Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Why The Dark Knight Rises Will Never Be As Successful As The Dark Knight

I’ve already discussed how so far the marketing for The Dark Knight Rises has been a little underwhelming, but irrespective of this I still think there are some key factors which will prevent The Dark Knight Rises ever being as successful as its predecessor.

Firstly I’ll address the elephant in the room... The Heath Ledger/Joker effect and why there are so many reasons why this primarily propelled The Dark Knight to its huge financial success.

In terms of pure marketing it doesn’t really matter what actor plays the Joker, the Joker as a character is already hugely recognisable and is not only Batman’s most famous villain, but he is arguably THE most famous comic book villain there is. Any film with Batman facing off against the Joker is going to be successful, he is the big gun (any villain afterwards is never going to have the same brand recognition).

So you already have this huge established character and then Heath Ledger comes a long and delivers one of his best acting turns of his career. Rumours continually leak from the filming that “You won’t believe what Heath is doing with the character” “It’s incredible!” “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen”. The hype from his performance alone builds huge anticipation for the movie.

Then the first teaser trailer and inclusion of The Dark Knight opening scene (before I Am Legend in late 2007), shows the public Heath Ledger’s interpretation of the Joker and basically confirms the rumours and hype are true. Heath Ledger is incredible as the Joker.

At this point the film is already the most anticipated of 2008, but then the tragic death of Heath Ledger in January 2008 takes everything to a completely new level. Mainstream media outlets reporting his death prelude every news story with some information on The Dark Knight (press coverage that many films would never get), if you didn’t know there was a Batman sequel coming out you did now. Then rumours allege that the performance is so powerful it drove him over the edge (I completely disagree with that but it got huge news coverage) and various other theories that kept the story going.

Warner Bros themselves treated the death with dignity and didn’t use it in any way to market the film, they balanced this by acknowledging the passing but never linking it to The Dark Knight. To be honest they didn’t have to, the press were doing this for them. The public also knew this was the late actor’s final full performance, and that alone will boost box office.

So in summary, you have the world’s most famous villain being played by an Oscar winning actor in his final performance before his untimely and much publicised death. Although it may be hard to accept, the fact of matter is that these things combined promise box office gold.

At this stage even if the film was terrible it would still have been successful, yet it wasn’t bad it was exceptionally good. Most heralding it as the best superhero movie ever made and with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94% it’s one of the highest rated films of all time. The story was intense and kept audiences on the edge of their seats, with twists and turns throughout it was an amazing cinema going experience. So much so that many people saw it multiple times and for any film to make over a billion dollars, people need to see it multiple times.

Although Heath Ledger was the stand-out, all the other actors involved* delivered really strong performances with Aaron Eckhart playing Harvey Dent/Two-Face extremely well and holding the films narrative together. Although his turn as Two-Face was not used in any of the marketing to keep it a secret, once the film was released this added another “well-known” villain to the mix to support repeat views. If anything I think some people went to see it again just to see if they could work out how they did the special effect of his burnt face.

I think that’s another potential problem with The Dark Knight Rises, the villains are relatively unknown to the public. You’re going from Joker and Two-Face to Talia Al Ghul and Bane, apart from the enthusiasts the majority of the public will not know these names, so marketing them to people becomes much harder.

I know you have Selina Kyle (potentially Catwoman) but so far everything we’ve seen or read does not reference her as Catwoman and the first promo images are not recognisably Catwoman either. They could just be a woman in black leather with some hi-tech glasses. At least with Joker and Two-Face Nolan made them realistic and gritty but also kept very close to the original comic-book designs. The jury is still out on whether Anne Hathaway is right for the role as well.

There’s still a year to go so this may be a bit pre-emptive but The Dark Knight had an absolutely amazing viral marketing campaign a summary of which can be viewed here. This also built hype, engaged audiences in the release of film and encouraged them to promote it themselves.

Before The Dark Knight there were hardly any story spoilers released or photos of shooting, this mystery of the films plot also in turn built more hype. Yet the third films shooting has been so public, most of us have worked out key parts of The Dark Knight Rises story already. This destroys a lot of the suspense, and if you don’t like what you’re seeing also lowers your excitement for the movie.

Even if Chris Nolan and his brother Jonathon have an amazing story and produce an amazing film with The Dark Knight Rises, the fact that they’re playing with lesser known villains and all the other factors discussed above I think it will never be as successful as The Dark Knight.

*Although Christian Bale played a great Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine & Gary Oldman deliver strong supporting work for Alfred and Commissioner Gordon I haven’t mention them as all these actors/characters will be reprised in The Dark Knight Rises.

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me. .

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Inbetweeners Movie Marketing Review

So how do you start an Inbetweeners movies marketing review without mentioning “Get you’re wellies...” Well I’m not going to and just get straight into it.

The marketing for The Inbetweeners Movie must have been quite hard to honestly show what audiences will get in the film. Obviously most of humour in the Inbetweeners is quite crude/adult in nature and therefore can’t be used in the mainstream marketing. The advertising has focused primarily on letting people know there is an Inbetweeners movie was coming out and that the story revolves around the guys going on a summer holiday. To this extent the marketing served its purpose, and it was actually a benefit that the majority of jokes weren’t included in the trailer and this made the movie that much funnier.

I really enjoyed the film, however I felt the opening 10-15minutes weren’t as funny as the rest of the film. This is primarily because the film re-introduces us to the characters and this is sort of wasted time considering that most people will already be familiar with them. However, I realise this is required for the film to standalone if needs be, once the introductions are over the film finds its flow and the jokes keep rolling.

The Inbetweeners Movie really captures the reality of a group of British lads going on holiday, there are no forced set pieces and most of the comedy comes from the banter and situations most people will be able to relate to.

Great fun at the cinema.

Movie Review – 8.5/10
Marketing Review – 7/10

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me..

Friday, 19 August 2011

Orange and Blue in Movie Posters 2011

Some of you may have seen an article previously about Hollywood’s over use of contrasting blue and orange in their movie posters. This acknowledgement has been around for a few years, but it seems Hollywood is still loving the technique so I thought I’d collate a sample of the movies from 2011 that have also used the method.

When you see the posters next to each other, you won’t believe how similar they all begin to look...










In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me..

Movie Marketing for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Begins

So the movie marketing for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance began this week.

Yesterday saw the release of this new poster, which is pretty cool as a teaser poster (you'll also notice the use of the twitter hashtag #GhostRider at the bottom)...
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Teaser Poster
Then this new teaser trailer was released today which looks insanely cool and a damn sight better than the first movie.

Considering how subtle the poster was I’m surprised how full on the trailer is, what do you think?

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me. .

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Underwhelming Movie Marketing For The Dark Knight Rises (Comparison)

Is anyone else underwhelmed with what they’ve seen from The Dark Knight Rises so far?

I’m not talking about the hundreds of images that have been taken by the public, which have shown us Batman and Bane fighting, etc (as they can never be a good source of judging a film), but the official movie marketing.

The Dark Knight had an amazing marketing campaign that started over a year in advance of its release, but so far everything for The Dark Knight Rises has been pretty average. I have yet to see anything that made me really excited, and unfortunately they seem to be getting more underwhelming with each new bit of marketing. It doesn’t help that the marketing has also been a replica of the previous films campaign, so there’s nothing original either.

Allow me to show this with a few comparisons...

First Villain Promo Image
This very dark image of Heath Ledger’s Joker was our first glimpse into the marketing of The Dark Knight, it was the “holy shit” moment when everyone knew Ledger/Nolan were going to show us a very different and gritty take on the Joker.
Joker - The Dark Knight First Promo Image
Bane - The Dark Knight Rises First Promo Image
The Dark Knight Rises equivalent would be the first image we got of Bane, this looks pretty good but nowhere near builds the same level of excitement that the Joker image did. This is understandable; a Joker image will always generate more excitement than the relatively unknown Bane, but we’re already not reaching the same level of excitement. Although I’ll admit the way it was released through a combination of Twitter and the official page was pretty inventive.

First Teaser Posters
I absolutely loved the first teaser poster for The Dark Knight, not only was it an extremely clever design (with the Bat symbol creating part of the new Joker make-up), it also tied in the films infamous line “Why So Serious” and the fact it was spray paint really gave us a sense of the anarchy that the Joker was going to bring to the film.
The Dark Knight Teaser Poster
The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Poster
The Dark Knight Rises poster has a similar clever design, this time with the Bat symbol being created by the outline of the falling buildings. However that’s pretty much it, no clever tie in to the films or a sense of the overall tone.

First Teaser Trailers
This is where the cracks started to become a bit more apparent... Both teaser trailers were released over a year before the final films were to be released, so lack of complete or final footage is understandable. However, The Dark Knight used this to its advantage and didn’t actually show any footage instead relying on audioclips which set up the story and ended with Joker’s manic laughter. It was a teaser after all.

Instead The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer relies heavily on footage from the previous instalements and only really shows about 15seconds from the new film, most of which is a man lying in a bed... This was obviously rushed to get attached to Harry Potter, but it shows and seems incomplete. Therefore giving most audiences a underwhelming first impressions of the film. The lack of a recognisable villain also becomes apparent and potential weakness, after all an easy way to market these films is to introduce the new villain. The Joker laugh alone makes The Dark Knight trailer the stronger of the two.

First Official Onset Shot
Now the comparison becomes even more apparent, the first actual photo from the set for The Dark Knight was of the Joker being extremely menacing.
The Dark Knight First On Set Photo
The Dark Knight Rises First On Set Photo
The first onset shot from The Dark Knight Rises left a lot to be desired... Is it Catwoman? Is it Selina Kyle? Is that it? No one really knows, and therefore more confusion rather than excitement was generated from this particular image.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d never judge a final film by a bit of promotion released a year in advance, but I think the comparisons in the early marketing are quite apparent. Also, I wouldn’t say any of the above is bad, it’s just... well... a bit underwhelming.

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Banksy Inspired Planet Of The Apes Posters

Just saw this over on Empire Online, some awesome Banksy styled Rise of the Planet Of The Apes posters.
Banksy Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes Poster
Banksy Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes Poster
Especially love the Darwin evolution one, and in this digital media day and age you can't forget the Twitter hashtag #apeswillrise.

All very cool.

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Monday, 8 August 2011

London Riots Shadowed In New Mission Impossible Promo Image

Considering everything that's going on in London at the moment I'm not sure the below image has really been released at the appropriate time...


This is the new promo image for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol that Paramount Pictures released today. Showing a hooded Tom Cruise with fire and smoke behind him, it looks a bit too similar to the news footage of the riots in London currently taking place... Personally I think this is particularly bad timing and if I were in marketing department I'd have waited for all the turmoil in London to quieten down before pushing this.

Bad timing? What do you think?

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Super 8 Movie Marketing Review

Films how they used to be made...

I really enjoyed Super 8, not only because it was a genuinely good film but also because of the nostalgic film–making on display. This really is a love letter to the films of Spielberg from the 70s and 80s (or even Jurassic Park to a certain extent), focusing primarily on the characters amongst the action and magic. The big reveal of the alien being restrainedly saved until the third act of the film, a rarity in this world of cinema. In fact with the exception of the top CGI special effects (and the annoying JJ Abrams trademark lens flares), I could have sworn this movie was made 25years ago.

The marketing for Super 8 has played heavily on the old-school nostalgia, however the first teaser that was released is particularly impressive (something I wrote about previously on MoviePush).



Although this particular sequence is in the movie, none of the shots are, the whole train crash in the film is shown and filmed from the main characters perspective. I love this idea for marketing a movie, having a teaser trailer that sets the tone and shows an action sequence, but doesn’t actually give any of the film away. Genius.

Movie Review - 8.5/10
Marketing Review - 9/10
In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Box Office Mojo Appears To Copy MoviePush Movie Marketing Review Idea

I’ve got to be honest I’m pretty annoyed at the moment, I’ve just logged on to Box Office Mojo to find a new feature they’ve started today called Ad Fidelity (which I begrudging link to here).

Let me explain why I’m not pleased with what I’ve found...

Firstly, anyone whose been following this MoviePush blog for a while will know that when I write reviews on films, rather than purely detailing whether the film is good, I also discuss whether it lived up to its marketing promise. The exact words I used prior to a review were: -

“...a quick explanation of a MoviePush movie marketing reviews. Not quite a traditional review of a film, this is an opinion of whether the marketing successfully (and honestly) conveyed what audiences could expect from the film. In other word, did the film deliver on its marketing promise”.

Any way the new feature on Box Office Mojo (started 5th August 2011) begins with an editors note that reads: -

“Ad Fidelity is a new feature that compares the core elements of a movie's marketing campaign with the reality of what's on screen. The purpose is to show whether or not a movie lives up to the promises of its advertising and to shed light on a movie's potential long-term playability”.

The explanation is slightly different, but it’s basically exactly the same thing and a little too close to comfort for my liking. I need to find out where I stand on this, everyone is entitled to an opinion of whether they liked a movie, but my concept of whether a movie delivered on its marketing promise and to even use the same phraseology is plan insulting.

It’s very frustrating, if Box Office Mojo wanted to run a piece like this, why didn’t they just get in contact so I could write it for them freelance or something like that.

Any advice how (or whether I even should) approach resolving this would be greatly appreciated.

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Friday, 5 August 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Story Spoilers (Possibly)

I’m a bit shocked by how much is being revealed from The Dark Knight Rises shoot so far, to the point where I’ve seen so much I’m pretty sure I have worked out a lot of the films plot or at least some of the main story points. I’m disappointed as well to be honest as I’d prefer to find this all out in the film itself.

The sequence being shot now in Pittsburgh is obviously a key scene in the film as we have seen shots of Batman, Bane, Marion Cotillard's character and now Catwoman on the Bat-Pod all on the steps outside the building. These could potentially end up being part of the climax, so I’m really surprised it’s being shot in such a public place! Especially considering how secretive Chris Nolan usually is with his films and their storylines.

Just because a script hasn’t leaked I don’t think it’s hard to work out some of the story points I’ve listed below.

Please note this is all speculation, I have no inside knowledge or details of The Dark Knight Rises story so this is my best guess based on everything revealed so far.

1) Although Marion Cotillard is detailed as playing Miranda Tate (a Wayne Enterprise board member) in the film, I think it’s pretty obvious she will be revealed to be Talia Al Ghul (Ra’s Al Ghul daughter) part way through the film. Using her position within the company she will stumble upon 3 prototype Tumbler’s (same vehicles as the Batmobile) and take them to help with her plan (whatever that may be).

2) Bane will break the majority of the in-mates out of Arkham Asylum and cause mass riots throughout Gotham.

3) Bane and Taila Al Ghul will be working together, hence why Bane was seen with the Tumblers as she gets them to him. I think their relationship will be more equal than Bane purely being a dumb henchman. Taila will likely be the leader, where as Bane will be the commander.

4) Catwoman/Selina Kyle is an ally to Batman in The Dark Knight Rises. I come to this conclusion based on the promo image showing her using the Batpod and the fact her mask looks very similar to the tech we’ve seen Batman use in the previous films. This also makes sense in that if the villains are a man and women, having Batman and Catwoman as the two heroes allows for a pretty good dual fight scene at the end of the film.

5) I think Catwoman/Selina Kyle will potentially sit alongside Batman as a step-in for Robin, so they’re relationship may be a bit different to what we’re use to in the comics.

6) Although Selina Kyle will essentially become Catwoman, I don’t think anyone in the film will ever refer to her as such. Hence why all the press releases have only said Anne Hathaway is playing Selina Kyle. Similar to Two Face in The Dark Knight, Harvey had a nickname “Two-Face” but no one calls him that once he’s scarred.

7) The flowers from Batman Begins that create the fear toxin will have some part in the storyline, the mask that Bane wears will either be a gas mask to protect him from it (similar to Scarecrow) or will inject a certain form of it into his body.

8) The Dark Knight Rises title references Batman’s return to glory as a symbol of hope for the Gotham citizens (by the end of the film).

9) Liam Neeson will be in the film during flash back sequences that take place during the same time period Bruce was getting trained in Batman Begins, something that happens here will have importance in the context of Rises storyline.

10) Talia Al Ghul motivations for the film will be to finish her dad’s mission to destroy Gotham and avenge his death.

11) Batman will be in hiding for the first portion of the film, following the outcome and his decision at the end of The Dark Knight. Bane’s part in releasing the prisoners from Arkham will initiate his return.

That’s the main points I think I’ve worked out, have you got any more or disagree with anything I’ve said?

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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First Official Photo Of Anne Hathaway As Catwoman (UPDATED)

Following hot on the heels of the first official image of Henry Cavill as Superman, Warner Bros have now released the first photo of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises...
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises
The costume is fairly subtle and understated compared to the previous versions we've seen in the films. This isn't really unexpected considering Nolan's realistic take on the Batman universe. However is it possibly too subtle, it isn't obvious it's Catwoman in terms of linking back to the comic book look (say how the Joker or Two-Face looked in The Dark Knight).

The picture is also potentially a spoiler, as she's riding the Bat-Pod and the mask looks very similar to the tech Batman used at the end of The Dark Knight. So I don't think it's much of a stretch to suggest Catwoman is actually a goody in The Dark Knight Rises.

Update – Well looks like we know why the official photo was released, as these unofficial shots from the set have now been released, I think I actually prefer these...

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Thursday, 4 August 2011

First Picture Of Henry Cavill As Superman

“I’ve got an idea, let make it dark and gritty. That worked for Batman and made us loads of money, so let’s do the same for Superman...” is how I imagine the conversation started at Warner Bros when discussing a Superman reboot.

Well this promo picture giving us the first look as Henry Cavill as Superman does nothing to dispel that theory.
Henry Cavill As Superman
Don’t get me wrong the costume looks cool, and it looks like they’ve taken a page from the Spider-Man book of costumes with the leathery pin dots all over blue sections of the costume. It definitely makes the costume look much more modern compared to the suit in Superman Returns.
I’m hoping the darkness of the image is more to conceal the full costume reveal, rather than reflective of the tone of the film. Superman should not be a dark film, I definitely want a film thats more exciting and dramatic than returns, but it doesn’t need to be gritty.

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Smartphone Creates World’s Largest Stop Animation - Gulp

Just saw this stop-motion animation called Gulp on YouTube and had to post it on MoviePush.



I know it’s not directly movie related but it was created by the Sumo Science team at Aardman Animations (who worked on Wallace & Gromit). It’s a great piece of viral marketing to highlight the camera quality of the new Nokia N8 smartphone‘s 12-megapixel camera.

The phone was used to create the animation whilst attached to cranes 118 feet in the air, which also breaks a world record as the largest stop-motion animation ever made (based on the 11,000 square foot area used to create it).

If you’re wondering how it was made there’s a great “Making Of” that’s been released as well.



In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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Monday, 1 August 2011

Green Lantern Gets Green Blu-Ray Case

An image has been posted online of the Green Lantern Blu-Ray case and it's actually green?!

Green Lantern Blu-Ray Case

I think this may be the first time I've seen a film go against the traditional blue of the Blu-Ray cases. I know at one stage Sony wanted to preserve the blue so to create a brand identity with the cases, either they think it's established now or Warner Bros paid for the privilege...

In addition to writing original content for MoviePush, I link to a lot of articles all over the web through my twitter @rossbishop mainly focused on movie marketing. If you’re interested and like to keep up to date, please follow me.
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