Thursday, 8 March 2012

When we were doing that 'Why So Serious?' research and homework, I started looking at The Dark Knight Rises marketing campaign (which has turned into a non-thing really, it started up but then fizzled into nothing), and it made me realise how much The Dark Knight really did capitalise on Heath Ledger's death, and it really, really, really annoyed me and nobody wanted to listen to me rage about this, so I'm going to rage about it here (whilst making it media-related by adding research and vaguely making it a general research into that trilogy of films).

Right, so if you look at the trailers for all three of the films: (Batman Begins) (The Dark Knight) (The Dark Knight Rises)

The focus of the first trailer is, obviousy, Batman. This is so that it can establish that Christian Bale (I don't care how much of a diva he is, I love him) is Batman and the background story. The Scarecrow and Ra's al Ghul, the villains of the film, are not really the main focuses of the trailer, and are shown briefly. It's not even explicitly shown that Ra's is a villain. This also true of the third trailer. The main focus of this one is Bruce Wayne's journey, and makes a huge deal about it being the end of the series. Bane is only shown for like two seconds, and Selina Kyle isn't shown at all. But, then you look at the second trailer (for The Dark Knight), and the villain/Batman ratio is evened out somewhat. This trailer features the main villain far more prominently, and the whole trailer is really about him. The Joker is definitely the selling point of the trailer. This can also be seen in the posters. I won't post them here, as it'll take up too much space, but the posters for the first and third film more prominently feature Batman, with the villain not really getting his/her own poster. But, for the second film, The Joker practically dominates the posters, and all the other merchandise. The Joker was absolutely EVERYWHERE just before the film came out; on the TV, on posters, on merchandise, people were quoting him, and it was just insane. But did this happen for any of the other villains? No. It did not. The Joker was made so big by the marketing of the film that he has two memes in his honour: 'why so serious?' and 'it's simple: we kill the ____'.

Now I know that The Joker is the best character ever, but why else would they do this?


I will never not be angry at how Warner Brothers capitalised on Heath Ledger's death to sell their film. His death, as is public knowledge, was the result of a mental breakdown due to preparing for his role in the film. As I said in a powerpoint somewhere down there, a scandal like that can make or break a film. Warner Brothers subtly changed their marketing to make sure his death wouldn't prevent people from seeing the film, but would in fact make people more interested in seeing it. Before he died, their marketing was not actually focused on The Joker, as the 'Why So Serious?' campaign was not originally intended to focus so much on him, but was changed after. They selfishly used the loss of a human life to make money, and it makes me sick. It's actually kind of ironic how they subtly forced his death upon everyone to sell tickets, seeing as Heath Ledger wasn't really a guy to bask in the limelight and share his personal life with everybody. And since when is it right to reduce a human life down to nothing more than selling tickets?


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