Until this year, the Assassin's Creed video game franchise has been serving as a major source of annual income for publisher Ubisoft, with a new game released every year and millions of copies sold. A few years ago, Ubisoft decided that this same money-making power could conquer the world of film as well, and launched production company Ubisfot Motion Pictures with a movie based on Assassin's Creed slated as the first project.
Fast-forward to 2016, and Assassin's Creed has finished filming and is set for release at the end of the year. Michael Fassbender co-produced the movie through his production company DMC Film, and stars in dual roles as modern day Death Row inmate Callum Lynch and his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha, an Assassin living at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. The film will jump between the two time periods as Callum uses a machine called the Animus, which has the ability to tap into the user's DNA and allow them to relive the memories of their ancestors.
Now it seems that Ubisoft is applying video game sales tactics to the box office when it comes to Assassin's Creed, as ticket bundle site Kernel is selling pre-sale ticket packages that range in price from $15 to $1,200. That top price nets the buyer a limited edition replica crossbow based on the weapon that Aguilar uses in the movie. As of the time of writing there are only 18 of those crossbows left, so anyone who wants one should buy it quickly.
For Assassin's Creed fans who aren't quite so flush with cash, the $15 option includes a movie ticket, a digital copy of the script, an Assassin's Creed watch, temporary tattoos of Aguilar and the historical female lead Maria (Ariane Labed), and behind-the-scenes extras. Packages in between the two extremes include a $600 package that comes with a small statue of Aguilar, a $120 package that comes with a hoodie based on the one Callum wears in the movie, a $60 package that includes a replica hidden blade (another weapon from the games and movie), and a $25 option that includes a T-shirt.
The pre-sale ticket packages are obviously aimed at existing fans, since the average moviegoer probably isn't going to be excited to spend lots of money on merchandise for a franchise they're not familiar with (though perhaps there's someone out there who'll buy the crossbow package just because they really like crossbows). Of course, all this limited edition merchandise won't be enough by itself to make Assassin's Creed a financial success; in order for that to happen, the movie needs to win over general audiences and grow the franchise's existing fanbase. Let's hope it lives up to the legacy of the games, rather the the current legacy of video game movies, or these bonuses could end up becoming something of a bitter reminder.
Assassin's Creed arrives in theaters on December 21st, 2016.