Thursday, July 17, 2008

Welcome To A World Where Batman Rules

The wait is nearly over. Ever since that final scene of Batman Begins, in which Batman is given the Joker's card, I have been anxiously awaiting the sequel The Dark Knight. I have never before been more excited and eager for a movie. I have never heard such hype and buzz about a film before (except say Spiderman 3, although, it is tarnished because of the harsh early reviews). Not only is it a Batman film, it has one of the greatest villains of all time--the Joker. Not only is it supposed to be a great crime drama, it's one directed by Christopher Nolan, you know that guy who did that other fucking awesome movie Memento.

Everyone is going fucking crazy for this movie, so in honor of mad heroes and mad villains, here's a funny article called "The 10 Mental Illnesses of Batman."

There have been many things to have contributed to this madness. Behind every great movie is a great marketing campaign, and The Dark Knight, with its seemingly limitless marketing budget has bombarded our homes with anything and everything relating to this movie. With less than twenty hours before its release, let's take a trip down memory lane and review the amazing marketing campaign of this film. You may remember this first image that was posted about 8 to 9 months ago. It was the first photo of the film that had officially been released by the studio.
I remember seeing this photo and thinking many things:

1. Holy shit, that's Heath Ledger?!
2. Dude, he looks scary as shit.
3. Maybe Christopher Nolan does know what he's doing, especially after casting the unlikely actor.
4. Dude, he looks like a crack addict with smeared lipstick.

Suffice to say, this first photo would not be the last. A couple months later, Warner Bros. released a couple of websites such as,, and which provided some promotional materials from the film and then "Joker-ized" versions of these materials. The Joker's reign of terror had begun.

On August 28, 2007, the first teaser trailer for the film premiered. The trailer had no visuals, only dialogue, and blue lights streaming towards an undefined Batman logo. We heard the familiar voices of Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and Michael Caine as Alfred, but then we were treated to the first hearing of the Joker's voice: "Tonight, people will die. I'm a man of my word. HAHAHAHA." I fell in love with that delirious cackle and deranged hunger in Heath's voice.

The opening sequence of The Dark Knight, in which the Joker robs a bank, was shown as a preview before I Am Legend. Unfortunately, I never got to see it, but from what my friends said, it only made them hungrier to go see the film.

A couple of weeks later, I saw the first Dark Knight posters at the Pacific Theatres 14 at The Grove. They were Joker-centered and pretty dark, I must say. I loved them.

Finally, the first official trailer premiered. "You've changed things . . . forever," hisses the Joker as the first glimpse of the Batpod races away from us. This was truly one of the best trailers I've ever seen, right beside if not better than the trailer for Spiderman 3. The first video image of the Joker was shown in all its ruthless glory. We explosions, the Joker's crazy cackle, the flipping of an 18-wheeler, and the music! oh the music! It's totally epic.

It's a bloody brilliant trailer. It even won an award (I forget what it's called, but it's a big deal) for best trailer of the year.

Then, a great sadness swept the world as on January 22, 2008, Heath Ledger passed away from an accidental drug overdose. It was the first time an actor's death had personally affected me. I had grown up watching Heath, from his first role in 10 Things I Hate About You to A Knight's Tale to his most revered role in Brokeback Mountain. Along with thousands of others, I saw his potential to be an amazing actor. He's the James Dean of our times.

Obviously, his death forced Warner Bros. into a frenzy as they had to review their entire marketing campaign. Do they continue what they are doing or change it to be more case-sensitive? After doing several forms of market research, it was concluded that displaying Heath's Joker face would not cause controversy or deter people from seeing the film. Now, though, every time I see Heath as the Joker, I feel like I'm looking at a ghost. Perversely, though, his death will probably attract more people to see the film. I still don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing, but I guess the movie should be seen as a testament to his last complete amazing performance.

After that, more posters and another trailer began hitting the public. With less than a month and a half away, Warner Bros. pulled out all their guns. We were hit with TV spots, posters, billboards, radio advertisements, internet advertisements. Less than two weeks to go, you could not go anywhere without seeing something Dark Knight related. Today alone, I went to maybe over 10 movie websites and blogs (I was really bored at work today), and not once did I NOT see an interview or web ad for this film. The Dark Knight has invaded the world.

This is definitely my favorite poster of their entire campaign.

The three major characters holding the thing that means the most to them: the Joker holds his card of chaos and his obsessive target on Batman. Batman holds one of his Bat throw things, representing justice. Harvey Dent holds a campaign pin, symbolizing his desire for power. Overall, it's like each character is holding their ace in the poker game for control of Gotham City.

Other posters and TV spots have begun showing more and more things to get you excited about the movie. One poster shows the latest gizmo The Batpod. One TV spot shows a longer clip of the Joker in a continuous scene. All the trailers and posters have hid something about the Joker, thereby making him an incomplete character, which makes sense because why would you want to see the movie if you already knew how his character was going to act?

Like I said at the beginning, I have never been around such hype and buzz for a movie before. I've had a lot of friends who have already seen it, and they've all said the same thing: the hype is true. It's not just a publicity tactic--the movie fucking rocks.

I've got my ticket for the 1:30 p.m. showing tomorrow at the Arclight in Hollywood.

Expectations are high for the film. Will it beat Spiderman 3's opening weekend record of $151 million? The movie has some elements that may not allow it to achieve this record: it's really dark and not that family-friendly; it has a running time of 2 1/2 hours; it's only opening on a 3-day weekend. However, the film has already set a record for advanced tickets. I've heard that IMAX tickets alone for the film are sold out until Tuesday. This movie, I guarantee, will be the number one film of the summer, if not, the year.

Welcome to a world where Batman rules.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.