The movie isn’t out yet, but it’s already making money on the Internet.
A copy of the 2 minute and 11 second teaser trailer for the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Menace” sold for $405 last week through online auction house eBay. Five people bid on the item, with an initial bid of $300.
According to “ghostbuster,” the item’s seller, the 35mm trailer for the prequel “has never been used” with “the studio stickers still intact” on the can.
Sellers on eBay pay a fee to have their items placed on the company’s Web site, where potential buyers browse and make bids on merchandise. If an item sells, eBay charges the seller a percentage of the closing price.
Although suspicions have been raised about the trailer’s legitimacy, previous buyers of “ghostbuster’s” merchandise describe him as “respectable” and his merchandise as “great” and “just as described.”
How “ghostbuster” received the copy of the trailer or to which theater it was originally sent remains a mystery. He did not respond to e-mails.
Twentieth Century Fox and Lucasfilm have kept a watchful eye over the trailers since their release to exhibitors in November. Each theater that received a teaser is slated to receive a copy of the full, four-minute trailer beginning Jan. 24, but only after the teaser trailers have been returned.
“We’ve asked exhibitors to send the trailers back to keep them from being sold,” said Tom Sherak, chairman of 20th Century Fox’s domestic film group. “But sometimes there’s only so much you can control.”
Whether the trailer-less exhibitor will receive the upcoming full trailer has yet to be determined, Sherak said.