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The Dark Knight Marketing

Media Studies: Institutions and Audiences

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The Dark Knight 
(Christopher Nolan, 2008, US)
The Dark Knight 
(Christopher Nolan, 2008, US) 
How the film was devised, financed and produced 
On July 31st 2006 Warner Brother pictures announced that the sequel to the 
hugely successful, Batman Begins had gone into production. They gave only one 
other piece of information – The title of the film. 
The film was given a budget of $185million dollars and would again be produced 
by the creative team behind Batman Begins: 
Director: Christopher Nolan 
Previous: Memento 2000, Insomnia, 2002 Batman Begins 2005. 
Writers: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S Goyer 
Producers: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Charles Roven.
The Dark Knight 
(Christopher Nolan, 2008, US) 
How the film was devised, financed and produced 
The story for The Dark Knight was loosely established at the end of Batman 
Begins with the introduction of the character, THE JOKER. 
Christopher Nolan and his frequent collaborators, David S. Goyer (with 
whom he wrote Batman Begins) and brother, Jonathan Nolan went about 
writing The Dark Knight in the Winter of 2005. By October 2006 pre-production 
location scouting was already in place for a March 2007 start 
date for principle photography. The entire shoot would last 16 weeks and 
take place in China, UK, Chicago and California (USA). 
Christopher Nolan
The Dark Knight 
(Christopher Nolan, 2008, US) 
How the film was devised, financed and produced? 
Which studio(s) were involved? Who are these studios? 
The film was financed by LEGENDARY PICTURES and WARNER BROTHERS, that later of 
whom owns the exclusive rights to the Batman Character. Warner Brothers has 
produced every Batman film since Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and had at this point 
earned over $2billion from the film franchise (Boxofficemojo.com). 
Legendary pictures was established by Thomas Tull in 2004. The company was 
responsible for co-financing Batman Begins with Warner Bro’s in 2005 and by the 
end of that year had signed a seven year deal with Warner Bro’s to co-produce 
and co-finance over 40 pictures. (www.legendary.com/) 
In addition to The Dark Knight, Legendary pictures has 
produced Superman Returns (2006), 300 (2007), Watchmen 
(2009), The Hangover (2009), Where the Wild Things are (2009), 
Clash of the Titans (2010), Inception (2010), The Town (2010) 
and The Hangover part 2 (2011), amongst many others….
• The Dark Knight was filmed primarily in Chicago, as 
well as in several other locations in the United 
States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Nolan 
used an IMAX camera to film some sequences, 
including the Joker's first appearance in the film. 
• It has also had enormous box office success, setting 
the record for the highest-grossing weekend opening 
in the U.S. with over $158 million and becoming the 
4th highest grossing film of all time
Marketing 
The Dark 
Knight

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The Dark Knight Marketing

  • 1. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008, US)
  • 2. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008, US) How the film was devised, financed and produced On July 31st 2006 Warner Brother pictures announced that the sequel to the hugely successful, Batman Begins had gone into production. They gave only one other piece of information – The title of the film. The film was given a budget of $185million dollars and would again be produced by the creative team behind Batman Begins: Director: Christopher Nolan Previous: Memento 2000, Insomnia, 2002 Batman Begins 2005. Writers: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S Goyer Producers: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Charles Roven.
  • 3. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008, US) How the film was devised, financed and produced The story for The Dark Knight was loosely established at the end of Batman Begins with the introduction of the character, THE JOKER. Christopher Nolan and his frequent collaborators, David S. Goyer (with whom he wrote Batman Begins) and brother, Jonathan Nolan went about writing The Dark Knight in the Winter of 2005. By October 2006 pre-production location scouting was already in place for a March 2007 start date for principle photography. The entire shoot would last 16 weeks and take place in China, UK, Chicago and California (USA). Christopher Nolan
  • 4. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008, US) How the film was devised, financed and produced? Which studio(s) were involved? Who are these studios? The film was financed by LEGENDARY PICTURES and WARNER BROTHERS, that later of whom owns the exclusive rights to the Batman Character. Warner Brothers has produced every Batman film since Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and had at this point earned over $2billion from the film franchise (Boxofficemojo.com). Legendary pictures was established by Thomas Tull in 2004. The company was responsible for co-financing Batman Begins with Warner Bro’s in 2005 and by the end of that year had signed a seven year deal with Warner Bro’s to co-produce and co-finance over 40 pictures. (www.legendary.com/) In addition to The Dark Knight, Legendary pictures has produced Superman Returns (2006), 300 (2007), Watchmen (2009), The Hangover (2009), Where the Wild Things are (2009), Clash of the Titans (2010), Inception (2010), The Town (2010) and The Hangover part 2 (2011), amongst many others….
  • 5. • The Dark Knight was filmed primarily in Chicago, as well as in several other locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Nolan used an IMAX camera to film some sequences, including the Joker's first appearance in the film. • It has also had enormous box office success, setting the record for the highest-grossing weekend opening in the U.S. with over $158 million and becoming the 4th highest grossing film of all time
  • 7. The Dark Knight • The distribution of a film includes: • The release strategy • The marketing strategy • This film had has one of the most elaborate marketing strategies to date. • Warner Bros made use of all kinds of media and without “cross media convergence” this strategy would not have been as successful. • “cross media convergence” ensures that the film reaches the widest possible audience.
  • 8. Christopher Nolan Interview The Dark Knight Merchandising The Dark Knight Premiere I am Legend IMAX prologue Meet the Cast First Film Trailer Review HBO First Look
  • 9. IMPORTANT FACTORS IN THE SUCCESS OF TDK • MARKETING campaign • VIRAL marketing • BATMAN –history and contract with audience • CASTING • DIRECTOR’S PORTFOLIO • DISTRIBUTION – most cinemas to date • Online ticket sales
  • 10. • ABOVE THE LINE: What does this term mean in regards to marketing?
  • 11. • The Dark Knight's opening sequence, (showing a bank raid by the Joker) and closing montage of other scenes from the film, was screened with selected IMAX screenings of I Am Legend, which was released on December 14, 2007. • A theatrical teaser was also released with non-IMAX showings of I Am Legend, and also on the official website. The sequence was released on the Blu-ray Disc edition of Batman Begins on July 8, 2008. • Also on July 8, 2008, the studio released Batman: Gotham Knight, a direct-to-DVD animated film, set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and featuring six original stories.
  • 12. The three small tokens you see in this poster were manufactured by Warner Bros and were available for audiences to collect.
  • 13. A range of different posters were produced, each to entice a different audience members
  • 14. • On May 15, 2008, Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Great Adventure theme parks opened The Dark Knight roller coaster, which cost $7.5 million to develop and which simulates being stalked by the Joker. • Mattel produced toys and games for The Dark Knight, action figures, role play costumes, board games, puzzles, and a special-edition UNO card game, which began commercial distribution in June 2008
  • 15. • BELOW THE LINE: What does this term mean in regards to marketing?
  • 16. Viral marketing • Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, similar to the spread of computer viruses. • It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. • Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages. • The goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to identify individuals with high Social Networking Potential (SNP) and create Viral Messages that appeal to this segment of the population and have a high probability of being passed along.
  • 17. Viral marketing • The assumption is that if such an advertisement reaches a "susceptible" user, that user will become ‘infected’ (i.e., sign up for an account) and can then go on to ‘infect’ other susceptible users. As long as each ‘infected’ user sends mail to more than one susceptible user on average the number of infected users will grow. • It is the job of creatives in the marketing company to produce engaging material which will entice users to spread the viral. • Viral marketing is used to create the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm. • This is called: Astroturfing :to create the impression of being spontaneous grassroots behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, Astro-Turf.
  • 18. ASTROTURFING • While Astro-turfing enables marketing companies to rapidly reach a potential enormous audience, the goal of such a campaign is to disguise their efforts. This is arguably designed to combat the turn against organised institutional commercialisation by young audiences . Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual pushing a personal or political agenda or activist organizations.
  • 19. • Marketing based ARGs can rapidly spread publicity for a film by targeting fans social network sites as fans collaborate on solving puzzles or arranging to meet to role-play certain options suggested by the game’s designers.
  • 20. • The marketing campaign for the 2008 film The Dark Knight combined both online and real-life elements to make it resemble an alternate reality game. Techniques included mass gatherings of Joker fans, scavenger hunts around world, detailed and intricate websites that let fans actually participate in "voting" for political offices in Gotham City. • The movie also marketed heavily off of word of mouth from the thousands of Batman fans perhaps supported by Astroturfing.
  • 21. • In May 2007, 42 Entertainment began a viral marketing campaign utilizing the film's "Why So Serious?" tagline with the launch of a website featuring the fictional political campaign of Harvey Dent, with the caption, "I Believe in Harvey Dent." The site aimed to interest fans by having them try to earn what they wanted to see and, on behalf of Warner Bros., 42 Entertainment also established a "vandalized" version of I Believe in Harvey Dent, called "I believe in Harvey Dent too," where e-mails sent by fans slowly removed pixels, revealing the first official image of the Joker; it was ultimately replaced with many "Haha"s and a hidden message that said "see you in December."
  • 22. • During the 2007 Comic-Con International, 42 Entertainment launched WhySoSerious.com, sending fans on a scavenger hunt to unlock a teaser trailer and a new photo of the Joker. • On October 31, 2007, the film's website morphed into another scavenger hunt with hidden messages, instructing fans to uncover clues at certain locations in major cities throughout the United States, and to take photographs of their discoveries. The clues combined to reveal a new photograph of the Joker and an audio clip of him from the film saying "And tonight, you're gonna break your one rule." • Completing the scavenger hunt also led to another website called Rory's Death Kiss (referencing the false working title of Rory's First Kiss), where fans could submit photographs of themselves costumed as the Joker. Those who sent photos were mailed a copy of a fictional newspaper called The Gotham Times, whose electronic version led to the discovery of numerous other websites.
  • 23. www.ibelieveinharveydent.com was the first of a long line of websites dedicated to generating interest in “The Dark Knight.
  • 24. “I Believe in Harvey Dent” Promotional Packs were sent to those who had registered on the way page.
  • 25. The page was defaced in order to build suspense as the first images of Heath Ledge as “The Joker” were released. This is a good example of modern viral marketing and traditional print based marketing working well together.
  • 26. More and more websites appeared urging fans to get involved in the world of “Gotham City”. This sight allowed fans too upload an image of themselves in “Joker” makeup. This ensures that the audience can engage directly with the campaign and will help to promote the film through “word of mouth” – perhaps via social networking sites.
  • 27. Warner Bros invited fans to follow an elaborate “case” of clues around the internet, following the fictional movements of “The Joker” until they were given a day, time and location to meet up.
  • 28. Hundreds of fans arrived in New York to see the Bat symbol projected onto the side of a sky scraper. The fans flocked to the symbol just as Batman follows as a sign to meet Commissioner Gordon in the film. Their prize was a preview of the first full length trailer. Publicity stunts like this are vastly important in creating hyper about an up and coming release.
  • 31. Key aspects of viral marketing which make it a success. • Astro-turfing • ‘ARG tasks which are co-ordinated through social networks and played out in the public domain. • Play’ or ‘Vandalisation’
  • 32. • Astro-turfing was evidently an important factor in the success of spreading various viral projects for TDK. • The solving of the puzzle on: WhySoSerious.com and whysoserios.com/Itsallpartoftheplan • Organising real-life joker rallies against Harvey Dent on: ibelieveinharveydent.com and rory’sdeathkiss.com • Registering online for the fictitious Gotham Times through rory’sdeathkiss.com and GCN – Gotham cable News online.
  • 33. Why Virals? • Virals tie into recent developments in Web 2.0 technology. • They are the institutions fight back against the netocracy created by online sites like YouTube and the loss of direct control over their material and the semiotic messages contained in them. • Virals are institutions answer to re-establishing an interfacing relationship with a younger technological audience.
  • 34. • Cross Media Promotion: What does this term mean in regards to marketing?
  • 37. Batman is the only fictional character ever to appear in the “Got Milk?” advert.
  • 38. Marketing The Dark Knight •A pre-sold film (DC comics, graphic novels, cartoons, television series, franchise (it is the sixth film), computer games…) •Bankable stars (Heath Ledger’s performance and untimely death) •Trailers (Teaser, theatrical, TV spots) •Merchandising (Toys – Mattel) •Reviews (Variety ‘Showbiz’ magazine) •The premieres •Shooting with IMAX cameras •The internet (YouTube, official and unofficial websites, fan sites, viral marketing)
  • 39. DISTRIBUTION • In the United States and Canada, The Dark Knight was distributed US Opening to 4,366 theaters, weekend breaking Gross: the $158,411,483 previous record for the highest number of theaters held by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in 2007. The number of theaters also included 94 IMAX theaters, with the film estimated to be played on 9,200 screens in the United States and Canada. • It premiered in the UK just one week later on July 24th on 502 screens. UK Opening weekend Gross: £11,191,824 • Online, ticketing services sold enormous numbers of tickets for approximately 3,000 midnight showtimes as well as unusually early showtimes for the film's opening day. All IMAX theaters showing The Dark Knight were sold out for the opening weekend.
  • 40. BOX OFFICE As of March 1st 2009, The Dark Knight has grossed $533,316,061 in the US and £48,685,166 in the UK. It’s total worldwide gross has been estimated at: $1,001,921,825 (Dec 2010) It was the highest grossing film of 2008 http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/
  • 41. BOX OFFICE Warner Bros. re-released the film in traditional theaters and IMAX theatres in the United States on January 23, 2009, the height of the voting for the Academy Awards, in order to further the chances of the film winning Oscars.
  • 42. Audience The Dark Knight was released in July around the world. This is the Summer blockbuster market and is the most important time of the year for film studios. During this time younger audiences are not in school and have more time and money to go to the cinema. Batman appeals to this demographic (age of people) because he is already established as a comic book character and as an action superhero. Due to his long history he is also well known to older generations and therefore has a large audience.
  • 43. DVD/Blu Ray The Dark knight was released by Warner Bros. on DVD, Blu Ray and digital formats on December 9th 2008. In the UK the film sold 513,000 units in one day and it holds the record for the most DVDs sold globally in one day – 3 million. (http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/11/business/fi-darkknight11) In March 2011, The Dark Knight became the first film available for rental on a social media website when Warner Bros. teamed with Facebook.
  • 44. • Warner Bros devoted six months to an anti-piracy strategy that involved tracking the people who had a pre-release copy of the film at any one time. • Shipping and delivery schedules were also staggered and spot checks were carried out both domestically and overseas to ensure illegal copying of the film was not taking place in cinemas. • A pirated copy was released on the Web approximately 38 hours after the film's release. BitTorrent search engine The Pirate Bay taunted the movie industry over its ability to provide the movie free, replacing its logo with a taunting message
  • 45. The Dark Knight Rises Filming began on the sequel to The Dark Knight on May 6th 2011. With an estimated budget of $250million the film released on July 20th 2012. It features all of the principle producers and actors from The Dark Knight and, in keeping with the release techniques from that film, has already had a teaser trailer, poster, viral campaign and received an IMAX-only prologue in front of Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol
  • 46. Discuss the varied forms of digital marketing that where used to market the How did those film forms engage the audience and thus lead to ‘hype’? To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the media area you have studied? How did TDK use digital forms of marketing? How did TDK use digital forms of marketing? Is this above the line or below Is this above the line or below explain explain Discuss the varied forms of digital marketing that where used to market the film How did those forms engage the audience and thus lead to ‘hype’? Do you think it had an impact on Box Office takings? DVD sales? Do you think it had an impact on Box Office takings? DVD sales? What more effective above the line, below the What more effective above the line, below the line, both? line, both? Don’t forget to include an Don’t forget to include an INTRODUCTION and a INTRODUCTION and a CONCLUSION CONCLUSION

Editor's Notes

  1. You should establish that the studio wanted to keep the film shrouded in mystery as this relates to the marketing of the film. Questions: Why did the sequel get green-lit? Demand after Begins was successful.
  2. It is worth noting here how Legendary pictures has produced some very successful films since 2005. They have a very strong relationship with directors, working closely with Chris Nolan, Zach Snyder and Todd phillips(the hangover movies, due date). The company is now producing the next Batman film (The Dark Knight Rises), and the new Superman film directed by Zach Snyder. They are a big-budget company.
  3. Traditional marketing: Posters and trailers.
  4. New and online marketing: Merchandising.
  5. Traditional marketing: Posters and trailers.
  6. The most interesting points here would be to explore the Viral marketing. See this website for more info http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/why-the-dark-knights-viral-marketing-is-absolutely-brilliant/ Christopher Nolan was also very insistant in using IMAX for the quality of the Image. It also got the film into more cinemas and increased it’s B.O. Takings as IMAX screens charge more and have extended runs and special screenings. I saw the film at 2am the day it came out at an IMAX screening. It was sold out, people were dressed up (including me) and it was a big deal. The premier of the film caused a standstill in Leicester Square and props from the film (including the car) were brought it to drive around outside the cinema.
  7. You should also add that the film is still receiving special screenings in IMAX cinemas (I went to one in MAY of this year) and that this figure does not include DVD sales.
  8. You should also add that the film is still receiving special screenings in IMAX cinemas (I went to one in MAY of this year) and that this figure does not include DVD sales.
  9. Why do you think that Facebook wanted a film like The Dark Knight to be the first film they offered?
  10. Why is the budget so high?