The Dark Knight Rises: The next step in film promotion?
In modern cinema, films can live or die based on the marketing campaigns behind them. If the marketing isn’t right, even the best film can be ignored; whilst with the right promotion behind it, even the worst film can be a huge success.
Sure, there’ll always be films like “The Shawshank Redemption”, which find their audience purely through word of mouth, but these are becoming increasingly rare. Nowadays, it’s a strong marketing strategy that can dictate whether or not you’re selling out screens in multiplexes across the world.
The first modern example of this was “The Blair Witch Project” and it’s intensive viral marketing campaign, which suggested that the film might actually be a documentary. In total the film reportedly cost $25,000 to make and ending up netting nearly $250,000,000. I don’t think anyone could call the promotion behind it anything but inspired.
And so we come to the genius of “The Dark Knight Rises”. The internet has already been buzzing with “leaked” set photos of a lot of the main characters in costume, with special focus on the new villains. And now Warners have announced that a six-minute prologue will be attached to the front of “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” in December, a full seven months before the film scheduled release.
It’s a good move to create buzz for the second most anticipated blockbuster of 2012 (arguably following “The Avengers”), and will also give the new Mission Impossible film a bit of boost in audience figures, as die-hard comics fans will happily pay for a film they might not have watched otherwise if it means seeing six-minutes of Batman on the big screen.
Of course this marketing strategy isn’t new, in fact Warners used the same trick to promote the second Bat-film “The Dark Knight” by putting a prologue at the front of “I Am Legend”. However, announcing the prologue for “The Dark Knight Rises” a full nine months before the film’s release is bold – that’s the length of a pregnancy. And just like expectant parents will be on tenterhooks throughout a pregnancy, Warners are hoping that their marketing strategy will keep fans and casual movie-goers alike on the edge of their (cinema) seats.