I don’t like the price, personally, but I do understand it - from what limited knowledge I have, and how things have come to be (or not come to be, when it comes to SW exclusives) for items such as this. A few things for thought:
It has to be considered that EE may be the SOLE worldwide distributor of this set. It makes sense for them as an online retailer, where their competition routinely acquires inventory from Asian sources. By limiting the production run to only the quantity EE orders, they get a true exclusive, but the cost of the run increases per figure by a few factors.
For reference and comparison:
My friend runs a side business of model airplanes – those metal ones of commercial jetliners. They’re made by Dragon, and they’re made in China on the same line that Dragon does any other line they make, and then that line is shared by other companies, too. One day they will be making his 737, the next day, Mystery Machines.
He does his business as a hobby, mainly because he wants to see airline designs none of the major companies were interested in producing. Braniff planes, things like that. He licenses those designs, and manufacturers what he wants, and there’s a small group of collectors that want them as well. The problem is, his runs can be as low as 500, and as high as 5,000. At both ends of the scale, they are small runs for Dragon, and require a production run that only takes days. This has to be scheduled between those 350,000 unit runs on Scooby Doo crap, where they have to switch tools, paints, and packaging materials on the line. The operation of the line is cheap; meaning paying the guys on the line is nothing. The money is in upfront costs, so the more units you crank out for that line switch, the lower your costs will run, assuming someone is on the retail end to buy the stuff. So the total amount of units produced, the timing of the production run, and the complexity of the tools, parts and paint apps (even for existing molds) factor into the cost of the run.
In his case, producing specialty products in the midst of an industry based on mass production makes his product expensive. It all sounds very similar to the circumstances under which an exclusive like the SA Clones exists under.
So think about being an online retailer, out to get an exclusive they can sell online, that won’t be shared with a B&M or available outside the US by someone else. You want a worldwide exclusive. Your order quantities aren’t going to be anywhere near a Walmart, Target, or TRU. And, on top of that, you’re asking for a run of a product with more parts and paint applications at that smaller quantity. You’re going to pay a higher price for the line time, and not make that money back in bulk because you only have an end-user need to fulfill a fractional amount of orders. So, you charge more.
Is Target, Walmart, TRU, or anyone else banging down Hasbro’s doors, asking for a 4-pack of super articulated figures from a movie, now three years old? Or in quantities large enough to send an average of 6 cases to each and every store in their chain? Is there a second worldwide distributor lined up for it? No. So is this a pricey thing to do for whoever takes on the concept? Probably.
So my point is, we’re getting something we actually want, and it’s being done the right way. We get SA clones in multiples, and in new variants. It’s costing more than we want, but what has happened to make it a reality, as delivered, may just require the cost. If we as consumers don’t like the cost of something like this, we can just not buy it. Then other companies that want to offer exclusives will learn to deliver something in a cheaper way, maybe by using 3-pack clone molds or dropping variants. Then we can complain about those being cheaply made and how we’re willing to pay more for better product.
So I guess that makes me a sheep-like EE and Hasbro supporter, right?