Christian Stores Battle for Narnia Sales
By George Anderson
Christian retail stores are looking to today’s release of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” with great anticipation as the film is expected to be a blockbuster, spurring sales of Narnia books and related merchandise.
The film and the best-selling fantasy book series written by C.S. Lewis includes numerous references to Christianity and Christian themes. Nearly 100 million Narnia books have been sold since it was first published.
Many are predicting that Narnia will have an even greater impact on Christian store sales than Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.” While many younger movie goers did not see Mr. Gibson’s film because of its brutal depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus, the Narnia film will be both kid- and adult-friendly.
Zondervan, a publisher of religious books, is responsible for supplying Christian stores with Narnia merchandise.
Doug Lockhart, president and CEO of Zondervan, told The Associated Press, “The core target audience is in the 5-12 range, but the audience for ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ is of all ages.”
“It has been a very stable franchise but with the exposure that has been associated with this upcoming movie release, the sales have taken a dramatic increase, multiple times,” he said.
Retailers and suppliers are getting behind the Narnia push in a big way. Many stores have set up large displays to stop shoppers in the aisles and the Munce Group, described as a marketing group representing 610 Christian store independents, is running a display contest for retailers.
Kirk Blank, chief operating officer of Munce Group, said some retailers are renting theaters and giving away tickets to private showings of the movie. He anticipates another surge in Narnia business when “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is released on DVD.
Moderator’s Comment: How big is the overall Narnia retail opportunity? Does it provide Christian retailers with an opportunity to bring new consumers
to their stores? –
George Anderson – Moderator