Hasbro's Magic the Gathering Could Next Blockbuster Franchise

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hasbro (HAS) has seen success with its Transformers toys on the big screen. Several board game brands owned by the massive toy company haven't fared as well as movies. In a new deal with Twentieth--Century Fox (FOXA), Hasbro will see its card game Magic The Gathering hit the big screen in a potential blockbuster franchise.

Hasbro believes the franchise can be on the scale of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. Now obviously that is some lofty expectations, but the card game does have a loyal following and source material that has appeared in comics, books, and video games. The movie will also be written by Simon Kinberg, who has had success with X-Men movies and is currently writing the reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise.

Hasbro acquired Wizard of the Coast, the previous owner of Magic, in 1999. Wizard of the Coast has also seen success with card games based on Pokemon and Star Wars. In 1999, Hasbro paid $325 million to gain the library of card games.

Hasbro's movie success on the big screen has centered around the Transformers and G.I. Joe. Battleship, the most recent Hasbro related movie was considered a huge box office bust. With a budget of $209 million, the movie fell short with $65 million in domestic box office. In international markets, the movie did see a somewhat impressive $237.6 million in box office revenue.

Hasbro continues to see a larger portion of its overall revenue come from its entertainment and licensing business segment. In the most recent third quarter, entertainment and licensing revenue increased 13% to $48.6 million. While that number trails both North American ($735.6 million) and International ($582.7 million) business segments, it was the biggest percentage gainer. Through the first nine months, entertainment revenue is at $114.7 million. The entertainment segment also normally sees higher operating profit margins than the other two segments.

Hasbro Studios continues to see several of its owned properties picked up for big screen adaptations. There is currently movies in the works based on Ouija, Candy Land, Monopoly, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Tonka. Of course there is a new Transformers movie coming in 2014 as well. Aside from movies, Hasbro continues to see increased revenue and viewership from its joint venture television channel The Hub, owned with Discovery Communications (DISCA). That channel boasts children's shows that have seen a rise in popularity and help cross-promote toys sold by Hasbro.

Back in the 1990s at the height of Magic The Gathering, writers began calling the game "cardboard crack," due to its addictive nature and how it got fans to keep buying cards and playing. If Fox and Hasbro can get this first movie right, they may just have a huge blockbuster franchise. The card game should also see increased sales during the publicity of the movie's shooting and premiere.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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