From the LATimes.
When it comes to sequels, "Cars 2" flies in the face of conventional Hollywood calculus. Its predecessor was the least well-reviewed of Pixar Animation Studios' 11 movies and among its poorest performers at the box office — at least, by the premier animation studio's sterling standards.
One attribute distinguishes "Cars" from most other films: it sparked a licensing bonanza that continued to fuel merchandise sales long after Lightning McQueen, Mater and the movie's other anthropomorphic autos rolled out of the megaplex. So animators at the Walt Disney Co.-owned studio got the green light to take a few more laps around the track — and introduce hundreds of new plane, train, boat and automobile characters — with "Cars 2," which opens in theaters this Friday.
"This is not the movie that you would expect Pixar to make a sequel of — yet they are," said Doug Creutz, a media analyst for Cowen and Co. "And the reason is it was a massive licensing success."
In the five years since its 2006 release, "Cars" has generated global retail sales approaching $10 billion, according to Disney. That ranks the Pixar film alongside such cinematic merchandising standouts as "Star Wars," "Spider-Man" and "Harry Potter," as well as its own paean to playthings, "Toy Story," according to researcher NPD.
No fewer than 300 toys — and countless other items, including bedding, backpacks and SpaghettiOs — are rolling out in stores, in anticipation of the "Cars 2" opening.
The article is good since it shows the many ways a franchise can make money. Here is an example from the article.
It's a really interesting read as it gives the avarage person a rare glimpse into how a franchise can make money and prosper.
"The toy sales have actually gone up every year since the movie came out, and that's all over the world," Lasseter said in an interview. "The products are really a manifestation of the love of those characters ... and are a way that collectors, kids, families, can have the characters be with them beyond the boundary of the film."