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What was bigger GIJOE, He-Man, or Transformers


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Ok, the topic title is a little misleading what I want to know is which product grossed more in the 80's? I have heard that He-Man either grossed or helped Mattel gross a billion dollars in the 1980's BUT I honestly don't know and didn't know anyone who had more He-Man than GI Joe or Transformers in the 1980's. We all had He-Man figs but not nearly to the extent of GI Joe or Transformers, so could someone clear it up for me.

 

Did He-Man as a product by itself gross a billion in sales or was it part of the products that helped Mattel gross a million?

 

How much did GI Joe or Transformers gross in the 1980's, the products lasted longer and everyone I knew was more into JOE and TF than He-Man

 

Also could this topic be posted in both MOTU and TF forums?

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That's a pretty good question. I would assume that Transformers would've been the highest grosser, but the sheer amount of G.I. Joe stuff keeps me from being confident about it. I'm sure over time TF would prove to be the winner, given all the different incarnations of the property over the years, but during the '80s, I have no idea. I know the amount of G.I. Joe stuff I had just dwarfed my Transformers and He-Man collections.

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Yeah, I would definitely say Transformers over the past three decades... but if you're going to go "overall", you'd have to consider GI Joe toys from the '60s and '70s too, and that was a big cash cow for Hasbro back then. Adjusted for inflation, I wouldn't be surprised at all if GI Joe took it.

 

From the '80s only though, that's a tough one. It seems like GI Joe and TF ran neck and neck almost. Granted I don't have any real numbers to go on, and this is based on childhood memories, but it seemed as if Hasbro gave each franchise equal support. At the bigger toy stores, you'd always see about the same amount of shelf space devoted to each, unlike today where TF is clearly the favourite. I may be mistaken about this, but I believe I saw GI Joe figures at a number of drug stores, too, and I don't remember them carrying anything large like TFs. Hard to say.

 

I think they were bigger sellers than MOTU, though.

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No, no, some of you guys got it wrong. Just going on 80's sales alone, excluding anything prior and after and not including SW, sorry but SW didn't outsell Joe or TF.

 

 

 

I just remember Joe and TF being more popular and more kids having them than MOTU BUT they always reference a billion dollars when they refer to MOTU, I think maybe a book was even titled something like that.

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I don't know about Star Wars not being a big seller in the 80's. Empire came out in 1980 and Return came out in 1983. They made Star Wars into the mid-80's. I'm sure their biggest selling years were in the beginning of the decade.

 

But, I could be wrong.

 

They said that He-Man sold a Billion dollars worth of toys but they had a year were they made something like 700 million and then something like 17 million the next year and the line died.(Don't quote me on the facts, I'm taking a guess with the numbers here!)

 

If I were to pick between the other three, I would think it would be G.I.Joe. Didn't that line start the earliest in 1982 and ran the rest of the decade?

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Yeah, I don't know about that either. Star Wars was HUGE. My memory of SW on the shelves is a bit hazy, since I was born in '77, but certainly by the time of ROTJ and after it was still going strong at retail. I wouldn't be surprised if it made more than Joe, TF or MOTU... but then again I wouldn't be surprised if GI Joe made more, either. I think it would have been close.

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I've had this debate before. MOTU started very strong in 81' and was the top seller first. Joe came in 82' and 83' doing well but by 84' it had left MOTU in the dust. Transformers was ALWAYS 2nd fiddle to GI Joe in the 80's. GI Joe was going strong right till the end of 89' and things cooled off starting in 90'. Transformers had already slowed for a while by the end of the 80's. The only aspect that Transformers did better than joe was the price per figure. But that also meant more joes bought at a single time and it was affordable to all social and economic classes.

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Yeah there was always just SO much stuff on shelves for G.I. Joe, the sales had to be tremendous. I can't really think of another animated show that literally had a representation of every single thing you saw on the show in toy form. And that was a hell of a lot of stuff.

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One thing you have to take into account is that the actual number of GI Joe and TF products was massive compared to MOTU.

 

Also, if Mattel is claiming a billion dollars they have to be including Barbie and Hot Wheels in that total.

 

Every kid I knew had He-Man and GI Joe, but not always Transformers. That could be a region thing, I am in WV and little men we could play with in the back yard would have been a lot more popular than toys that actually took time (even a couple of seconds) to play with properly.

 

As far as the 80's go, GI Joe ruled back then. They were cheap, came with lots of accessories, and you could have giant wars with them. I'd say He-Man was second because of the shear momentum it had from 81-84. Transformers came along a little later and had 3 or 4 good years, just like He-Man, before it started to fizzle a little.

 

All time I'd say it certainly goes GI Joe, Transformers (a very close second), then MOTU. If we're throwing Star Wars into the conversation, then I would put it 3rd ONLY because there was about 10 years with no toys.

 

If we're going to rank things today it would go Star Wars, Transformers (again, very close second), GI Joe, and MOTU. That's based on popularity. Lets face it, there have been Star Wars geeks since 77 and they just keep on coming.

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You pose a good question. I'd like to know the answer. Personally speaking it would depend on who you ask. :)

 

Worldwide in the 80s, I assume it could be Transformers (especially the US and Japanese support), although single Joe figures could have been more bang for the buck.

 

For me in the 80s, it was 1.) G.I. Joe 2.) Masters of the Universe and 3.) Transformers. My factors were probably price, going to the store each week with my mom usually guaranteed a single figure each week (usually G.I. Joe or Star Wars) because they were only $2-$3 each. Supporting cartoon: In my neck of the woods He-Man and G.I. Joe were on weekdays. Transformers I never saw, I believe due to either a bad time spot or just wasn't carried in my area. Transformers I only saw when visiting my cousins, which both were huge TF and MOTU fans. Probably the only reason I had a few Transformers as a kid.

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Well G.I. Joe had a LOT of expensive (comparatively speaking) items. I mean even if you exclude the Defiant, Flagg and Terror Drome, there were still a lot of big expensive items like the Killer W.H.A.L.E. and Night Raven.

 

MOTU had, what, Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain?

 

Transformers had Omega Supreme and the 4 "city" size bots (Metroplex, Tryphticon, Scorponok and Fortress Maximus).

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Every kid I knew had He-Man and GI Joe, but not always Transformers. That could be a region thing, I am in WV and little men we could play with in the back yard would have been a lot more popular than toys that actually took time (even a couple of seconds) to play with properly.

 

Ya, it was the same where I grew up. Everyone had GI Joe & He-Man (more GI Joe than MOTU) toys...very few had Transformers.

 

As far as the 80's go, GI Joe ruled back then. They were cheap, came with lots of accessories, and you could have giant wars with them.

 

Don't forget the articulation on the figures. GI Joe was extremely playable, and I think that's what made it so popular with so many kids...up to that point, it was the only toy line I can think of that had that much articulation.

 

Transformers were cool, but their alt modes didn't really have much compared to GI Joe in terms of actually being able to PLAY with them.

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We had them all when we were kids.. pretty much any toyline that came out in the 80's we got it.. (divorced parents spoil you)

GiJoe, Transformers, MOTU, Starwars, MASK, COPS, DinoRiders, Visionaries, SilverHawks, Thundercats, Inhumanoids, Blackstar, Tigersharks, TMNT, Superpowers, Secret Wars, etc etc...

 

I remember going to TRU back then, and I believe that GiJoe had a HUGE majority in the toy aisles.

 

I can't say which had higher numbers, but I do know that GiJoe had the most product out there, and lasted the longest (well maybe Transformers did, but who knows with all the different lines they have had under that banner)

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I would have to say Joe was the biggest of the 80's. TF was huge, and MOTU was no slouch, but Joe lasted the longest. Star Wars was by far the most popular in the early 80's, but I would bet Joe beat it out by 87 in terms of sales. TF was big, but I know more kids around me owned Go-bots. Man I loved those things, transforming hotwheels. And I knew one kid that owned MOTU, I know I only had Trapjaw and He-man as a kid.

Now if we counted action figure lines of all time, Star Wars would win hands down. That toyline is so big nowadays that I dont think it will ever go away. Add that every few years Lucas comes out with somthing new and man, its gold. Now TF is big, but its no Star Wars, and Joe is a distant 3rd. And we really cant forget Power Rangers. While its about dead right now(at least in the states, in Japan its still big), for the last 15 years its constantly been near the top(and for most of the the 90s it was at the top, beating out even the turtles).

Now if the Joe movie line hits with kids and the movie is a blockbuster then who knows. This could be the second coming for our small joes, a new lease on life. Maybe it will be even bigger this time (if thats possible), I would be willing to bet TF is at the biggest height of its popularity currently, those new movie figs are just flying off the shelf around me.

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Every kid I knew had He-Man and GI Joe, but not always Transformers. That could be a region thing, I am in WV and little men we could play with in the back yard would have been a lot more popular than toys that actually took time (even a couple of seconds) to play with properly.

 

 

I don't think it was region thing, but a money thing. Transfromers were more expensive then Joes and MOTU, so those lines where easier for Mom and Dad to buy for a child on their weekly trip to the store. Which meant more kids had them and had more of them. I know i had almost every MOTU figures made when I was a kid and had a lot of Joes, but very few Transformers.

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I don't doubt one bit that MOTU grossed a billion during the 80's. Mattel has such a huge international market it's not even funny. Mattel is huge in Latin America and Europe. Add in North America, and I think MOTU could have beaten Joe. Not saying they did, but it's not totally unrealistic.

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There is a book called MASTERING THE UNIVERSE by Roger Sweet and David Wecker that says that MOTU earned 1.2 Billion World Wide in its six year run in the 1980's. The Motu DVD Set likes to claim that MOTU was the return to Action Adventure Shows after strick regulation in the1970's, you know the decade of Scooby Doo and GOD AWFUL Superfrieds. I haven't researched GIJOE or Transformers but I've got to stick with MOTU as my first REAL toys.

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You gotta remember that MOTU grossed so much in the 80's it had its own Live-Action movie in 87'.....thats saying something for a toy line at that time.(not the greatest movie but still) Macy's Day parade floats, a touring musical live show,(The Power Tour) and other stuff. (She-Ra) It had to be raking in the money, I'm still gonna go with MOTU overall.......GI Joe and Transformers had more of a life span and probably overtime made more but I think MOTU would get the prize for biggest IT line of the 80's.

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GI Joe and He man had the longest stretch of new toys during the 80's. Transformers were very pricey, and Star Wars fizzed out by '85. GI Joe was the most popular by far, with a full decade of strong sales, and plenty of price points for parents to choose from.

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You guys have analyzed this very well, but I thought I'd throw in a few tidbits.

 

Star Wars was very strong in the early 80's but by 84-85 it was dead in the water.

 

Joe started out slow enough in 82-83 but by 86 they were far and away the leaders in the boys toy market.

 

MOTU had a huge boom and a huge fall in the span of like 3 years in the early 80's and by the time the He-Man movie came out in 1987 the line was dying a bloody money losing death.

 

Transformers were big from about 84 to 86ish but by 87 and 88 Transformers was pretty much toast.

 

Ultimately the king of the 1980's was GI Joe.

 

GI Joe started off decent in the early 1980's and was still running strong up until 1990.

 

GI Joe started to take a hit in the early 1990's because of TMNT and to a lesser extent Batman. The Ninja Turtles eventually forced Joe out of the market in the early to mid 1990's and all the action figures began to follow the larger scale TMNT market.

 

 

Transformers seems really popular now, but as many others have noted Transformers were pretty expensive, breakable and didn't have the play value that GI Joe did in the 1980's. The reason Transformers is more popular now than GI Joe is simply because of Japanese animation. Hasbro has been able to import Japanese Transformer cartoons for the last two decades, redubbing them and then selling new figures based off them. Whereas GI Joe had no cartoon for many, many years.

 

Transformers would likely be a pretty weak property right now had those Japanese cartoons not existed.

 

Obviously Star Wars is king now, but that has more to do with collectors than actual kids. While tons of kids buy Star Wars now, the powerhouse rebirth of Star Wars toys had to do with Hasbro/Kenner cashing in on the reinterest in the films in the late 1990's. It's only been in the last few years that kids really bought into the Star Wars line again as it's finally being marketed to them again. But most of the "kids" who were buying Star Wars when it returned to shelves were kids from the 1970's who are now grown men.

 

Anyway, Joe was undoubtedly the biggest in the 1980's and had more legitmate longevity over a single span of time than any of the other aforementioned properties. It had a retail presence that was unparalleled during those years.

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There is a book called MASTERING THE UNIVERSE by Roger Sweet and David Wecker that says that MOTU earned 1.2 Billion World Wide in its six year run in the 1980's. The Motu DVD Set likes to claim that MOTU was the return to Action Adventure Shows after strick regulation in the1970's, you know the decade of Scooby Doo and GOD AWFUL Superfrieds. I haven't researched GIJOE or Transformers but I've got to stick with MOTU as my first REAL toys.

 

 

now, now, now, thats a bold claim after all GIJOE in 1964 was the real action figure the first one. then came mego with theyre startrek, dc and marvel super heroes, planet of the apes, wizard of oz, buck rogers, super knights, american west heroes, mad monsters, super pirates, ect ect. now those were toys. and i'm only 24 years old, not even born in those times and yet i think they were awesome.

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Just an interesting note as to the Star Wars factor:

 

Star Wars was not cancelled in the mid-80's due to lack of sales. Kenner was still going strong with Star Wars figures right up to the end. The problem was that they'd pretty much made everything (important) from the movies, and were going to have to start making up more stuff (Because the collector market for "obscure cantina alien X" and "character that shows up in the background for two seconds" certainly didn't exist). Lucasfilm decided to end the line rather than (basically) have Kenner make things up as they went along. Kenner was prepared to keep on cranking it out when it was cancelled. Several prototypes and concept drawings of what would've been the next series have snuck out over the years.

 

Anyway, Star Wars may indeed have outsold the later 80's lines in 77-85 alone. But regardless of that Star Wars was really important in the sense that it paved the way for the mega-lines of the 80's.

 

As for the three in the title? I'd say Joe probably wins. It stayed at a higher level of popularity longer. Transformers rapidly dwindled after the movie, and He-Man was already dwindling when the movie hit.

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