Though the film has top billing from Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista, the real hero of the Guardians of the Galaxy is evidently the smallest one.
Voiced by Bradley Cooper, Rocket Raccoon came away as the star character in the sci-fi adventure film and is poised to become a star for Marvel's merchandising.
According to The Wrap, with a strong opening weekend, many analysts predict audiences are walking out talking about the snarky, talking raccoon.
"You can never fully predict a breakout character, but we knew he was funny and that kids especially would respond to him, since, like many kids, he is underestimated because of his size," Paul Gitter, senior vice president of licensing for Marvel, Disney Consumer Products, said.
"Rocket is unlike anything we have in Marvel merchandise, and licensees have risen to the expected demand with a range of Rocket-inspired products."
Chris Byrne, a toy industry expert, predicts Guardians of the Galaxy will try to appeal to both kids and adults demographics. And while it may not earn the $482 million merchandising haul of the first Transformers, Byrne says the Guardians should do good business, especially Rocket.
Marvel has licensed plush dolls, 12-inch action figures, action masks and toy weapons; adult collectors are being wooed with six-inch figurines, vinyl figurines, bobblehead dolls and statues. Legos, branded headphones and backpacks with hoods and tails should attract both age groups as well.
Disney sold $40.9 billion in licensed merchandise in 2013, and as Byrne notes, consumer goods are often developed in concert with film and TV properties.
Guardians of the Galaxy is now in theaters.