On their way to stores this summer are Batman Nintendo games, Batman walkie talkies, Batman shirts, robes, pajamas-even Batman boxer shorts-and Batman costumes ranging from $6 vinyl hooded capes to $200-plus Bat wear fashioned along the lines of Michael Keaton's film wardrobe.
* Babar. In terms of movie merchandise, the dark horse of the summer may turn out to be an elephant. "Babar is a 56-year-old classic character who has never really been exploited, until now," notes Stanford Blum, executive vice president of the Toronto-based Nelvana Entertainment. Nelvana ("The Care Bears") plans to open its animated "Babar: The Movie" in 800 theaters nationwide July 28. The company also has a commitment for 65 episodes of HBO's twice-a-week "Babar" series, which debuted April 1.
Nelvana has licensed some 40 U.S. manufacturers and 60 foreign companies to produce a truly elephantine quantity of Babar toys and other goods. Since it views Babar as "a yuppie property," says Blum, the firm began its product launch at department stores on the level of Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus, pushing plush toys (priced at up to a very plush $500), lead crystal, jewelry, linen and other upscale items.