how does licensing work?

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how does licensing work?

Postby Kaiju_Ultra_Fan » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:49 pm

I'm curious how Neca has the license to Godzilla.

Toho owns Godzilla but they give/sell the rights to make Godzilla figures in the USA to Neca. But Neca needs Toho permission and approval to release any figures and they can't just release whatever they want, right? (Like they can't make the old Marvel Comic version and release it without Toho permission, right?)

Do they pay a lump sum to Toho for the limited rights and then it's a set time like a couple years they can make the figures? Or do they pay a percentage of each figure sold? Or both? How could Toho keep track of how many figures are sold?


I was wondering today if Neca will be releasing a Godzilla Monster Planet figure (which would be neat),...and I started wondering how the whole thing worked, and this board seemed like the best place to ask.

And how come some of the Neca figures like '85 and '94 are discontinued? They only do a limited run of a couple figures and once they're gone they're gone? Because it seems like there's no shortage of the 2001, 2014, 1954, or the Shin 2016 figures. But '85 and '94 are discontinued and the prices for them are a lot higher.

I'm sort of curious how the whole thing works.

I got my first couple of Neca Godzillas this week and they turned out to be a lot better than I was expecting so now I'm curious about their Godzilla line I guess and wondering how it all works.
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby canofhumdingers » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:26 pm

well, it’s not really information that companies freely share (for obvious reasons) so outside of people who actually work on or under these contracts, most answers you get will be educated guesses at best.

From my limited knowledge, I believe they pay a lump sum licensing right for whatever privilege they’re seeking (in this case, to make Godzilla figures). And then they probably also pay a percentage of the sales on top of that. I’m sure NECA (like most manufacturers) has a pretty accurate count of number of units sold. Toho’s cut might be “x” cents per unit sold, or “x” percent of the dollar amount. So, they might get something like 50c per figure sold, or maybe NECA sells $10,000 of figures and Toho gets 5%? But either way, the sales figures are most likely based on the amount NECA sells to retailer (like toys r us or bigbadtoystore) and NOT how many are sold by the stores to consumers. Once it’s on a store shelf, NECA most likely already has their money and it’s up to the store to sell it for their own profit.

Contracts are almost always limited in time by months or years and then they can be renewed, renegotiated, etc.

As for individual figures, Neca probably produce how many they think they can realistically sell. If it sells really well in a short time while it’s still convenient at the factory, they might produce more. Once they’re done and the factory has set up for something else, they’re less likely to go reset the factory and make more of an old figure.

That’s my understanding of things from years of collecting. But I have no direct knowledge and I may be completely wrong about any or all of it.
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby Kaiju_Ultra_Fan » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:15 pm

that makes sense, thanks.

I've been reading today about the Neca Godzilla line and it's sort of ....weird? How they're choosing what to make or not make. And they don't seem to be very fast or forthcoming with,....anything really.

Like Shin makes sense, it's a new movie and it did well so they probably sold a bunch of Shin figures. The blue Nintendo figure?...yeah I don't get that at all,...what a weird choice. Was that something people were really clamoring for?

...that seems like something better suited to be a Lego kit actually.

I couldn't find out any info on anything new coming out,..just some old tweets that said,...'something soon'...but that was a while ago. Hopefully maybe a Monster Planet one. Though another Showa era would be cool too. Probably a repaint slight retooling of Shin to be all 'Atomic Breath' I imagine is in the works also, or maybe a 24" Shin like they did with 2014's Godzilla. They're probably not done with Shin yet since it's popular. ..actually now that I really think about it I bet the next 2 figures would probably be Shin something and Monster Planet, just because they're new.

The Neca Godzilla line seems kind of weird though in a way,..how they're handling some things. But then some old tweets I found they seem to imply their hands are tied by Toho in a way also.


edit: Oh,..any idea what's with all the 'ships from China with no box' auctions that are on eBay? There's a ton of Neca Godzilla figures on eBay that say they're new but don't have a box. Are they counterfeits? Because they're not really any cheaper than the usual priced (in box) Neca Godzillas.
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby canofhumdingers » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:03 am

The video game Godzilla may seem odd if you only follow Godzilla figures. But if you follow other Neca lines, you’d know they do video game style figures with almost all their properties (terminator, Rambo, Batman, ninja turtles, etc.). It’s just another niche they found that sells well to ‘80’s pop culture nerds.

As for figures from China, I don’t specifically know about Neca, but just assume they’re bootlegs and you’ll probably be correct. Especially if they have no packaging. At best they’re factory rejects that were supposed to be tossed out by quality control. But they’re more likely bootlegs.
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby Kaiju_Ultra_Fan » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:13 pm

I did assume they're bootlegs and instead ordered from BBTS. But there's 3-4 other figures I'd like I only see on eBay since they're discontinued.
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby klen7 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:51 am

Disclaimer - i have never worked with Toho or a company that licenses from Toho - this is all stuff from interviews i have seen with Diamond, Neca, IDW, etc - So please correct anything i misrepresent

We have pieced together elements of how Toho has done licensing over the years. It has also changed over the years. For instance IDW referred to two different licenses "Classic Godzilla" and new Godzilla, with the former including everything up to Final Wars. Neca has indicated that while they had the license for their current crop of figures, that the license for Muto and Legendary Godzilla had expired (also indicative of the licensing set up referenced by IDW). (Also, Neca had the license for MUTO but didnt make one?! Arggh!)

There also seems to be a non-compete agreement in a lot of areas which is why we get completely impractical "banks", ornaments, etc. This non-compete is also the reason you will occasionally see people complain about Bandai. X-Plus can only do made to order runs (marketed as garage kits) so as not to compete with Bandai, CAST has to market all their small scale figures as "ornaments" and include an unsightly plastic tag as not to compete with Bandai. etc... Ever wonder why 90% of the X-Plus figures released in the US are from the 30cm line? Apparently the 25cm line is too close in scale to the large Bandai Creations figures (when was the last time we saw a new one of these?) This is fine if you like Bandai... but Bandai sat on the license for a few years, and now that they are active again through Tamashii and Bandai premium they tend to favor Heisei because thats the target audience in Japan. This is also the reason the Y-MSF figures are sold as unpainted in Japan (Bandai 6" competition) and painted in the US (though that may be due to enthusiastic US distributors like Tempting Toys going the extra mile)

If you get into stylized vinyl (sofubi) you will find a lot of event exclusives. This allows small toy makers (1 man shops) to purchase an event license that allows them to sell the figures for 1 or 2 days only! These figures can only be sold at the event (wonderfest, super festival, etc) and are not allowed to be sold directly online. Sunguts is the best Toho example of this with their two recent Shin Godzilla figures.

Also Toho wants final approval on most licensed products which requires a lot of back and forth and frustration. This is one reason you may not see a lot of companies clamoring for the license or renewing the license after a somewhat decent run
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby Kaiju_Ultra_Fan » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:53 pm

that is very interesting, thanks for posting.

..kind of sounds like a headache.

Guess I should get the Neca figures while I can. I've really been digging vinyl and have almost 20 vinyl figures before deciding to try these 2 Neca figures. But now that I'm liking the Neca Godzillas I guess I should make an effort to grab them.

Digging around on Toho Kingdom yesterday looking for Neca info someone posted that Toho isn't letting Neca make a Monster Planet Godzilla,..at least not anytime soon. Which is sort of a bummer as I was hoping that was one of the supposed 2 upcoming figures to be released.

No one seems to have any idea what the next 2 figures will be.

So far I've found Neca made:

54 Godzilla
85 Godzilla
Burning Godzilla (and a green glow in the dark variant)
Video Game Godzilla
94 Godzilla vs Spacegodzilla
01 Godzilla GMK
14 Legendary Godzilla
16 Shin Godzilla

and I think that's all of the ones in the 6" line I was able to find. Though maybe I'm missing some? They all seem to be available though the prices for 94, Burning, Video game, and 85 can really fluctuate.

It's interesting stuff though and I'm glad we've got this option and aren't limited to only SH Monsterarts or Bandai vinyls.


The event exclusives you mentioned is very interesting. I guess that explains some of the weirder ones I've seen.
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby klen7 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:52 am

for that scale that is a pretty complete list aside from the atomic breath GMK repaint

There is also a larger scale G'14 and one of those scaler things. I think they did some hero clix style figures when legendary came out as well
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby Kaiju_Ultra_Fan » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:02 am

yeah I forgot to put the Atomic Breath GMK. And I saw on a toystore site last night that Burning Godzilla (the same one that came out before) it had pre-orders for them and said they were due in March '18. So that's cool since they're kind of expensive on ebay right now whereas the pre-order was the usual price. I think it was like $22.
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Re: how does licensing work?

Postby Kaiju_Ultra_Fan » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:46 pm

yup they posted them on BBTS. They're taking pre-orders for Burning Godzilla 95 and Godzilla 94 vs Spacegodzilla due in March 2018.

I'm psyched! I've been looking at those two online but the prices were sort of crazy (especially for Burning),..but now they're coming back at regular price.

What a great time to be getting into Godzilla again.
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