Though it's only been a week since Heath Ledger was permanently laid to rest, Warner Bros. is slowly bringing back its marketing campaign for The Dark Knight. Mattel has revealed images of its Ledger-inspired Joker dolls; the first of which will retail at $7.99 and features a rocket launcher that can be placed in the Joker's hand. The second doll (pictured to the right) is a slightly larger, more detailed version created by action-figure designers the Four Horsemen. It will retail at $10.99. The image comes from The New York Post, who revealed it along with a quote from the Ledger family: "Heath was very proud of his work in the film, and his family is aware and supportive of Warner Bros. and its partner's plans for the movie." Mattel will sell two versions of the doll, with both hitting toy shelves this May (two months prior to The Dark Knight landing in theaters on July 18).
Mattel claims Ledger's death is "not exactly a marketing point," and that "kids are going to buy the toy if they like the movie." Yes, but the toy comes out two months before the movie does. Then again, the character is so recognizable, I really don't think it matters. But what do you think:
Should Mattel and Warner Bros. have waited until closer to the film's release to shovel a Ledger-like doll onto toy shelves? Or is this marketing tactic a normal one?