Before the 1970s, movie merchandising was in its infancy, but then George Lucas changed everything. He negotiated to have his fee cut for writing and directing Star Wars - in return for the merchandising rights.
Lucas set up his own film studio on the back of the phenomenal sales of everything from action figures to lunch boxes and light sabers, and set movies on a whole new path to profitability. Now it's unheard of for a major blockbuster to hit the cinema without its own action figures, t-shirts, cereals, fancy dress, games and apps.
The top ten movies and movie franchises that made the most on merchandising makes for interesting viewing.
10. Unsurprisingly, Cars made a small fortune. Toy cars were already such a childhood staple that adding faces and personalities was never going to hurt - especially when it meant children would want to collect them all.
9. Despicable Me was always going to make a fortune when you could plaster Minions on anything and make children adore them. Then, of course, there's the soft toy potential for the yellow fellows - and the odd fluffy unicorn - which has pushed sales even higher.
8. Transformers actually started life as a toy line in the 1980s, so unsurprisingly the live action franchise has spawned even more of them. Some would argue that these films are effectively 90 minute long toy adverts.
7. Toy Story was a gift to merchandise manufacturers, given that the main characters are already toys that we're desperate to own. The franchise also gave Mr Potato Head a new lease of life after being consigned to toy history for decades.
6. Harry Potter merchandise appeals to children and adults fans alike. Once you've invested in wands and robes, you can pop to Orlando or Watford for more of the experience, and boost the franchise's money-spinning potential at every step.
5. Batman is something of a toy fan himself, so it's no surprise that the franchise created such demand from fans who wanted the same gadgets and gizmos - as well as their own action figure so they could recreate the odd epic battle.
4. Jurassic Park tapped into the never-ending childhood fascination with dinosaurs. The movie enabled kids to splash out on their own herd of dinosaurs for a showdown in the toybox.
3. Frozen breathed new merchandising life into the Disney princess lines. Everything from Olaf toys and games to Ana and Elsa outfits and accessories have been on Christmas and birthday lists since the film first emerged, and shows no sign of abating.
2. Marvel has been around - and spawning action figures - for years. The new films have meant many more ranges of the toys - as well as their own fancy dress costumes, backpacks and clothing lines. The never-ending stream of characters means there's always something new to collect, so the cash keeps rolling in.
1. Star Wars was the first and remains the most lucrative of them all. The franchise is top of the pile - and isn't set to go anywhere with the new films promoting another spike in the sales of light sabers and action figures. Clearly no collection is complete without a BB8 or a Rey nowadays.
Crazy inventions you need now
Top ten movies that made a fortune from merchandising
For those days when you can’t beat a game of ping pong but can’t be bothered to bring the table down from the loft, why not try the ping pong door from Tobias Fräenzel?
It’s a fully-functioning door, but when you need a spot of pinging and ponging you can flip it down to form a table. Houzz.com has it on offer for 990 euros. Just don't ask how people get through the doorway while you're playing.
Some people think that babies are nothing but hard work, and that you spend your life clearing up after them. But those people haven’t discovered the baby mop - a baby-gro with cleaning pads attached, so your loved one can clean as he or she crawls. It’s never to early to have them do their bit around the house. The baby-gro is on sale at Firebox.com for £29.99
Strolling around with a baby in a buggy is all very well and good, but what if you're tired of strolling, or you're in a hurry?
If you need to speed things up then inventor Valentin Vodev has the answer, with the scooter/buggy hybrid. So far the prototype is not on the market, but surely it can only be a matter of time.
Just think of all those hours you wasted making paper planes by folding them. Now you can cut the process down to less than a second with this paper plane gun, which makes the planes inside and fires them for you.
The gun itself was made with the genius of one man and the aid of a 3D printer, and it’s going to change the world of paper planes forever - once it gets beyond the prototype stage.
It's one of life's great questions. How can you carry an umbrella and a cup of coffee - and still be able to open doors?
Step forward the umbrella cup holder from Korea, with a nifty cup holder in the handle of the brolly that will leave your other hand spare for the other great challenges in life.
Eating lunch at your desk is never a delight. However, when you’ve packed a salad or soup and no cutlery it can make the whole process into a lunchtime nightmare.
Fortunately some clever soul has invented the ink pen cap eating utensils. Just keep them in your drawer, attach the knife, fork or spoon head to your pen, and you have a brilliant eating utensil.
Just don't ask why you can't just keep plastic cutlery in your drawer instead.
For anyone who has ever wondered where their pet goes all day - or whose animal has a habit of wandering off - fear not because now you can track it.
The G-Paws GSP tracker fits on their collar so that no matter where they roam, you can easy track them down. Firebox.com also points out it’s handy for tracking a trail of destruction, or for keeping tabs on your dog walker too.
Are you sick of your packed lunch going missing from the office fridge? Well those horrors could soon be a thing of the past with the theft deterrent sandwich bags.
For just $4.99 you can get a plastic sandwich bag with fake mould printed onto it. Those green splodges will mean that no matter how light-fingered your colleagues are, they’ll keep their hands off your lunch.
You might have thought that dogs are capable of getting wet and just shaking it off, but if you're worried that your pampered pooch is suffering, you can invest in a dog umbrella.
These are held by the owner, with an upside-down shade to hold over your dog in inclement weather. These bargains are available for $8.99 on Amazon.com.
Have you ever wondered who these people are with the time and patience to make their own sushi? Well now you can be one of them - but without the time and patience - because the sushi bazooka will make it for you.
Just load the gun with the rice and top with your filling, then seal it and squeeze. The sushi gun will then fire out a perfectly formed sushi roll. Your eating habits will be transformed for just £19.99 from Firebox.com