season collides with merchandising mania to create a perfect storm of licensed nonsense. We, the human race, have proven to Hollywood time and time again that we will empty our pockets for anything with our favorite movie logo hastily slapped on it. But at least most of that junk allows us to momentarily remember why we loved the movie: Thor’s hammer. A Star Wars X-wing toy. Then there are these.

1. James Bond Scented Candle

The James Bond Scented Candle is the triple threat of bad movie marketing:

1. Yes, James Bond has romanced many a lady, but he’s never been the “flowers, box of chocolates and scented candles”-type romancer. Bond’s trysts usually begin with gunplay, and end with a hot tub materializing somewhere nearby.

2. Is James Bond really the most romantic impression you want to make with your wife or girlfriend? Yes, he gets the ladies, but monogamy--not his strong suit.

3. What would a scented candle infused with the essence of James Bond smell like, exactly? My guess: gun powder and testosterone—which sounds awesome for a bachelor pad but not so much for date night.

2. Transformers Toy Shaving Kit

Let’s quickly rattle off everything that makes no sense about the Transformers Shaving Kit:

1. Robots don’t shave.
2. Kids don’t shave.
3. You can’t actually shave with this kit anyway. No blade (thank goodness), so you just pretend to be your favorite Autobot and shave your face like Optimus Prime did in the movie. Oh wait.

3. Matrix Reloaded Phone

The Matrix films take place in a distant future. We don’t know how far in the future, but we do know technology has advanced enough to create underground cities, hover battleships, battle mechs, working holograms, and, of course, a completely realized virtual world. Everything about The Matrix world is high tech. The Matrix phone, however, is quite the opposite. Released in 2003, The Matrix phone did indeed look like Neo’s phone from the movie (or a cheap toy facsimile, anyway). But that’s where its usefulness ended, because The Matrix phone couldn’t take pictures or play MP3s, didn’t have Bluetooth—it was completely barren of any of the cell phone technology of the time. So it’s just a toy, right? At $500, no way. This phone was so backwards technologically, marketers might as well have produced The Matrix Abacus.

4. Twilight Condoms

The entire Twilight series/franchise is basically a heavy-handed PSA for teen abstinence. Edward refuses to deflower Bella until they are properly married and follows a supernaturally strict abstinence policy. So a Twilight condom is in direct opposition to the overarching theme of the series.

Also, vampires don’t need condoms, being dead and all. (Not until book four, anyway.)

5. Dark Vador Burger

Nobody wants to eat a burger with a black bun. Nobody. (And sales of the Dark Vador [sic] burgers attest to that fact.) But there’s a deeper problem: the Dark Vador Burger made by fast food chain Quick (a European Burger King, essentially) was launched to coincide with the premiere of The Phantom Menace. You know, the Star Wars movie in which Darth Vader is still a kid, and a hero at that.

6. The Fight Club Jacket

In a movie that calls out rampant consumerism as a societal ill emasculating and enslaving mankind, it’s a tad odd to squeeze any kind of merchandising from the title, let alone a $165 leather jacket.

7. The Passion of the Christ’s Official Nails Necklace

This is just not a good way to commemorate the suffering of Jesus.

8. The Color Purple Teddy Bear

There is no defending this.

9. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Cereal

Making a Robin Hood cereal in the shape of arrows isn’t a terrible idea, but it isn't a great one, either. And when those arrows look very little like arrows and kids are eating bowls of suggestively-shaped cereal, you have a marketing flop.

Fox Photos, Getty Images
4 Fascinating Facts About John Wayne
Fox Photos, Getty Images
Fox Photos, Getty Images

Most people know John Wayne, who would have been 111 years old today, for his cowboy persona. But there was much more to the Duke than that famous swagger. Here are a few facts about Duke that might surprise you.


John Wayne, surfer? Yep—and if he hadn’t spent a lot of time doing it, he may never have become the legend he did. Like many USC students, Wayne (then known as Marion Morrison) spent a good deal of his extracurricular time in the ocean. After he sustained a serious shoulder injury while bodysurfing, Morrison lost his place on the football team. He also lost the football scholarship that had landed him a spot at USC in the first place. Unable to pay his fraternity for room and board, Morrison quit school and, with the help of his former football coach, found a job as the prop guy at Fox Studios in 1927. It didn’t take long for someone to realize that Morrison belonged in front of a camera; he had his first leading role in The Big Trail in 1930.


Marion Morrison had never been fond of his feminine-sounding name. He was often given a hard time about it growing up, so to combat that, he gave himself a nickname: Duke. It was his dog’s name. Morrison was so fond of his family’s Airedale Terrier when he was younger that the family took to calling the dog “Big Duke” and Marion “Little Duke,” which he quite liked. But when he was starting his Hollywood career, movie execs decided that “Duke Morrison” sounded like a stuntman, not a leading man. The head of Fox Studios was a fan of Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne, so Morrison’s new surname was quickly settled. After testing out various first names for compatibility, the group decided that “John” had a nice symmetry to it, and so John Wayne was born. Still, the man himself always preferred his original nickname. “The guy you see on the screen isn’t really me,” he once said. “I’m Duke Morrison, and I never was and never will be a film personality like John Wayne.”


Anyone who knew John Wayne personally knew what an avid chess player he was. He often brought a miniature board with him so he could play between scenes on set.

When Wayne accompanied his third wife, Pilar Pallete, while she played in amateur tennis tournaments, officials would stock a trailer with booze and a chess set for him. The star would hang a sign outside of the trailer that said, “Do you want to play chess with John Wayne?” and then happily spend the day drinking and trouncing his fans—for Wayne wasn’t just a fan of chess, he was good at chess. It’s said that Jimmy Grant, Wayne’s favorite screenwriter, played chess with the Duke for more than 20 years without ever winning a single match.

Other famous chess partners included Marlene Dietrich, Rock Hudson, and Robert Mitchum. During their match, Mitchum reportedly caught him cheating. Wayne's reply: "I was wondering when you were going to say something. Set 'em up, we'll play again."


If you say you know someone battling “The Big C” these days, everyone immediately knows what you’re referring to. But no one called it that before Wayne came up with the term, evidently trying to make it less scary. Worried that Hollywood would stop hiring him if they knew how sick he was with lung cancer in the early 1960s, Wayne called a press conference in his living room shortly after an operation that removed a rib and half of one lung. “They told me to withhold my cancer operation from the public because it would hurt my image,” he told reporters. “Isn’t there a good image in John Wayne beating cancer? Sure, I licked the Big C.”

Wayne's daughter, Aissa Wayne, later said that the 1964 press conference was the one and only time she heard her father call it “cancer,” even when he developed cancer again, this time in his stomach, 15 years later. Sadly, Wayne lost his second battle with the Big C and died on June 11, 1979 at the age of 72.

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Move Over, Star Wars Land: A Star Trek World May Be Coming to Universal Studios
Getty Images
Getty Images

As Disney gears up for the 2019 openings of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at both its Florida and California amusement parks, there may be some sci-fi-themed competition on the horizon. According to Disney and More, there’s a rumor out there that Universal is planning a fourth Orlando theme park, which will include a land dedicated to all things Star Trek.

The blog also states that there have been rumblings that a Star Trek stage show at Universal would take the place of the now-defunct Terminator 2 3D show, but that’s just one option, with a Bourne Identity attraction being the other. Instead, the potential Star Trek show could be expanded to a whole area of the rumored fourth park, with a focus on a recreation of a sci-fi city, according to the site.

This rumored park would be the most high-profile Trek attraction since Las Vegas's Star Trek: The Experience (as seen in the main image). Housed at the Las Vegas Hilton from 1998 to 2008, Star Trek: The Experience included a restaurant based on Quark's bar from Deep Space Nine and the popular Borg Invasion 4D, which was an attraction that combined motion platforms, live actors, and a short 3D film to simulate a Borg takeover.

Any potential Star Trek land would be much further off than Galaxy's Edge's fall 2019 debut in Orlando. But with two new Trek movies on the horizon, and Star Trek: Discovery returning to CBS All Access for a second season in 2018, the venerable sci-fi franchise might just be able to ride a wave of momentum to become real competition for Star Wars—if not at the box office, then at least as a theme park.

[h/t Screen Rant]


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