NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- We've all wished we could buy the fictional products featured in movies and TV shows. How much would you pay for K.I.T.T., the talking car from Knight Rider? Or for Marty McFly's hoverboard in the Back to the Future sequels? And we know some gun enthusiasts would pay a pretty penny for the ZF-1, the all-in-one gun from The Fifth Element.For the most part, movie buffs can only dream of making such purchases. But occasionally a fictional product from a movie or TV show will cross over into the real world. A few companies now specialize in cutting licensing deals with movie studios and other entertainment companies to make props into real-life products. Here are a few of our favorites.
|Nike has made a limited run of 1,500 of the shoes from Back to the Future II -- or as close to the famed Nike Mags as it could, given the limitations of current technology.|
Movie: Back to the Future II
The first sequel in the trilogy saw Marty McFly travel to the year 2015, a time of flying cars, hoverboards, self-drying clothes ... and shoes with power laces. That future footwear has long been coveted by fans of the series, and earlier this year Nike ( NKE) finally made it happen. Rather than sell them in stores, though, the company did a limited run of 1,500 of the shoes and auctioned them off on eBay ( EBAY), with the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Sadly, the most futuristic feature, the power laces, was not feasible for the shoes, with the company explaining that the technology won't be available until 2015. Kwik-E-Mart
Movie: The Simpsons Movie
When the denizens of Springfield need a quick cup of coffee or a bite to eat, they stop by Kwik-E-Mart, the convenience store run by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. So in the run-up to the long-awaited film adaptation to The Simpsons, Fox ( NWS) hit on the brilliant idea of transforming 11 real-life 7-Eleven stores into Kwik-E-Marts. The stores even sold fictional items from the show, including Buzz Cola and Krusty-Os. Tru Blood
Show: True Blood
In the fictional universe of HBO's hit series True Blood, the world's vampires have "come out of the coffin" after an invention that allows them to co-exist with humans: Tru Blood, a synthetic form of blood. To promote the show, HBO teamed up with Omni Consumer Products, a company that specializes in licensing and "defictionalizing" products (appropriately, the company is named after the evil corporation from the Robocop films). The result was a sweet, tangy beverage that looks like blood and comes in a bottle identical to the ones served at Merlotte's and Fangtasia in the show. Pete Hottelet, who founded Omni, says the company has started producing plastic versions of the bottles, which should expand the number of stores in which the drink appears. And in a twist, the show has started using his bottles in filming, and has even used the beverage itself as prop blood in some scenes. In other words, this is a product that crossed over from a TV show into reality, then crossed back into the TV show.
The cult film Idiocracy imagines a bleak future in which the human race has been bred down to a race of idiots. Prominently featured is Brawndo ("the thirst mutilator!"), a spoof on sports drinks touted for its high levels of electrolytes. The company's advertising has even convinced humanity that Brawndo's "got what plants crave," and it buys the U.S. Department of Agriculture when the government agency tried to correct the assertion. The result: a widespread famine as crops irrigated with Brawndo die off. Omni also produced Brawndo, complete with hilariously over-the-top commercials ("Drinking Brawndo is like driving an ice cream truck full of angry bees through a petting zoo!" one ad declares). Unfortunately, Brawndo is no longer widely available, as Hottelet says negotiations with Fox to renew the licensing deal for another year fell apart. The Leg Lamp
Movie: A Christmas Story
As a Christmas movie, this one features plenty of products, including a BB gun capable of shooting a child's eye out. But the highlight was this garish lamp, declared by Ralphie's father as a "major award." And now it can be yours: It's available for purchase at RedRiderLegLamps.com, a site dedicated to selling merchandise related to the film. The 50-inch lamp doesn't come cheap: The lamp alone costs $190, and if you want it in the wooden crate seen in the movie, the whole thing will run you $478. Hey, it's a major award. Cheesy Poofs
Show: South Park
"I love Cheesy Poofs; you love Cheesy Poofs; If we didn't eat Cheesy Poofs, we'd be lame." -- Eric Cartman Cartman's beloved snack has become a reality. In celebration of the 15th season of South Park (yes, the show has been on the air that long), Comedy Central teamed up with Frito-Lay to produce 1.5 million bags of the snack. It went on sale at Wal-Marts ( WMT) around the country last month for $2.99 a bag, though Comedy Central says last weekend was it's final days on the shelves. Romulan Ale
Show: Star Trek
Worf: "Romulan Ale should be illegal." Geordie: "It is." The crew of the USS Enterprise doesn't do much partying, but when they do, this blue booze -- a potent concoction capable of waylaying a Klingon warrior -- tends to be their drink of choice. At one time it was produced as an actual beer by Cerveceria La Constancia, a subsidiary of SABMiller ( SAB). But as far as we can tell it's no longer on the market, which probably has something to do with the fact that it's not a very good beer -- it got close to the lowest possible score on RateBeer. The good news is that there's also a canned version that's actually an energy drink. Produced by Boston America, another company that specializes in licensing movie and TV properties, you can grab a 24-pack on Amazon for $45. Make it so!
In Anchorman, this coveted cologne is illegal in nine countries, made with bits of real panther and has a smell that's been variously described as "pure gasoline," "a diaper full of Indian food" and "a turd covered in burnt hair." In real life it's another creation of Omni Consumer Products, and Hottelet insists the smell is actually more reminiscent of "cedar and sandalwood." In fact, he says he often wears it himself. It can be bought on Amazon for $35 a bottle. That may seem a little steep, but there's no doubt it's effective: It's said that 60% of the time, it works every time. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Movie: The Mighty Ducks
The 1992 Disney ( DIS) movie and its sequels did for youth hockey what Jurassic Park did for archaeology. So it's probably no surprise that the movie spawned a real-life hockey team to cash in on the craze. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks were founded by Disney a year after the hit movie came out in theaters, and have played all their games at the Honda Center, just down the road from Disneyland. Crazily enough, the team's original logo -- a retro goalie mask in the shape of a duck's head -- was later used as the fictional team's jersey in the sequel, D2. Talk about corporate synergy. While naming a team after a kid's movie seems like a novelty act, the team has actually been fairly successful, boasting stars such as Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya and Chris Pronger. After Disney sold the team in 2005, it changed its name to the more dignified-sounding Anaheim Ducks, and promptly won a Stanley Cup. The Willy Wonka Candy Co.
Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory One of the original examples of defictionalization, the Willy Wonka brand launched alongside the debut of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the film adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And while it hasn't been able to offer the full range of magical products featured in the book and movie -- there's no three-course-dinner gum, we're sad to report -- it does sell the Everlasting Gobstopper. The brand was bought by candy giant Nestle in 2005. If you need evidence this sort of thing has blurred the line between fiction and reality, just check out the Nestle frequently asked questions page, where the company has been forced to clarify that it does not, in fact, give tours of the Willy Wonka candy factory. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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