10 Toys That Became Million-Dollar Franchises

Lots More Information


Barbie Turns 60, Becomes an Astrophysicist

Barbie Turns 60, Becomes an Astrophysicist

Barbie, the ultimate classic doll, turns 60 this year. HowStuffWorks goes to the party.

Author's Note: 10 Toys That Became Million-Dollar Franchises

When I first started brainstorming for this article, I was thinking along the lines of toys like the pet rock, which earned its inventor millions in the mid-70s. Once I got further along in my research, I realized that I really couldn't ignore these huge toy-based franchised in favor of smaller and lesser-known brands. If you'd like to learn more about these smaller toy franchises that are ready to hit the big-time, check out Rainbow Loom and Bannor Toys, just two of many small, independent toy makers poised to make it big in the tough world of toys. Hopefully they, and others like them, are the million-dollar franchises of the future.

Related Articles


  • American Greetings. "History." http://corporate.americangreetings.com/aboutus/history.html
  • American Greetings. "History and Facts." (Nov. 24, 2014) http://web.archive.org/web/20050303062052/www.care-bears.com/CareBears/html/history/index.html
  • Andrejczak, Matt. "Hasbro Hitches Sales to Transformers Sequel." Market Watch. July 2, 2009. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hasbro-hitches-bigger-sales-to-transformers-sequel
  • Chitwood, Adam. "Legendary Taps Simon Crane to Direct Hot Wheels." Colider. 2013. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://collider.com/hot-wheels-movie-simon-crane/
  • Feloni, Richard. "How Lego Came Back From the Brink of Bankruptcy." Business Insider. Feb. 10, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.businessinsider.com/how-lego-made-a-huge-turnaround-2014-2
  • Fleming Jr., Mike. "Sony Pictures Teams With Mattel To Fashion Film Franchise Based On Barbie Toyline." Deadline. Apr. 23, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://deadline.com/2014/04/sony-pictures-teams-with-mattel-to-fashion-film-franchise-based-on-barbie-toyline-718667/
  • Global License. "Top 150 Global Licensors." May 1, 2013. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.licensemag.com/license-global/top-150-global-licensors
  • Deadline. "Sony Pictures Teams with Mattel to Fashion Film Franchise Based on Barbie Toyline." April 23, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://deadline.com/2014/04/sony-pictures-teams-with-mattel-to-fashion-film-franchise-based-on-barbie-toyline-718667/
  • Fox News. "'Monster High' Dolls Scare Up Trouble for Barbie Sales." July 19, 2013. (Nov. 24, 2014). http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/07/19/monster-high-dolls-scare-up-trouble-for-barbie-sales/
  • Graser, Marc."'My Little Pony' Movie in the Works at Hasbro Studios." Variety. Oct. 20, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://variety.com/2014/film/news/my-little-pony-movie-in-the-works-at-hasbro-studios-exclusive-1201334144/
  • Gustafsson, Katarina. "Lego Tops U.S. Toymaker Rivals as Full-Year Sales Jump 10 Percent." Bloomberg. Feb. 27, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-27/lego-beats-u-s-toymaker-rivals-as-full-year-revenue-jumps-10-.html
  • Lammle, Rob. "The Complete History of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Mental Floss. May 3, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://mentalfloss.com/article/30862/complete-history-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles
  • Lang, Brent. "Box Office: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Delivers $65 Million Debut, Sequels Announced." Variety. Aug. 20, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://variety.com/2014/film/news/box-office-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-delivers-65-million-global-debut-sequel-announced-1201279430/
  • Lang, Brent. "'Transformers: Age of Extinction' Hits $1 Billion Globally." Variety. Aug. 3, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://variety.com/2014/film/news/transformers-4-1-billion-box-office-1201274581/
  • Mattel. "Barbie." http://www.barbiemedia.com/
  • Mattel. "Hot Wheels Fast Facts." (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.hotwheelsmedia.com/i/brand-facts/fast-facts
  • McGrath, Maggie. "Gains From Monopoly and My Little Pony Not Enough to Help Hasbro Overcome Declines From Marvel Toys." Forbes. Feb. 10, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2014/02/10/gains-from-monopoly-and-my-little-pony-not-enough-to-help-hasbro-overcome-declines-from-marvel-toys/
  • Mortensen, Tine Froberg. "Timeline 1990-1999." The Lego Group. Jan. 9, 2012. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://aboutus.lego.com/en-us/lego-group/the_lego_history/1990
  • O'Connell, Sean. "G.I. Joe 3 Will be Delayed By Jon. M. Chu's Jem Movie." Cinema Blend. March 22, 2011. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.cinemablend.com/new/G-I-Joe-3-Delayed-By-Jon-Chu-Jem-Movie-42205.html
  • Rogers, Mary F. "Barbie Culture." Sage Press. 1999.
  • Seiter, Ellen. "Sold Separately: Children and Parents in Consumer Culture." Rutgers University Press. 1995.
  • Stamp, Jimmy. "Now You Know the History of G.I. Joe. And Knowing Is Half the Battle." Smithsonian. March 29, 2013. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/now-you-know-the-history-of-gi-joe-and-knowing-is-half-the-battle-11506463/?no-ist
  • Townsend, Allie. "Cabbage Patch Kids." Time. Feb. 16, 2011. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2049243_2048660_2049192,00.html
  • Townsend, Matt. "The Cabbage Patch Kids Get a Makeover." Bloomberg Businessweek. June 5, 2014. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-06-05/cabbage-patch-kids-get-makeover-twinkle-toes-tie-in
  • Zimmerman, Ann. "Mattel's New Playbook: Toy First, Franchise Next." The Wall Street Journal. June 3, 2010. (Nov. 24, 2014) http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB1000142405274870451570457528268247574952