'Spader-man' prowls Hong Kong's streets
HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- As Spider-Man ensnares cinema screens in Hong Kong, unofficial merchandise is hitting the streets.
Sets of Spider-Man action figures arrived this week in the downtown district at the heart of Hong Kong's shopping frenzy, just a short walk away from movie theaters.
For HK$39 ($5.00), you get the bad guy and four Spider-Man toys: Spidey regular, Spidey with suction cups, underwater Spidey, and Spidey with metal-look grapplers.
"Ages 3 and Up," the box says. But "Spader-Man" is sure to grab the imagination of any kid, however old.
Yes, look a little closer, innocent Hong Kongers, and be afraid. That's not Spider-man -- it's Spader-man!
'Sometimes they change the spelling a bit'
The box blares "Spader-Man Unmatched," and "Collect All these Spader-Man Figures!" Inside, the merchandise says "Spider-man."
"Sometimes they change the spelling a little bit and so on," said Richard Law, spokesman with the Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department's intellectual-property investigation bureau.
"Whether it is infringing their copyright is up to the copyright owner," he said.
For Spider-Man, that's Marvel Characters Inc. Companies like Marvel and Columbia Pictures, the movie's studio, have investigators who sweep the streets for copyright, like customs.
Copyright cases generally land as civil suits. That means serving the alleged counterfeiter, which can be tough. (More on piracy)
It says "Made in China" on the Spader-Man box, but it does not say Marvel.
A surprisingly large hit
With a May 3 debut, Spider-Man: The Movie was the first film to take $100 million over opening weekend. Marvel expects it to gross $800 million worldwide this year.
Hollywood was surprised, and director Sam Raimi brought the hit in for some $125 million. Movie critics praise the film as a dose of decent popcorn fun -- a cartoon-based film filled with rock, stars and pop.
Following it into the movie theaters is "Star Wars: Episode II," on global release Thursday. That means another marketing blitz, and the pirates will be ready to rip it off.
Spider-Man merchandise is for sale everywhere, through the official Web site, from Sony. Marvel says there are licenses "for every conceivable product category."
So every thief, robber, pirate and all-around bad guy knows to look out for Spider-Man. But you have to have eyes in the back of your head.
Watch out. Here comes the ... Spader-Man.
Hong Kong's new look blues
March 22, 2002
Maybe baby? Maybe later in Hong Kong
April 20, 2002
HK's chattering movie-goers face the jammer
April 11, 2002
Asia not exactly ape over 'Apes'
Piracy: what can you do?
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
BUSINESS TOP STORIES:
Korea tops gains, BOJ gets new chief
Japan taps Fukui as new BOJ chief
Woolworths posts strong profit rise
Currency pressure hits BHP result
Heads roll at Ahold
|Back to the top|