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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