What Hot Topic Learned About Movie Merchandise From Twilight

We’ve all known Hot Topic as one of the carriers of Twilight merchandise. We’ve all also noticed how the quantity of that merchandise changed movie to movie. Here’s what Hot Topic thinks they learned. Interestingly, there’s no thought given to tee shirt design and Hot Topic’s incredibly small size range/cuts of shits, an item that has frequently been discussed here.

According to CFO:

It also comes as no surprise that companies like Hot Topic, a pop-culture-oriented apparel and accessory retailer, are tying their profits to the hit film. Hot Topic, a $697 million company that targets older teens, has a long-running relationship with popular franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight. But budgeting and planning for the movie releases has not always been easy.

“We’ve had some big blockbusters in the past that kind of caused our business to go boom and bust,” says Hot Topic CFO Jim McGinty. “Boom when they came out, and then bust either immediately after” or at the end of the year, when the stores held an abundance of excess inventory that no one wanted to buy.

Case in point: Twilight, the film based on a teen novel about a girl who falls in love with a handsome vampire. After the first Twilight movie was released, the demand for Bella- and Edward-related merchandise shot through the roof — and the company was on a sales high, McGinty says. When the next Twilight film, New Moon, came out, Hot Topic bought more merchandise than it could sell. “We made a big commitment,” he says. “The idea was more about making sure we didn’t miss a sale.”

Ultimately, this strategy backfired. “In buying that much merchandise, we probably didn’t miss a sale, but we certainly gave up margin dollars because of the markdowns on the back end,” says McGinty. Because the stores were so heavily stocked, they would sometimes sell only about 40% of their film-related inventory by the time a popular movie was released.

Definitely check out the rest of the article. Do you agree with their conclusions, or are they missing some key points?


  1. Becky Ramos says

    Awesome typo! Too funny!

    …incredibly small size range/cuts of “shits”

  2. Typo or Freudian slip?

    “Hot Topic’s incredibly small size range/cuts of shits, an item that has frequently been discussed here.”

    roflmbo 8*)

  3. Fiona Cullen says

    You made a little typo in the 4th sentence, you left the ‘r’ out of shirts! Haha.

  4. Rachelle says

    It wasn’t the fault of the fans that the New Moon merchandise was boring and dull. I checked Hot Topic all the time for shirts and merch when New Moon came out but they seemed to lose focus on what was selling. Bella, Edward, and Cullen stuff sold the best during Twilight and yet HT had the bright idea to purchase tons of wolf pack and Jacob stuff in excess. While we all love the pack and Jake, let’s be honest, Edward and the Cullens stuff sells a lot better….especially while promoting the films….so it seems to me that the main issue was not the Twilight fans losing interest. It was a lack of business smarts. Like people have already pointed out, the sizes were way too small and did not even try to appeal to the average size woman. Plus HT did not do their homework and realize that Cullens are usually more popular than the wolf pack and Edward and Bella are more popular than Jacob and Bella even though there are plenty of fans for all the characters.

  5. I’ve tried to get a shirt for every movie; being a +sized woman my options are always limited. For Breaking Dawn they never even MADE things in +Sizes!! A lot of people around here were grumbling over that fact at the premier. I hope they get their act(s) together for the next one. Where’s my shirt of the wedding? I mean are you people serious? That would have flown off the racks! Or newborn Bella. Please give me something nice next time?!

  6. That Other Twilighter Girl says

    Every comment Erika Olvera to CatWhit exactly right I’m small, but I understand where the ‘normal gals are coming from.I love ht -living in Australia I’ve only been once and it was great. Sale smarts is what it comes down to I think.
    Bella, Edward and Cullen merch all the way!!!!

  7. Despite the typo ;). I agree with the problem with Hottopic sizes. My daughter is usually a S or M. At Hot Topic. I have to get her a L, and one time an XL. They like to make shirts skin tight, and it’s not what my daughter, nor I, and especially her Dad, like to see her wearing. It’s not only uncomfortable (rides up armpits), but not very modest.
    Hoodies,though, run normal size.

    But, I too love their sales, because there are usually LOTS of L and XL sizes available!

    Their HP stuff is nicer than the Twilight stuff. The HP stuff, is often classy, with nice lettering, and creative imagery. The Twilight stuff (lately) has just been someones photo stuck to the shirt with the name of the movie at the top. Not very imaginative.

  8. I like buying when the prices are marked down too, but I do not like the poor quality of the later shirts (shits?) and only small sizes available.

  9. The problem wasn’t only the sizes (although that WAS a problem) – it was the lack of creativity of the designs and the too-young age-target of the merchandise. I would have bought some nice looking Twilight jewelry, for example, but the little bit they had was cheap looking, was clearly aimed at very young people and cost way too much. Also, it was movie-specific. Why did they have everything say “New Moon?” Why not just have a well-designed, all-ages Edward shirt that can be purchased for decades? Then when Eclipse comes out, you can still sell that shirt you released during New Moon – you aren’t stuck with outdated shirts. I loved their Twilight merchandise, but their New Moon stuff was overpriced and lacked creativity, then they cut back to the point where you couldn’t find much of anything for Eclipse & BD.

  10. when twilight came out i loved the ‘not so obvious shirts and hoodies’ the ones that contained the cullen crest for example but also had patterns etc that didnt make it so obvious what it was. when new moon came out i wanted more like that but they didnt do anything other than the boring face shirts which i dont like wearing…

    if they brought back more abstract ones i would get more, the shirt and zip up jacket are 2 of my favourite things to wear in my wardrobe because i can wear it knowing its twilight related but it also looks like a normal shirt that you could get anywhere. its more interesting.

    they need to be more creative…

    • @Emma, you are so right. I wish I bought the hoodie w/ cullen crest, much better than a giant face on your chest. When the first movie came out I thought they should have sold pencils, notebooks and stickers (cheaper stickers) since they were in High School. The t-shirts are not my style or my size. Why no BD trading cards, I emailed NECA and am still waiting for a reply. I did buy some items (all the movies so far) Regular price and Sale price. By the way Hot Topic that’s retailing for you, I checked out Bob Marley shirts for a gift and they were too short length wise and too wide for the person I had in mind.

  11. Some great points have already been made. Hopefully Hot Topic will research the internet and go over some of our suggestions and get it right for the final movie.

    I’m one of the Twi-moms and I really wanted to purchase a shirt for each movie. But I couldn’t seriously walk around in most of the shirt designs they sold (even if I was able to find one to fit). I still have my t-shirt from Twilight that said “What if I’m not the hero” on the front and “What if I’m the bad guy?” on the back. That was perfect. Twilight fans knew what I was wearing without me looking foolish with a big Edward or Jacob head on my chest, lol. They should have done more quote shirts.

  12. Dawnika Stephenson says

    I love buying Twilight stuff! I have some stuff. I like that Hot Topic has Twilight stuff. I don’t normally shop Hot Topic,but since they started having Twilight stuff,I like to shop. I don’t always buy, but even just looking Is good. Most of my Twilight stuff isn’t from Hot Topic, but I had a coupon one time and bought an Edward bookmark and New Moon T-Shirt. I only use my Edward bookmark for reading my Twilight books. I use a different non-Twilight bookmark for all other books.

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