March 6, 2009, - 10:53 am

“Watchmania” Garbage For Kids: Toys “R” Us Markets “Watchmen” Action Figures, Memorabilia

By Debbie Schlussel
For the last two days, I’ve been getting a ton of e-mails and comments on this site from blind worshippers of the “Watchmen”–I call them, “Watchmaniacs”–that the movie isn’t being marketed to kids. They called me a liar for daring to say so.
Oh, really?
What would you brainiacs say is the target demo for Toys “R” Us? (Yes, I know, the Toys “R” Us site says it’s for ages 18 and up, but it’s not up at the stores. And, hello, it’s Toys “R” Us.)
Hey, Mommy, I want a Comedian action figure. I wanna grow up to be a rapist, chick-beater, and butcher, just like him. Mommy, get me a latex outfit like Silk Spectre, so I can practice being on top.

comedianwatchmen.jpgsilkspectre.jpg

Toys “R” Us Sells Rapist/Murderer “The Comedian” &

Whorish “Silk Spectre” Action Figures to Kids

And my friend, the great John Nolte, movie critic and Editor-in-Chief of Big Hollywood (where I am a contributor), informs me that the “world’s biggest toy store” isn’t just selling the “Watchmen” action figures. He says he’s seen “Watchmen” lunchboxes and thermoses at Toys “R” Us, too.
Hey, Watchmaniacs, who uses lunchboxes? College students? Adults? Not usually.

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30 Responses

Its up to the parents. Its a parents responsibility to monitor what their children watch or buy, period. If a dumb parent wants his little kid to watch Watchmen, it is his right to do so as his parent. Unlike the socialists, I believe the family unit is important, therefore it is up to the PARENT (not the MPAA, or Toys R Us) to be informed about what toys his kid plays with and what movies he watches.

Bergman on March 6, 2009 at 11:40 am

[Bergman – If a dumb parent wants his little kid to watch Watchmen, it is his right to do so as his parent. Unlike the socialists, I believe the family unit is important]
While I normally agree with providing the parents a lot of latitude when making decisions for their family, at some point a line must be drawn. The only question is where to draw the line. There are two situations we must consider:
1) I have an obligation to make sure that the society my children live in (both as children and later as adults) is safe. As Debbie has mentioned, there are studies that show people who watch violence are more likely to commit violence.
2) It is not fair to the child of the dumb parent to be brought up this way. For instance we do not allow parents to deny their children medical care.
Obviously in a free society we must allow activities that will negatively impact on the points I brought up above (a lot more-so for item 2 than item 1). As I mentioned above the only question is where to draw the line.
I have not seen this movie, not only because I trust Debbie’s judgment about the violence but also because I have no interest in this type of movie anyway.
I do, however, have one question. Has a movie ever been given a rating of “NC-71” (What I believe used to be called “X”) simply because of violence? I know it is usually done based on the amount of explicit sexual content. According to the definition of “NC-17” on the Motion Picture Association web site (http://www.mpaa.org/FlmRat_Ratings.asp) the “NC-17” rating can be given for “violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.” However, this does not mean it has actually been done for reasons other than sex.

i_am_me on March 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Maybe I have reading comprehension problems, but Debbie appears to be making one point here: that this movie is marketing its action hero “stars” as action figures to kids. Kind of odd, since the movie’s rating is R.
Of course it’s ultimately up to parents to decide what their kid watches, but we all know that there are parents out there who’s only real claim to parenting is that they provided the reproductive material. After that, any involvement ended.
The deeper issue here is a moral one. Hollywood produces movies like this because the majority of the public will pay to go to it and be “entertained.”
If the buying public would be better “regulators”, then the entertainment industry would start offering different products.

swq on March 6, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I saw the trailer last night on TV, and, other than the dominatrix-like outfit that Spectre wears, it seems like just another superhero movie.
BTW, Batman has a utility belt with crime fighting equipment, but what purpose do garters and stilettos serve?
-Rick

Rick on March 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

The critics went after Debbie for saying she criticized personally but wouldn’t provide proof “The Watchmen” was marketed to kids. She finally does an would an apology be forthcoming to them? Sure, while they’re waiting for Godot’s arrival!
Who takes a kid to see a “R” rated movie? Due to the subject matter, it should been rated “NC-17” but that’s a kiss of death since no family newspaper will run a review of such a movie and no mainstream film critic will review it. So if “The Watchmen” had received the latter ratting, it would have been a dud.

NormanF on March 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I meant from the critics to Debbie. Anyway, just because a movie is a cartoon does NOT mean it is kid-friendly!

NormanF on March 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Well then this proves that the marketing WAS for kids after all.
Come on all you watchmen fans…..WHERE ARE YOU NOW!!??

Squirrel3D on March 6, 2009 at 1:50 pm

[NormanF – Anyway, just because a movie is a cartoon does NOT mean it is kid-friendly!]
You can say that again (and not just about movies).
I used to let my kids watch the Cartoon Channel whenever they wanted to. That stopped several years ago the moment I noticed they were watching Family Guy on the Cartoon Channel. I had to restrict that channel when it started to get late.

i_am_me on March 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Toys r us also stock Grand Theft Auto 4 for the xbox 360 – I certainly wouldn’t expect to see an eight year old walking out of the store with that, clearly labelled as it is with an M rating. Oh, and incidentally the US toys r us website doesn’t feature watchmen lunchboxes, merely the action figures and busts that appeal to the comics enthusiast they are clearly aimed at.
You are lucky enough to live in a country that trusts its parents to be responsible for what they let their children see in the cinema, living in the UK, I am not. I will not be able to take my 17 year old sister to see this movie – surely, as a conservative, you would be against this kind of intervention by the state?

Jack on March 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Um, wrong. Here are some of the other “collectible figures” offered by TOYSRUS. Could you seriously argue that The Big Lebowski was “marketed to kids?”
http://www.toysrus.com/search/index.jsp?kw=collectibles&f=Taxonomy%2FTRUS%2F2254197&f=PAD%2FCharacter+Theme%2FThe+Big+Lebowski&fbc=1&fbn=Character+Theme%7CThe+Big+Lebowski
Puh-leeze.

ohwhynot on March 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Quick and to the point, though not as formatted as my last comment, I hope you appreciate it nonetheless:
(if you read nothing else, please do read my #4, as itís actually a question that I would like you to answer)
(1) These collector’s items are not produced or marketed by Paramount. It’s Toys ‘R’ Us that is buying them and deciding to sell, due to the movie. It’s the toy store’s own attempt to make money – not the movie producer’s attempt to market their movie.
(2) I admit I have not read your entire blog, and I just recently ran across your WATCHMEN posts, however – does Barbie receive the same criticism from you? With her small waist and large breasts? As a horrible roll model for children? What about Cabbage Patch dolls? Since they are large and might hint that child obesity is appropriate?
(3) I must mention that your jab at lunchboxes and thermoses is a little bellow the belt. Iím a college graduate, employed full-time, and while I donít use lunchboxes ñ itís more because I have yet to find one that I want, than the fact that I am above them. However, I am a self proclaimed nerd/geek/dork (the nerdy kind, not the whale penis ñ since I feel you might stab at that if I donít clarify) ñ so I probably donít fit into you boxy standard of ìnormal functioning person,î and the fact that I am a WATCHMEN fan must mean I do nothing for society as well, despite the fact that I am a college graduate, full-time employee, tax paying member of society who, despite the recession, is still spending gloriously in my wee small effort to help the economy.
(4) How do you function in a society in which you have so many problems with it? Do you understand the irony of the fact that the amount that you are fed up, the anger you feel, the need to change things and make a difference – are almost paramount with that of Rorschach? Do we only have to look forward to see you, Ms. Schulssel, in a few years, dressing up and hiding your face so that you might strike down the whores and the politicians? You might as well just say it, and do please quote, because Rorschach says it so well, “The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown.”

AnonIsAnon on March 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I’m not going to go into your hatred of Watchmen, because I know I won’t change your mind and you won’t changed mine. Live and let live.
But I do want to know:
What’s wrong with women being on top?
Why does it bother you so much?

ScalyEquation on March 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm

AnonIsAnon: What’s wrong with women being on top?
Nothing, but why do movies have to be so graphic?
Can’t a couple enter a room, close the door, and leave the rest to the audience’s imagination?
Do you have to see someone’s arm being ripped out of their socket to be scared?
Horror movies and love stories from not so long ago didn’t need to be so graphic to invoke emotions of horror or sex.
Can’t you see how the things we see in movies, mags, and TV shows debase society.
These things used to be shunned and hidden, now they are mainstream.
-Rick

Rick on March 6, 2009 at 6:33 pm

I’m really sorry you think this badly about a movie obviously rated R. Yes, there is marketing to children, but also, if you look in the section the toys are at in toys ‘r us, it’s in the collectable figures section, with seth Mcfarlane, toys, Halo 3, Gears of War. All things marketed to adults and toy collectors. I understand your point of view, but you can’t say that watching a movie is going to cause someone to be a rapist or a whore. Thats just a foolish statement, and rather inflammatory at that. It’s parents responsibility to look after their children. The movie is not marketed to kids, and as a matter of fact, I work at a toy’s r us. Theres no such thing as watchmen lunchboxes, at least not that I’ve seen

twitch on March 7, 2009 at 12:11 am

Do you actually think this proves that Watchmen was marketed toward children? It’s a rated R movie, come on! If you’re going to blog all day about popular culture, maybe you should actually know a little about popular culture. Adults read comic book, and adults collect action figures. Maybe you don’t agree with their interests, but there are many of them out there and the toy companies certainly know it. There are many, many toy lines marketed toward adults.
“What would you brainiacs say is the target demo for Toys “R” Us?” I’d say there are two target audiences for the store, kids and collectors. It’s been this way for years, and if you knew anything about the subject you’re ranting about this would be obvious to you. You see “toy” and a little light goes on in your head that says “My God! They’re pushing rape and murder on innocent children!” It’s just merchandise for comic fans, it’s not a scary Hollywood agenda.
And by the way, I’ve seen these products. Do you know what’s right on the front of the box? A warning that reads “For ages 14 and up.”

Dana on March 7, 2009 at 4:35 pm

@Rick:
What’s wrong with movies that are graphic? What is it about films that are violent or have sex scenes in them? They shouldn’t have to be “shunned and hidden,” as you put it. The fact of the matter is these kinds of things are a part of life — whether they’re depicted explicitly in the media or not. A movie with torture scenes in it doesn’t debase society. The actions of real people — not actors on a screen — debase society.

Fire Starter KD on March 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I’d also like to point out that a bust of Rorschach or Ozymandias priced at $75 is most definitely NOT intended for children, no matter how much you want it to be. No parent that has an ounce of common sense would buy a collector’s item like that for their kid. Kids wear things out and tear them up. They don’t handle things the way a collector’s item ought to be handled, and I can guarantee that no grade school kid will want to buy an action figure just to have it sit on a shelf in his bedroom, still in the box. He wants to play with it. That is a collector’s nightmare.
Not everything Toys R Us sells is strictly for little kids. It’s like survival in the wild — you need more than one demographic to make money off of.

Fire Starter KD on March 7, 2009 at 4:54 pm

“Hey, Mommy, I want a Comedian action figure. I wanna grow up to be a rapist, chick-beater, and butcher, just like him. Mommy, get me a latex outfit like Silk Spectre, so I can practice being on top.”
What child would ever say this? I remember being 5 or so and wanting a Batman action figure. Does this mean I wanted to pummel bad guys to hell and back? NO. It was because he had a cool black suit. And that’s it. Lighten the hell up.

The Comedian on March 8, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Y’know, I bought Dead Rising at Toys ‘R’ Us.
GUESS THAT MEANS IT’S ADVERTISED FOR KIDS!

Rorschach on March 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm

“Action figures” are still dolls.

Tempus Fugit on March 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    “Action Figures” are still dolls? Yea, and so are blow up love dolls.

    DCR on January 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Dana: “What’s wrong with movies that are graphic?”
It desensitizes us to real pain and horror of the scene.
Dana: “What is it about films that are violent or have sex scenes in them? The fact of the matter is these kinds of things are a part of life — whether they’re depicted explicitly in the media or not.”
So is picking one’s nose or a trip to the bathroom. Like sex, it is personal and I don’t want to see either.
Since the 1960’s, violence and sex are more prevalent. In part this is due to then relaxation of standards by the movie/entertainment industry.
That’s a fact.
-Rick

Rick on March 8, 2009 at 8:50 pm

If this movie was marketed towards kids why would it be rated R? The director fought for that rating so it wouldn’t seem like it was for kids. If Toys ‘r’ us wants to sell the collectors items then that’s their choice. Just like others have said, you can find lots of action figures from movies not appropriate for kids there. Let’s face it, you didn’t understand the movie or it’s plot because you weren’t smart enough to comprehend it. You can’t understand that the trailer isn’t marketed to kids because your simple mind says “look, he looks like a super hero! It must be a rated PG-13 super hero movie.” You obviously ignore the loud “RATED R” after the trailer is finished. Also, how many kids do you think have bought joker action figures after the dark knight? Does that mean they want to grow up to be a psycho murderer? NO! It means they think he looks cool or understand he’s popular. They don’t understand the true meaning behind him, because it’s JUST A DOLL! To sum this up “RATED R DOES NOT MEAN IT’S FOR KIDS, IT MEANS IT’S FOR PEOPLE 17 OR OLDER, UNLESS YOUR A MORON LIKE YOURSELF PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND IT’S NOT MEANT FOR THEIR KIDS”

Mat on March 8, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Rick: ……..The poster’s name goes below their post. You’re talking to “Fire Starter KD”.

Dana on March 8, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Debbie fails once again. Toys R Us don’t stock purely for children. Though the majority of their stock is aimed at the younger crowd, they’ve been stocking collectibles for the older crowd for a long time.

johnny_5 on March 9, 2009 at 12:33 am

Dana: The poster’s name goes below their post. You’re talking to “Fire Starter KD”.
Sorry Dana.

Rick on March 9, 2009 at 9:22 am

Rick: If you don’t want to see it, that’s fine. It doesn’t mean a film or a book or what have you should be shunned by the public. Also, the desensitizing thing doesn’t hold water. There is a huge difference between violence on the silver screen and violence in real life. Whenever I hear of a person being raped, beaten, killed, or otherwise assaulted, it sticks with me for a long time. Watching violent movies doesn’t make me just shrug it off and continue on my merry way. For instance, the man in Alabama who went crazy and killed nine people before trying to kill himself bothers me. That whole thing with Jennifer Hudson’s family getting killed in Chicago bothered me. I’m sure things like these bother others, too, regardless of whether or not they watch films like Watchmen.
I don’t know what’s so hard about this. If you don’t like movies like this, then…don’t watch them.

Fire Starter KD on March 11, 2009 at 8:07 am

Lunchboxes? Pics, or you’re just lying.
These figures are also *priced* for adults.
You *DO* know there is a market for this sort of thing, right?

Bill Mogus on March 12, 2009 at 11:40 am

I suppose the other stuff that Toys R Us sells is “for kids” too?
You know, like the elite Mindstorms kits that require a knowledge of C++. Or, the *NITRO GAS POWERED* radio control 1/8th scale trucks that can reach 30MPH REAL SPEED.
Yeah, those are definitely for the 6-10 age set.

Bill Mogus on March 12, 2009 at 11:46 am

Here’s the part where your brain apparently gives up:
The marketing of any movie is handled by companies completely disassociated with the people who actually created said movie. There is little to no communication, and many companies slapping things on merchandise do not even know what the property is about or even have any interest in the film.
Blaming the makers of “Watchmen” for such a thing is like blaming Wal-Mart for stocking books you disagree with. It’s business. It doesn’t have an agenda. It barely has a human element at all.

scythemantis on March 28, 2009 at 5:22 am

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