Moviegoers will get their first chance to see "Cars 3" when it hits theaters on June 16, but they can start buying apparel and accessories June 9.
In one of its more unusual collaborations, Disney has partnered with Sportie LA to open a pop-up shop adjacent to the retailer's main store on Melrose Avenue. Running through Father's Day June 18, the Sportie LA x Cars 3 "Fashion Pit Stop" will feature products from Cars 3 x Nascar collection by Fanatics, Illest, LA Rocks, Members Only, New Balance, Sphero, Pop Shoes, NCLA, Ipanema and Richer Poorer.
Josh Silverman, executive vice president of global licensing for Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, said the retailer aesthetic was a good fit and offered a gateway to a generation of fans who grew up watching "Cars" — both children and adults. "Sportie LA is an L.A. institution, they're well-known sneaker heads for their on-trend offerings. They're very much at the genesis of the hip culture," he said.
Despite a reported $56.6 billion in 2016 consumer product sales, senior brass is counting on Disney Pixar's "Cars 3" to help ramp up fiscal-year 2017 business. In a second-quarter earnings call last month, Disney's senior executive vice president and chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said, "We still expect strong growth in the second half, and it will be driven by two very important IP franchises: 'Cars' and 'Spider-Man.'"
The original "Cars" raked in more than $242 million at the box office following its 2006 release — more than doubling its production budget. In 2011, "Cars 2" rang up $191.4 million, falling short of its $200 million production budget. For the third one, the limited-edition products are meant to relay the film's action-packed, "road warrior" aesthetic, borrowing from signature "Cars" colors and themes.
Silverman said of the collaboration, "We've really curated an adult style audience with a lot of our co-brand partners Members Only, New Balance, Fanatics, Illest, LA Rocks, Sphero. It's much more about creating the experience and the consumer touch point for our fans."
None of the brands will be featured in the animated film in any way. Singling out a Members Only jacket and an Illest T-shirt as personal favorites, Silverman said, "We strive to extend the story.…The story that you'll see in this amazing film will then be brought to life with the products, whether it's fashion in co-branded apparel, dye-cast toy cars or any number of categories within the border program. We really feel we have products that connect with our fans of all ages, as well as adults and car culture fans.
Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Lewis Hamilton, Larry the Cable Guy and other talent that provided the voice-overs for the animated flick may receive gift bags with the specialized merchandise — whether or not they choose to wear any of these items at the upcoming promotional events is up to them.
To try to entice shoppers, special event will be held intermittently at the 2,100-square-foot Melrose Avenue location such as the June 14 Sneaker Tune Up. Shoppers are encouraged to bring in their kicks for a complimentary cleaning by Jason Markk.