I'm not sure I'm agreeing on the pre-orders setting order ammounts. I see where guys are coming from on that, but at the same time, how do you set a $25 price without already knowing how many you've produced? You really can't set the price before production, know what I mean? If only a 1000 people order at $25 a pop that's only $25,000... That seems on the low side for a completely newly tooled action figure, and all the crap it comes with.
I know exactly what you mean. I was thinking more along the lines of - they already have X made, and there is the potential for a second run of them - just like they do with the mail-away figures - so the pre-orders could help determine if:
1) they're going to be left with a good number from the original order
2) they're going to have a narrow margin (maybe just enough or slightly enough to cover damaged items)
3) they're going to need to have a 2nd run just to cover pre-orders
I'm sure Brian's Toys already had to cover the up-front costs of an initial production run.