On The Dark Knight hype and $100 tickets

by Paul William Tenny

Batman: The Dark KnightThere's lots of talk about The Dark Knight breaking $140 million this weekend and I don't for a minute doubt that it'll be huge, but forgive me for being a spoil sport for a moment when I say that I'm getting just a little bit sick of the excessive hype. It's not going to be the best film of all time people, certainly won't be the highest grossing ever, nor will it meet the kind of expectations people will have going in. Heath Ledger's passing scaled hype to an unprecedented level that simply can't be achieved when the motivator for that hype is so artificial.

Does anyone remember hearing anything about Ledger's performance, how good it supposedly is and whether or not it was Oscar worthy before he died?

I'm just saying don't go into this film looking for anything that you weren't looking for in Batman Begins, because chances are you aren't going to get much better than that.
Just to get on top of things, comments like the one below from a Deadline Hollywood reader are attempts to rewrite history so that it'll fit their view of the world, but it just ain't so:

What kills me are the naysayers who claim that the only reason anyone is excited is because they want to see Heath's final performance. And had he not died, the anticipation and hype wouldn't be there for this film.

I think it's stupid to think that. The anticipation has been there ever since the playing card featuring a Joker was shown at the end of "Batman Begins". I saw that film twice in theaters, and both times the reaction when people saw the Joker card at the end was incredibly enthusiastic.

The excitement I felt (not personally but from what I heard and read) about the next film's theme ran from non-existent to hesitant, with some fear that Nolan and Goyer had captured lightening in a bottle by inventing roots for Bruce Wayne, but weren't going to follow that up with more uncharted storytelling.

And we need to be honest, back then, who wasn't asking themselves who could fill Jack Nicholson's shoes?

Thankfully someone with the talent as opposed to the power came in and apparently one-upped Jack instead of simply trying to do his performance justice, which was the right approach. And I'm sure the film is at least as good as Begins, maybe a little better, but to justify this fictional hype that supposedly existed from the moment people saw the final scene of Begins is ridiculous.

There was a lot of anticipation for The Dark Knight before it got a title and had a story, but that's all it was. David Goyer had already proved his chops as a writer and director but Chris Nolan was a rookie who did a masterful job with Begins, but that didn't mean there wasn't cause for concern that he might be a one-hit wonder. There was at least half as much cautious optimism as there was anticipation, but hype? Maybe, but world-class unprecedented $100 dollar ticket hype?

Not until Heather Ledger passed away.

I'm also not kidding about that ticket BS, if you can believe it, there was a story on Drudge this afternoon about ticket scalpers on Craig's List -- that must be a first for movie tickets -- with average cost for sold-out shows running as high as $50, with some pathetic saps willing to pay as much as $100. Seriously people, get a grip on your life. In all likelihood no matter how good this film is, chances are that if you pick the right theater come Monday morning and afternoon, you'll be able to find a seat for a cool $11 (which is a ripoff btw, how long before a movie ticket costs as much as the freaking DVD?) with a ton of empty seats around you. That has nothing to do with the quality of The Dark Knight or its (pre)imagined hype, but everything to do with the fact that theaters are mostly empty during the week.

Don't be a fanboy moron and spend more than $11 for a ticket, just wait a couple of days and prove that your brain truly is superior than your dog's is by not treating the movie like they only show the whole thing on weekends and only parts of it during the week. It's not going to be any better or worse if you wait three days to see it instead of cramming yourself into a small, hot room with lit cellphones, lots of yelling, and unruly people you'd kick out of your living room after the first thirty minutes.

Actually I take that back, it'll be better than that since the theater will be only 3/4ths full on Monday and probably half empty by Wednesday afternoon.

On a closing note, I think it's pretty awful that David Goyer did all of the heavy lifting in Batman Begins but seemingly got pushed out of The Dark Knight. Chris Nolan supposedly co-wrote Begins but he and his brother have sole screenplay credit for Dark Knight. The WGA exists precisely to prevent that kind of BS, so why is it still happening?
in Feature, Film


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I will agree that Heath Ledger's death definitely increased hype for this movie, but not everyone only became interested after that fact. I was extremely exciting for this movie before I knew he died and it surpassed my expectations, which were high, by a very long shot.

I actually got sick and tired of the masses saying "Omg! Heath's acting was incredibly! It was so good!" blah blah blah, but when I saw the movie I couldn't explain it.... everyone was right, he's excellent.

And don't go thinking I'm some kind of Batman fanboy, he's actually my least favorite superhero when it comes to the first, (Superman, Spiderman, Hulk) and second tiers. (The Flash, Green Lantern, Storm, etc.)

I'm just a big movie fan and the first movie was quite good. The Dark Knight is truly one of my favorites now, which has nothing to do with Heath Ledger's death! It's a great movie with a lot of action AND humor.

The point I'm trying to make is there are still people like me who liked the movie for the movie. Who wasn't effected by Heath Ledger's death. Who knows a good movie when he sees one. I really think you should see the film if you haven't already.

P.S. I waited and the theater was a good 20% filled up, I love it. :)

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