Monday, June 16, 2008

One month away...

It's official. The Dark Knight will run 152 minutes long when it opens on July 18th. As said release date gets closer (counting inevitable advance night or midnight screenings, it's a month from tomorrow), the anticipation is only growing. I wrote last month that the running time and the morbid family unfriendly advertising campaign would likely cost it a chance at setting records, but I'm getting more optimistic. This is about the same running time as Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 and Spider-Man 3 (the two previous weekend record-breakers), so running time may not be an issue. I still wouldn't count out the sheer ghoulishness and intensity of the ads and posters, as I've read more than one post or comment regarding having to leave the kids at home.

But still... this is easily the most talked-about movie of the summer, and probably the most anticipated. I haven't seen this much excitement for a superhero film since... well... since Batman back in 1989. The merchandising isn't as frenzied and the tie-ins aren't as overzealous, but that level of excitement seems to be there. Literally every human being I know is pumped for this one. All of my coworkers, all of my friends, my wife, my parents, they all are at least very curious to see what Nolan and co pulled off (hell, my nine-month old wants to see it, but I think she's just saying that to humor daddy).

The idea of Batman reclaiming his place atop the box office mountain is an incredibly appealing one. Batman and his cast (the rogues, Jim Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, Leslie Thompkins, etc) represent my favorite fictional characters, and it was the original Batman films that made me the box office geek I am today, for whatever that's worth. I hesitate to even toss the idea out there, for I don't want to be in any way responsible for the false chorus of failure if the film only opens to a perfectly reasonable $75 million in the first three days. But, usually when the anticipation factor is this high and the excitement continues to grow at this point, usually that's when records fall. We'll see.

Scott Mendelson

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