These days, you don’t just make a movie – you make a Monopoly set (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug), a watch, a cologne, a soft drink, a hat, a bag, a tent, a mask. 2013 has continued this tradition with the tenacity of a thousand wargs, with all sorts of odds and sods cluttering up warehouses all over the globe. Here are just a few of our "favourites", but please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment box below.
IRON MAN 3
Robert Downey Jr.’s third standalone outing as everyone’s favourite billionaire playboy philanthropist came with quite a few suits, and even more merchandise. Certain special tie-ins were one-of-a-kinds, such as these Nike Sneakers and others, like these spoiler-protecting LEGO sets – “Mandarin Showdown!”, “Extremis Sea Port Battle!” – were plain ingenious, but for the most part, they were plain ol’ odd.
Witness these cufflinks ($24.99)...
toy cars ($60.00)
computer mice ($113)
electric guitars ($227.99)
...and cologne ($18.51).
Though, to be fair, that was for The Avengers last year.
DESPICABLE ME 2
On his appearance on the Empire Podcast this year, Steve Carrell admitted he doesn’t mind that his character, Gru, is not really what the audience are going to see. The legions of kids are there not for the evil mastermind’s pointy nose and ridiculous voice, but for the minions, which explains both the spin-off movie they’re getting (with Sandra Bullock voicing another genius with plans for global domination) and these seemingly never-ending yellow-tinged tie-ins.
Straight away, your little one will want a ‘Fart Blaster’ (don’t worry, it’s banana-flavoured) ($39.99)
then a mind-bogglingly creepy armchair ($79.99)
then this appalling swimming-aid-shaped outfit (£34.99)
as well as a bobble hat ($21.99)
and, if they’re feeling generous to the big guy, a gruesome Gru mask (£32.99).
The good news: Monsters University had some kinda cool skate shoes (£35.00)...
and some less kinda cool rollerskates.
The bad news: pretty much everything else. Feast your eyes on this nothing-like-Sulley-but-still-genuinely-scary mask ($14.99)
another harmful armchair ($79.99)
a worrying Mike watch ($19.99)
...and a throw that, again, looks nothing like Sulley ($19.99).
Then there is the torch that proves that the sun really does shine out of Mike’s posterior (£19.60)
...and this potty training tie-in that we’re too scared to show you directly.
MAN OF STEEL
Man Of Steel received a fair bit of flack for its unrelenting persuit of tie-in opportunities, but in their defence, these Warby Parker glasses are pretty cool, tough it’s not clear why Superman has anything to do with cars, or Chrysler ones in particular.
Elsewhere, things get loopy, quickly. These (admittedly unofficial) “Tunnel plug” earrings ($7.99) are clever but inherently strange...
...and this Man Of Steel mug ($7.99) makes The Big Blue Boy Scout look rather distorted.
In the toy department, all similarities to the film itself fly out of the window, with Michael Shannon’s Zod boasting “Demolition Handles” and a strange look on his face ($7.99).
Kal-El, meanwhile, gets a brand new, almost medieval suit ($7.99).
And one of Zod’s crew – it’s not clear who – manages to get trapped inside a “Man of Steel Flight Speeders Sky Slam Toy Launcher” ($9.98).
Pray for him.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD
There aren’t that many Asgardian tie-ins for this year’s Thorquel, but somehow Harley Davison got involved, which explains this picture of Stan Lee “riding” a hog on the red carpet. You could buy a special Thor outfit for your Teddy though, thanks to Build-A-Bear.
It’s not clear what a “Glow Wand” is, but you can get one in the shape of Mjölnir (with an extra long handle) for just $9.99.
Thor “Adult Goggles” aren’t as creepy as they sound – but only just – coming at $26.99.
...while this Loki hoodie actually works, in its own way, if only because of the horns at the top.
It’s yours for $59.50.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
Both the books and the films eschew materialism, vanity and anything that doesn’t involve survival, but that hasn't stopped anyone from making Barbie tie-ins for four of the lead characters. Effie Trinket makes sense, but Katniss?
Still, at $23.59 a piece, they are yours for the buying. CoverGirl’s make-up range also manages to totally not get the point, offering Disctrict-by-District sets for the poor and impoverished masses. In the flat-out weird category, there’s this lightbulb ($7.98)
...and a jacket that looks like a fancy bin liner.
Once you’ve bought all this, be sure to eat some of Subway’s “fiery” sandwiches...
...and start dreaming of what a Hunger Games amusement park might consist of. Kerching Fire, indeed.
Now, for everything else from everywhere else. Though there’s no such thing as a wheel in their prehistoric world, you can get a Croods-branded skateboard with light-up roundy-thing-ya-ma-call-its.
This Oz: The Great And Powerful ring is neither ($5.98)...
...(or spellbinding, for that matter) while the price of this pair of official Great Gatsby cufflinks from Tiffany’s ($350)...
...might send you into a rage worthy of this Wolverine ‘Berserker Burger’.
Or, if you’re not that easily angered, a Hobbit-themed “Bard’s Pumpkin Pie Milkshake” from Denny’s. Behold the riches of Smaug's lair!
Giving Tiffany’s a run for its money are these After Earth Headphones that seem in no way related to the film ($259).
You can also get proper After Earth camping equipment, which seems, at best, to be very optimistic indeed from the marketeers.
But if you thought these were all bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet, for One Direction know exactly what they’re doing in this department. Marvel, then, at these documentary tie-in 1D pieces, which includes a special toothpaste – of course. Top tip: be sure to only brush in, you guessed it, one direction.