Zombies Worth Over $5 Billion to Economy

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Conventions, Events and Walks
> Zombie economy: $10 million

A zombie walk? It is exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of adults and kids paying to dress up as the walking dead and walk with a crowd of make-believe zombies — usually to raise money for a cause. Almost every major city in America now has zombie walks, and some cities have more than one. There have even been some zombie runs. Better yet, zombie pub crawls.

If you can imagine it, there are colleges around America having zombie events and even lectures on the zombie theme. In October, there was ZomBCon in Seattle, a convention dedicated to the undead, with all that a convention has to offer: booths, a horror film fest, celebrity signings, lectures and a prom night party ball. There are also haunted houses. A combined value for all these activities of $10 million may be extremely understated.

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Merchandise
> Zombie economy: $50 million

Zombie merchandise is endless and includes tee-shirts, coffee mugs, torn limbs, hats, bumper stickers, even iPhone cases. CafePress.com has ready-to-order zombie merchandise. In fact, Cafe Press noted on the zombie theme “16,600 zombie gift designs on 411,000 products.” eBay listed 73,594 listing results for “zombie” among its clothing, costumes, comics, trading cards, toys, books, and yard segments. There are even zombie firing range targets from zombietargets.com. It is difficult to assess the value of all of the zombie merchandise out there, but there has to be at least $50 million.

The Digital World
> Zombie economy: $10 million

There are countless zombie-themed websites out there, particularly if you include social media sites. Some of these websites are mere discussion boards, and some are large stores trying to resell other existing products. Then there are those websites dedicated to the zombie genre that are very cleverly put together.

Facebook’s The Walking Dead fan page has more than 3.5 million “likes” and it had more than 719,000 listed as “talking about this.” Resident Evil has over 3.1 million “likes” and Zombieland has over 2.4 million “likes.” The Facebook page Zombies for zombie movie genre themes has more than 200,000 “likes.” Calculating the value of a bunch of websites is no easy task (ahem), particularly if you include the stores and the social media sites out there that promote other businesses or themes around zombies and the undead. Is $10 million for this entire group of websites an unreasonable number? It is probably yet another gross understatement when you include the e-commerce sites.

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Music
> Zombie economy: $10 million

Musicians love the zombie theme. There is a band called The Zombies, and there is the much more famous Rob Zombie. What about the song “Zombie” by The Cranberries? Those may all be named zombie but not truly zombie themed. Still, Pittsburgh has “Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera,” which have run elsewhere as well. Then there is the Zombie Music Fest 2011 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, featuring an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band called “Aultimate Ozzy” with a zombie costume contest. There was also the little known music video by Michael Jackson for “Thriller” in the 1980s — a major cinematic production directed by John Landis. Iron Maiden’s “Eddie the Head” may count as zombie music. Iggy Pop and Peaches have a video for “Kick It,” featuring them kicking the you-know-what out of zombies. Overall, zombie music is grossly understated at $10 million.

Art
> Zombie economy: $10 million

Maybe art should be under merchandise, but it is unique enough that it deserves special recognition. There may be at least 100 professional artists out there creating zombie art. Zombiemania, a documentary about zombie movies and other things zombie, featured Rob Sacchetto, a zombie artist. He will take any personal portrait sent to him and turn it into a 9″ × 11″ full color zombie portrait or sketch at zombieportraits.com. He also has other art. In a telephone interview, Sacchetto noted how his orders come from people of all ages. There are also do-it-yourself programs that allow a user to turn their own photos into zombie portraits. This is such a small niche of the zombie culture that it is only being assigned a value of $10 million for an industrywide value. We have undercounted every other aspect of the zombie genre, but this one is harder to pinpoint without tracking down every artist who does zombie art for the public and for commercial or production purposes.

JON C. OGG

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