“[Heath Ledger], who died Tuesday of unknown causes at age 28, had finished filming ‘The Dark Knight’ late last year. It’s due to be released in July. But marketing of the film, currently in post-production, has been thrown into turmoil, the trade paper Variety notes.
The early push for the film has focused on Ledger’s villainous Joker character, including a poster with a shrouded Joker scrawling ‘Why So Serious?’ in blood on misty glass.
The film’s studio, Warner Bros., recently restructured its marketing department, Variety reports, after the departure of the executive who helped create the ‘Dark Knight’ campaign. (Warner Bros., like CNN, is a unit of Time Warner.)
The trade paper speculates that the marketing campaign will be changed abruptly.”
– January 24 CNN Article
This is the main advertisement in limbo as described by the CNN article.
Why? Why change this? Warner Brothers, if you’re afraid of people yelling about how you’re exploiting his death as a way to sell the movie, then I think you have incorrect thinking. Yes, having this ad still run may have some people mad. Yes, it may also make more people show up to your movies later in this year when this untimely death is old news.
However, this is not WHY you should change this. (And you also shouldn’t not change it because you’re going to rake in big bucks either, as some people are predicting will happen)
I don’t think it should be changed at all: the Joker is WHAT THE STORY’S ABOUT. Sure it’s about Batman and about Gothum City. But the stories of Batman, whether they be comic book, television series or movie, have always been focused on the main villain. To change this would be ludicrous in my opinion; you’re changing the way that things have always been. The subject is what the movie poster should represent. Many times, movie posters stray away from this and lose their interesting features, the part that makes the selling medium they should always be. Posters are advertisements, and when you see a bad advertisement, you’re willing to walk away from it. Many posters do just the opposite of trailers: they don’t tell people anything about the storyline.
But this does.
This is possibly the most brilliant movie poster I’ve ever seen. Other than being beautifully designed and skillfully planned, it’s simple and gets straight to the point the movie represents: this is about a mysterious, psychopathic killer who hangs in the shadows but causes fear from those shadows. THIS represents the movie and nothing else they make (well, nothing else without the Joker) will portray the film the way this does.
Having a picture of Batman on the poster will not only be just a poster of Batman, but it will look fairly similar to the poster used for “Batman Begins.” (I feel that using just Batman on the “BB” poster was all right because the story mainly revolved around the growth of Batman.) What does this say about the movie? Nothing other than the fact it has Batman in it. Big deal; there have been PLENTY of Batman movies. This would do NOTHING to drive sales, which I must state once again as the purpose of a movie poster.
I will be on internet protest if the Joker is removed from all advertisements. If anything, keeping the Joker in the posters is a tribute to the great job that Ledger has done replaying the role no one thought he could pull off.