May the stuff be with you, movie fans


If ever a summer has proved whiz-bang wonderful for memorabilia collectors, it's this one.

This weekend, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, is squaring off against the hit movie Spider-Man. Movie theater chains will praise the gods for thinking up these moneymakers. But the real winners will be merchandisers and collectors.

Retailers report brisk business for anything related to these two movies, especially Spider-Man.

"Star Wars is doing OK. But Spider-Man stuff is blowing off the shelves - toys, comics, trade paperbacks, older issues, statues, whatever they can get their hands on," says Andrew Grieco, owner of Collector's Clubhouse in Pompano Beach, Fla.

The eBay Web site has also seen a big increase in activity.

There were 16,000 Spider-Man related items on eBay late last week, an increase from 10,000 just a few days earlier. (Just the left glove piece from Spider-Man's costume is going for $6,900. But it's framed.)

By contrast, the five Star Wars movies are responsible for 37,224 items listed.

In the case of Attack of the Clones, however, too much hype over the last Star Wars movie, 1999's critically panned Episode I: The Phantom Menace, apparently led to a rapid and steep drop in merchandise sales then and prompted a bit more restraint this time out.

"They overdid the merchandising," Grieco explains.

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