So you're at the store and notice something, be it a toy based on an upcoming plot detail in a Merchandise-Driven series or a food that's a tie-in with an upcoming movie. But then you realize something — the item in question is based on something that should have come out around the time you saw it, but even though the release got delayed, the merchandise tie-ins still came out on schedule.
This is an example of what's known as an Delayed Release Tie-In, when a work that has delayed still has merchandise come out when it was originally supposed to debut. This is usually caused by deadlines that merchandisers have to abide by in order for their products to be released around the time of the work they're trying to market. For this trope to take effect, these examples have to be released around the original release date for a film or work. Occasionally, this trope will cause plot elements to be Spoiled by the Merchandise.
Subtrope of Early Draft Tie-In and Early-Bird Release.
- Pretty Cure:
- When the Suite Pretty Cure ♪ episodes introducing the Miracle and Fantastic Belltiers got delayed due to the Tohoku earthquake, the releases of their toys became this.
- Due to a hack at Toei Animation, episodes of Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure were delayed for at least a month. However, the toys meant to tie in with the debut of Cure Yum Yum, as well as the Heart Juicy Mixer, were still released on schedule. This trope was averted for the Cure Finale merchandise, which was released the same week her debut episode aired. This trope would also happen to pajamas that featured the season's power-up form.
- The first season of Pokémon features several episodes which lead into Pokémon: The First Movie. However, due to the infamous "Electric Soldier Porygon" seizure incident, the show was taken off the air for a few months. The movie's release date did not move to compensate for the schedule delay, meaning the Mewtwo tie-in episodes ended up airing a few months after the movie had already come out in Japan. This was however averted in the American release, as the English episode package did not contain "Electric Soldier Porygon", and allowed the episodes to be broadcast before the film's North American release.
- Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland was released in 1989 in Japan, but not until 1992 in the United States, meaning that the 1990 video game tie-in Little Nemo: The Dream Master arrived in the States well ahead of the film.
- Dragon Ball Legends had a collaboration with Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero that was released on time back when the film was originally set for an April release, but because of the movie's delay caused by the aforementioned Toei hack, the only thing Legends could do at that point was release Gamma 1 and Gamma 2 as playable characters and nothing else, with Power Awakened Piccolo, Pan, and Beast Gohan all arriving in a much later Part 2 of the collaboration. The sudden shift in plans has resulted in the player base potentially Mis-blamed the delay for the reason as to why the game's 4th Anniversary was lackluster as a result.
- Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil and Sherlock Gnomes both had Burger King promotions released before the films they were promoting. In the case of Hoodwinked Too, the movie wouldn't see release until over a year later.
- Foodfight! had merchandise being made in the mid-2000s. The film sat on The Shelf of Movie Languishment until 2012, but the merch was found leaking out into stores long before that point. There are many accounts of people finding Daredevil Dan or Cheasel T. Weasel toys as carnival prizes.
- A Carl's Jr/Hardee's tie-in for The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature was released in May 2017, the month it was supposed to premiere, instead of August 2017, its' final release date.
- Action figures for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse were first seen in stores in late September 2022, matching its originally intended release date of October of the same year before it was pushed to June 2023. As a result, the figures spoiled the appearances of Spider-Punk, Jessica Drew, Scarlet Spider and the seemingly new Cyborg Spider-Woman character. Similarly, Marvel published Edge of Spider-Verse (2022) and End of the Spider-Verse in late 2022, with both series likely intended to cash in on Across the Spider-Verse back when it was slated for a Fall 2022 release date.
- Happy Meal toys for The Super Mario Bros. Movie were released in many countries between December 2022 and January 2023, matching the originally intended release date before the movie was pushed to April 2023. The line ended up revealing the appearance of Lumalee in the film before his proper debut in the final trailer.
- Two public service announcements featuring The Oogieloves aired on TV in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The former year was the originally slated release for their first movie, which wound up getting delayed to patent the film's interactive technology.
- An exhibit in partnership with the Natural History Museum in London for the upcoming third Fantastic Beasts opened in November 2020 for the movie’s original release date even though it was pushed back twicenote and up once before settling on a April 2022 release.
- Inverted with Jurassic World Dominion. An episode of LEGO Masters was intended to cross-promote it, but then LEGO Masters was the one that got pushed back to the fall. It was worked around by packaging the Jurassic World content as a special preview episode, and airing that near the movie's release.
- A few pieces of merchandise for Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) came out in late 2019, around the originally intended release date. Because of this, the merch also used the original Sonic design used in the first trailer.
- Transformers: Rise of the Beasts being delayed from 2022 to 2023 caused some problems for the tie-in toyline, resulting in select figures from it being released under the Cyberverse and Buzzworthy Bumblebee branding.
- Merchandise for Shuriken Sentai Ninninger was released on the date the show was originally supposed to premiere. However, because the penultimate episode of Ressha Sentai ToQger was pushed back due to breaking news, the show's premiere was pushed back.
- The DVD of Primeval Series Three was intended to come out a couple of days after the final episode aired. The episode was then delayed by a week, and apparently there wasn't enough time to reschedule the DVD, meaning that it was available to buy before it had aired.
- Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne and The Calling were released ahead of Dragon Age: Origins to familiarize the players with the key setting and plot concepts of the new franchise. Similarly, Asunder and The Masked Empire were published in the lead-up to Dragon Age: Inquisition to foreshadow the two key conflicts that drive its second act.
- Euro Truck Simulator 2 had to indefinitely delay the almost ready Heart of Russia Expansion Pack out of sensitivity after the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. The 1.44 Update, released a few weeks later, still featured many obvious signs that it was supposed to prepare the game for Heart of Russia, remodelling many of the Russian border checkpoints, adding in new AI traffic, and allowing players with the developer camera enabled to explore small areas of the DLC as is tradition.
- Fate/Grand Order: Servant Altera (aka "Attila the Hun") was supposed to be the star of another game in the franchise, Fate/Extella, with her being added here as a promotional tie-in. However, the latter game got delayed by almost a year, so FGO ended up being her "first" appearance.
- Onionbat (formerly DoubleJump Books) planned a strategy guide for the English PS2 and Wii release of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love in 2010, but it was unaccounted for and was thought lost for good... until 2014, when they released it on digital outlets such as Amazon and iTunes.
- Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, the third and final Sonic Boom video game was originally planned to be released in Fall of 2015, but Sega delayed the game to a 2016 release to allow more development time and coincide with the Sonic series' 25th anniversary. This didn't stop Carl's Jr. and Hardee's from having a kids' meal promotion for Fire & Ice around the time of the game's originally-planned release date.
- Spy Hunter: Nowhere To Run is a 2006 reboot of the classic Spy Hunter arcade game that was supposed to be a tie-in with the Spy Hunter movie... except the film has been in Development Hell for nearly a decade. People unaware of the ill-fated film will no doubt be baffled at why this game has a far greater focus on on-foot shooting missions than the traditional driving sequences, as well as why the main character has the voice and likeness of Dwayne Johnson.
- The amiibo figure of Falco was supposed to be released alongside the newest installment of his home series, Star Fox Zero. But when the game was delayed, the figure wasn't.
- Several LEGO Star Wars sets containing codes to unlock certain characters and vehicles in The Skywalker Saga came out in late 2020, around the game’s original release window. But while the game was delayed well into 2022, the sets came out on time, with the instruction booklets still advertising the original 2020 release.
- Gotham Knights action figures of Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin and Red Hood were released by McFarlane Toys in February 2022, seemingly a holdover from when the game was supposed to drop in late 2021. By the time it was finally released in October 2022, the toys had been on shelves for around eight months.
- To coincide with the October 2022 release date of the Midnight Suns video game, Marvel launched a new Midnight Suns comic book series featuring some of the same characters. However, while the comic still launched in Fall 2022, the game it was meant to cash in on wound up being delayed to early 2023.
- A Nintendo Direct was supposed to come out on September 6, 2018, but it was rescheduled for the following week when the Hokkaido earthquake struck on the morning of the original date. This didn't stop third-parties like Capcom from releasing new information meant for the Direct, however. In the case of Mega Man 11 (which was supposed to focus on the reveal of Bounce Man), the only new information the Direct provided was the amiibo compatibility exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version.
- While Beware the Batman was pulled from the air indefinitely by Cartoon Network, the comic book tie-in premiered and came out as scheduled. As a result, later issues spoiled several characters and plot developments that were not in the series up to that point.
- Some Lancaster magazines printed in the summer of 2019 displayed ads for the Cartoon Network Hotel, despite the construction of said establishment not being completed in time for the originally intended date.
- Ni Hao, Kai-Lan was originally set to release in 2007 but never materialized until 2008. The characters from the series still appeared in several issues of Nick Jr. Magazine released in 2007.
- A Rugrats Little Golden Book adapting "Angelica's Birthday" was released in 2019, the originally slated release year for the reboot of the series.
- In January 2002, Carl's Jr. and Hardees ran a toy promotion for Phantom Investigators. However the show would not debut until May.