Why Hollywood’s Big Money Love Affair With Pinball Has Never Been Hotter : Forbes.com
Hollywood is back in love with pinball and TV and film studios are falling over themselves to get a piece of the action.
From celebrity clients willing to pay $500 thousand, to blockbuster licenses and competitive tournaments where serious money changes hands, pinball has never been hotter.
I caught up with Jody Dankberg, Director of Marketing at Stern Pinball, at San Diego Comic-Con to find out more about why everyone from Metallica to Marvel to AMC’s The Walking Dead wants in, which licenses are the big ticket items and which celebrities love to play, invest in and collect the machines.
Simon Thompson: What are the licenses that you find the most appealing to create and appeal most to customers and players?
Jody Dankberg: We like the big intellectual properties, we like the A+ licenses and there are a lot of reasons why we do. One reason is that we sell all over the world, we sell half of our product outside of America, so we need things that are popular in Europe, the U.K., Australia and South America as well as the U.S.A.. Another thing it does is give us a story to build on, it gives us good versus evil. It gives us soundtrack, it gives us speech, it gives us all these cool things to incorporate into a fun game. The third thing it does is that it gets us out of our ivory towers as pinball people and allows us to work with all kinds of cool shows like Game of Thrones and cool people, whether that’s artists or movie directors. When we did The Walking Deadwe got to work with Greg Nicotero who, being an awesome monster maker, even offered to make the sculptures in the game for us. So, for many reasons, licenses are really important to us.
Thompson: How much does a machine cost?
Dankberg: It’s a little bit cheaper than a car but it’s more expensive than a loaf of bread. It can be anywhere from between $5 thousand to $8 thousand here in America. What were are seeing is not only a resurgence of people putting them in their homes but also a resurgence of pinball on the street. That is really important to us because if pinball isn’t available to play in an arcade or a bar or wherever then people aren’t going to have fond memories of it and they’re not going to want to collect it in the future. We have to keep putting them out there so people will want to collect them.
Thanks to Forbes.com and Simon Thompson for the article and pictures