You bought the T-shirt, now comes a whole outfit

Money/ entertainment sells; Casper's shape will be moulded into Heinz pasta, bubble bath, M&S cakes and ice-creams. The film's box office takings will be secondary.

IT USED to be just T-shirts. Now it is a whole wardrobe. Merchandising, exploiting the images of a popular record, band, book or film on throwaway clothing, is suddenly becoming mainstream fashion.

When Judge Dredd, the movie of the comic-strip futuristic lawman, reaches the cinemas this month, you may feel that the film itself is merely incidental: what will be seen on every street corner is the Judge Dredd Look.

Dredd fans may not be striding down the street in chrome boots and full superhero costume with armour (although Jean-Paul Gaultier has had a stab at translating comic-book heroes to high fashion this summer), but they will be wearing tiny T-shirts with "Law Breaker" and "Creep" logos printed in reflective ink, or short A-line dresses aimed at the young and streetwise.

Fiona Cartledge, who runs Sign of the Times, a mecca for clubwear buyers in London's Covent Garden, is excited at the idea of selling the right sort of film merchandise.

"Films are using exactly the themes - fantasy and sci-fi - that are running in fashion right now," she says. "The two worlds have collided."

Tank Girl has already shown the way forward. The comic-strip that became a movie has now become a British fashion label: MGM licensed the UK clothing range to Future Shooter, a small London-based company, last November, and the clothes went into the shops six months before the UK release of the film.

It is estimated that it will earn the company pounds 1m in sales this year, of which MGM will take 10 per cent.

Despite the film's poor takings at the box office, the range is selling fast. Tank Girl has become a brand name. She even has her own range of boots on sale at Shellys.

Of course, movie merchandising in the mid-Nineties means more than just clothing. For the UK launch of Judge Dredd, 27 companies have been licensed to produce anything from plastic kites and milk-chocolate sticks to pyjamas and acrylic tumblers. The barrage of Dredd paraphernalia will be sold everywhere, from local supermarkets to Marks & Spencer.

Tee White works as a freelance consultant for the Dredd range. She specialises in the new concept of making film licensing fashionable.

"It used to be so much easier when a film came out and a simple screenprinted T-shirt was sold to promote it,' she says. "The fashion area is new territory. A T-shirt is not enough for consumers any more."

Ms White is also working on another superhero movie, Batman Forever, due out on 14 July. The Warner Store in Regent Street is already crammed with bat ears, wings and cloaks, but a clothing range is still in the planning stages. Top Shop will be selling a range of fashion-credible Batman T-shirts to test the waters.

Batman Forever is expected to earn at least as much as the summer's other blockbuster, Pocahontas, which has made $400m so far.

It is estimated on Wall Street that Pocahontas will make $900m globally - and more than half of that amount will be from licensing deals.

But the film that promises to beat the $2.5bn made from merchandise by Jurassic Park is another Steven Spielberg extravaganza for all the family, this time about a friendly ghost, Casper.

It is not a film that will lend itself to clubwear, but the movie, starring the 14-year-old Christina Ricci, opens the same day as Judge Dredd and boasts the mother of all licensing deals with more than 50 products planned, right down to next year's Easter eggs.

Casper's shape will be moulded into Heinz pasta in tomato sauce, bubble bath, M&S cakes, and ice-creams. The film's box office takings ($71m in the first four weeks in the US) will become secondary. It seems that every child will own (or have eaten) a piece of Casper by the end of the year.

"The value of the business is frightening," says Francesca Ash, publisher of Licensing Today Worldwide. "Before the late Eighties, a film would come out and the T-shirts would be sold almost as an afterthought to make some extra revenue.''

Now, film budgets are so huge that merchandise, which can double the revenue of a film, is taken into account from the start.

The licensing industry worldwide is worth an estimated $111bn. The UK alone generates $5bn of that, 40 per cent of which is from the entertainment section.

But where does that leave the consumer? There are only so many characters, brand names and logos a person can take. In a month when cinema attendance figures are at their lowest for almost 10 years, movie-merchandise mania will hit fever pitch.

The under-25's clubwear market is a thriving one, and extra-small T-shirts will continue to sell as extra-large ones sold before them.

But if Judge Dredd, Batman Forever and Casper fail to attract the audiences they are hoping for, the merchandise machines could be left with a whole lot of unwanted junk on their hands: bat-shaped mugs, logo beach towels, and Casper ghost pens that glow in the dark.

Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam