Video game publishers mastered the dark art of the pre-order long ago. In return for an extra in-game costume or some cheaply made bric-a-brac, a publisher can net thousands of sales ahead of (potentially negative) reviews, and maybe in the process make extra cash off merchandise. It's nasty as it is proven. Today, publisher Ubisoft is expanding the pre-order strategy, testing the method on movie tickets with laughably expensive packages for its Assassin's Creed film.
For $1,200, you can own a replica crossbow prop from Kernel, a company that pairs merch with advance ticketing. For $500, your bedroom can become a shrine to a hand-painted statuette. Those of us in the cheap seats may prefer the $15 package, which includes a LED watch and temporary tattoos. Each package includes a a digital copy of the script and a ticket to see the film, which won't be in theaters until December. That's nine months away! You could pre-order the tickets, discover you're having a child, and be struck with the epiphany that $1,200 is no way for a grown-up to spend money, all before you see this movie!
Just think movie fans: this could be the new normal. Imagine an Avengers screening that only shows the after credits sequence to those who pre-ordered tickets. To be fair, though, if you live in New York that $15 ticket package is a steal. The replica crossbow would probably help with the lines, too.
Update March 10th, 9:00AM ET: The story has been updated to reflect the merchandise is handled by Kernel.