A tie-in work is a work of fiction or other product based on a media property such as a film, video game, television series, board game, web site, role-playing game or literary property. Tie-ins are authorized by the owners of the original property, and are a form of cross-promotion used primarily to generate additional income from that property and to promote its visibility.
Common tie-in products include literary works, which may be novelizations of a media property, original novels or story collections inspired by the property, or republished previously existing books, such as the novels on which a media property was based, with artwork or photographs from the property. According to publishing industry estimates, about one or two percent of the audience of a film will buy its novelization, making these relatively inexpensively produced works a commercially attractive proposition in the case of blockbuster film franchises. Although increasingly also a domain of previously established novelists, tie-in writing has the disadvantages, from the writers' point of view, of modest pay, tight deadlines and no ownership in the intellectual property created.
Tie-in products may also have a documentary or supplemental character, such or "making-of" books documenting the creation of a media property. Tie-in products also include other types of works based on the media property, such as soundtrack recordings, video games or merchandise including toys and clothing.
A novelization is a derivative novel that adapts the story of a work created for another medium, such as a film, TV series, comic strip or video game. Film novelizations were particularly popular before the invention of home video, but continue to find commercial success as part of marketing campaigns for major films. They are often written by accomplished writers based on an early draft of the film's script and on a tight deadline.
Tie-in books are sometimes reprints of novels rebranded to tie in with their film adaptation. As an example, after Roderick Thorp's 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever was adapted into the 1988 film Die Hard , it was retitled Die Hard with the film's poster on the cover. The Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was similarly republished to tie in with Blade Runner , the film loosely based on the book.
A tie-in book linked to a film based on short fiction may be published featuring the adapted story, as well as other stories from the same author; for example, while Stephen King's novella "Apt Pupil" was adapted to the eponymous film, King's collection Different Seasons , which featured the story, was reprinted as Apt Pupil: A Novella in Different Seasons. Similarly, novels were published to tie in with the films Minority Report and Paycheck , featuring Philip K. Dick's original short stories "The Minority Report" and "Paycheck". The official organization linked to writing media tie-ins is the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
Tie-in works may also tell new stories in the form of sequels, prequels and other spin-offs, creating an expanded universe based on the original work; for example, the many books, comics and video games set in an expanded universe based initially on the first Star Wars trilogy. In 2015, the New York Times noted the flourishing market for TV series tie-in novels, coinciding with the increasing cultural significance of quality television series. The increasing number of previously established novelists taking on tie-in works has also been credited with these works gaining a "patina of respectability" after having previously been disregarded in literary circles as derivative and mere merchandise.
Some video games are tie-in licences for films, television series or books.
Video game movie tie-ins are expensive for a game developer to license, and the game designers have to work within constraints imposed by the film studio, under pressure to finish the game in time for the film's release.The aim for the publishers is to increase hype and revenue, as the two industries effectively market one another's releases.
Film license video games have a reputation for being of poor quality;for example, Amiga Power awarding Psygnosis's three film licenses (Dracula, Cliffhanger and Last Action Hero, all reviewed in June 1994) 36% in total; that magazine being cynical towards licensed games in general, with The Blues Brothers being one of the few exceptions. One of the first movie tie-in games, Atari's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) was deemed so bad it was cited as one cause of the video game industry crash. Such poor quality is often due to game developers forced to rush the product in order to meet the film's release date, or due to issues with adapting the original work's plot into an interactive form, such as in the case of the games based on the last two films of the Harry Potter film series, where one reviewer criticised some of the game's missions and side-quests as being unrelated to the film's storyline.
Video tie-in licences for novels tend to be adventure games. The Hobbit (1982) and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are text adventures, whilst I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1995) is a point-and-click adventure and Neuromancer (1988) is a graphic adventure. Action games based on novels are less common ( William Shatner's TekWar (1995), a first-person shooter). Novel tie-ins were published less frequently after the 1990s, with developers only taking risks with stories that had already been licensed for films.
Tie-ins are considered an important part of the revenue-stream for any major media release, and both planning and licensing for such works often begins at the very earliest stages of creating such a property. Tie-ins provide both an important way of generating additional income from a property, and a way of satisfying the desires of fans who enthusiastically support a popular media property.
The lineage of tie-in works can be quite convoluted; for example, a novelization might be done of a video game, which was based on a television series, based on a film, based on a comic book which was the original media property. In several cases, a novelization has been released based on a movie which was in turn adapted from an original novel. In such cases, it is not uncommon to see the novelization and a film release of the original novel side by side on the same shelf.[ citation needed ]
These tie-ins can be considered as forms of "free advertising", as they create more exposure for the media property. Tie-ins need not have a direct association with the property; for example, a particular pizza company can offer coupons that are associated with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, but that specific pizza company itself does not necessarily have to appear in the films. By this association, however, the pizza company is exposed to a bigger audience. If a media property does well, the tie-ins gain that positive exposure as well.
The American fan magazine Photoplay , first published in 1911, originally presented short stories based on popular films of the era. It later adopted a more traditional nonfiction format.
The Adventures of Superman by George Lowther (illustrated by original Superman artist Joe Shuster) was published in 1942.
Some early examples of TV tie-in books are Leave It to Beaver (1960), Here's Beaver! (1961), and Beaver and Wally (1961) by Beverly Cleary.
Digimon, short for "Digital Monsters", is a Japanese media franchise encompassing virtual pet toys, anime, manga, video games, films and a trading card game. The franchise focuses on the eponymous creatures, who inhabit a "Digital World", a parallel universe that originated from Earth's various communication networks.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, sometimes abbreviated to TMNT, is an American media franchise created by the comic book artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It follows Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael, four anthropomorphic turtle brothers trained in ninjutsu who fight evil in New York City. Supporting characters include the turtles' rat sensei Splinter, their human friends April O'Neil and Casey Jones, and enemies such as Baxter Stockman, Krang, and their archenemy, the Shredder.
A sequel is a work of literature, film, theatre, television, music or video game that continues the story of, or expands upon, some earlier work. In the common context of a narrative work of fiction, a sequel portrays events set in the same fictional universe as an earlier work, usually chronologically following the events of that work.
Red Ryder was a Western comic strip created by Stephen Slesinger and artist Fred Harman which served as the basis for a wide array of character merchandising. Syndicated by Newspaper Enterprise Association, the strip ran from Sunday, November 6, 1938, through 1965.
A novelization is a derivative novel that adapts the story of a work created for another medium, such as a film, TV series, stage play, comic book or video game. Film novelizations were particularly popular before the advent of home video, but continue to find commercial success as part of marketing campaigns for major films. They are often written by accomplished writers based on an early draft of the film's script and on a tight deadline.
Middle-earth Enterprises, formerly known as Tolkien Enterprises, is a subdivision of the Embracer Freemode division of Embracer Group and formerly a trade name for a division of The Saul Zaentz Company. The subdivision owns the worldwide exclusive rights to certain elements of J. R. R. Tolkien's two most famous literary works: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. These elements include the names of characters contained within as well as the names of places, objects and events within them, and certain short phrases and sayings from the works.
The Star Trek franchise has produced a large number of novels, comic books, video games, and other materials, which are generally considered non-canon.
VIZ Media LLC is an American entertainment company headquartered in San Francisco, California, focused on publishing manga, distribution and licensing Japanese anime, films, and television series. It was founded in 1986 as VIZ LLC. In 2005, VIZ LLC and ShoPro Entertainment merged to form the current VIZ Media LLC, which is owned by Japanese publishing conglomerates Shueisha and Shogakukan, as well as Japanese production company Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions (ShoPro). In 2017, Viz Media was the largest publisher of graphic novels in the United States, with a 23% share of the market. In 2020, Viz Media saw a 70% growth in the U.S. market, in line with a 43% increase in overall manga sales in the United States the same year.
A film adaptation is the transfer of a work or story, in whole or in part, to a feature film. Although often considered a type of derivative work, film adaptation has been conceptualized recently by academic scholars such as Robert Stam as a dialogic process.
The DC Animated Universe is a shared universe centered on a group of animated television series based on DC Comics and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It began with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and ended with Justice League Unlimited in 2006. Animated feature films and shorts, comic books, video games, and other multimedia adaptations are also in the continuity.
A media franchise, also known as a multimedia franchise, is a collection of related media in which several derivative works have been produced from an original creative work of fiction, such as a film, a work of literature, a television program or a video game. Bob Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, defined the word franchise as "something that creates value across multiple businesses and across multiple territories over a long period of time".
Pirates of the Caribbean is a Disney media franchise encompassing numerous theme park rides, a series of films, and spin-off novels, as well as a number of related video games and other media publications. The franchise originated with Walt Disney's theme park ride of the same name, which opened at Disneyland in 1967 and was one of the last Disneyland attractions overseen by Walt Disney. Disney based the ride on pirate legends, folklore and novels, such as those by Italian writer Emilio Salgari.
Stephen Slesinger was an American radio, television and film producer, creator of comic strip characters and the father of the licensing industry. From 1923 to 1953, he created, produced, published, developed, licensed or represented several popular literary legends of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
Indiana Jones is an American media franchise based on the adventures of Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr., a fictional professor of archaeology, that began in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. In 1984, a prequel, The Temple of Doom, was released, and in 1989, a sequel, The Last Crusade. A fourth film followed in 2008, titled The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A fifth and final film, titled The Dial of Destiny, is in production and is scheduled to be released in 2023. The series was created by George Lucas and stars Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. The first four films were directed by Steven Spielberg, who worked closely with Lucas during their production.
Firefly is an American space Western media franchise created by Joss Whedon and produced by Mutant Enemy Productions. The franchise includes the TV series Firefly, the film Serenity, and other media.
The works of Robert E. Howard (1906–1936) have been adapted into multiple media, the most famous being the Conan films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In addition to the Conan films, other adaptations have included Kull the Conqueror (1997) and Solomon Kane (2009). In television, the anthology series Thriller (1961) led the adaptations with an episode based on the short story "Pigeons from Hell." The bulk of the adaptations have, however, been based on Conan with two animated and one live action series. Multiple audio dramas have been adapted, from professional audio books and plays to LibriVox recordings of works in the public domain. Computer games have focussed on Conan, beginning with Conan: Hall of Volta (1984) and continuing on to the MMO Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (2008). The first table-top roleplaying game based on Howard's works was TSR's "Conan Unchained!" (1984) for their game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The first comic book adaptation was in the Mexican Cuentos de abuelito - La reina de la Costa Negra #8 (1952). Howard-related comic books continued to be published to the present day. Howard is an ongoing inspiration for and influence on heavy metal music. Several bands have adapted Howard's works to tracks or entire albums. The British metal band Bal-Sagoth is named after Howard's story "The Gods of Bal-Sagoth."
Disney's Animated Storybook is a point-and-click adventure interactive storybook video game series based on Walt Disney feature animations and Pixar films that were released throughout the 1990s. They were published by Disney Interactive for personal computers for children ages four to eight years old. Starting from 1994, most of the entries in the series were developed by Media Station. They have the same plots as their respective films, though abridged due to the limited medium.
Anastasia: Adventures with Pooka and Bartok is a Fox Interactive puzzle video game based on the 1997 animated film Anastasia. Released on November 25, 1997, it was produced by David Wisehart. Wisehart also served as voiceover director. The game had an estimated budget of US$800,000.
A licensed game is a video game developed as a tie-in for a franchise in a different media format, such as a book, film or television show. Like other types of tie-ins, they are generally intended as a form of cross-promotion in order to generate additional revenue and visibility. The poor quality of licensed games, which were rushed to meet unrealistic deadlines, nearly caused the collapse of the video game industry during the video game crash of 1983, and they have historically been regarded as inferior to original IPs. Nevertheless, there are numerous examples of well-regarded licensed games, and the rise of video games as a cultural force in their own right have resulted in tie-in titles of significantly higher production values and quality.
The dictionary definition of tie-in at Wiktionary