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Is Turtle Mania Headed For Another Collapse?

Before anyone gets the idea that I’m being a little too harsh on the film or the video game that just recently came out, please understand that I actually really enjoy both titles. I’m here to report the news as it happens, and the fact is that we’re not seeing a lot of love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right now. The Nickelodeon series isn’t seeing the same viewership as it once did and nothing else related to the franchise seems to be selling very well. Out of the Shadows wasn’t the only TMNT property that has flopped recently, and all of this could be indicative of a disturbing trend.

Image from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. Source: Platinum Games, Activision
Image from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. Source: Platinum Games, Activision

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were literally everywhere; they were in our comic books, television shows, movies, video games and more. Over the last few years, the brand has seen a remarkable resurgence thanks to Viacom’s purchase of the property. Once they bought the rights to the TMNT, they immediately began work on a brand new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series which was released alongside an entirely new line of toys in 2012. Shortly after both proved successful, we saw a film hit theaters in 2014. Dozens of toys and collectibles have lined the shelves in response to the resurgence of a craze that was once known as Turtle Mania.

Sadly, sales are beginning to dwindle and it would appear that the problem may be very similar to what happened in the mid 90’s. At some point during the original craze of Turtle Mania, the market had become saturated with so many Ninja Turtles products that they couldn’t all compete for shelf space or the consumer’s dollar. We’re starting to see that happening again now, and not just in the form of box office failure or poor reviews for the new video game. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look at how the latest TMNT clothing line is doing in the market.

The TMNT X Melo clothing line isn't doing too well, as it's already hit the clearance rack. Source: NYP
The TMNT X Melo clothing line isn’t doing too well, as it’s already hit the clearance rack. Source: NYP

Carmelo Anthony’s TMNT X Melo line was set to be the next hot product in Macy’s stores across the country. Mere weeks after its launch, the brand is already on the clearance rack for 40% off original retail price. Considering that these items were originally designed to be affordable in the first place, this doesn’t bode well for the clothing line and it is indicative of a problem we are seeing in several different places when it comes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If Out of the Shadows can’t make bank at the theater and the new game Mutants in Manhattan can’t impress its audience, which TMNT property will be the next to fail?

Thankfully, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is still popular enough to bring in a lot of viewers and many of the toys still seem to be selling pretty well. However, we appear to be nearing that same saturation point that sent Turtle Mania spiraling into mediocrity late in the 1990’s, and that could spell disaster for the franchise. I’m genuinely hopeful that this won’t happen, but with so many new products hitting the market soon, it’s important to ask whether or not consumers are just getting sick and tired of the Ninja Turtles again.

Did the world really need these transforming turtles? I hate to be the Tom Hanks character in the classic movie Big, but I don’t get it. You know I’ll never tire of these heroes in a half shell, and I’m sure most of my readers feel the same way. That being said, it saddens me to see so much failure surrounding the turtles when they just as easily could have owned this summer. I sincerely hope that my fears are unfounded, because I definitely don’t want to see this collapse happen again any time soon.

Are you worried that we may be nearing the end of this latest resurgence of Turtle Mania? Have these latest failures been indicative of a turn in the market, or are we reading into these events too much? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or via facebook/twitter.

The Author

Justin W

Justin W

My name is Justin Wren and I love to write about the TMNT! I've been a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan since the late 80's. Back then, I would watch the original animated series and play with the Playmates toys all the time. I have been following the boys ever since I was a kid, and I'm very happy to see them back in the limelight after all these years. Needless to say, I'm proud to be a member of the team on this awesome TMNT Fan Site!

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