Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Would Warner risk hurting Sherlock Holmes 2 to promote The Dark Knight Rises?

Put this one in the 'crazy rumor that seems self-defeating' category.  Slashfilm is reporting (as a rumor, to be fair) that Warner Bros. may be attaching an eight-minute IMAX preview of The Dark Knight Rises to IMAX prints of Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol.  On the surface, it makes sense. Warner Bros. debuted the shot-in-IMAX prologue for The Dark Knight in front of IMAX prints of I Am Legend back in December 2007 while debuting the conventional two-minute trailer in front of 35mm prints of the same film on the same day.  Since Warner Bros doesn't have an IMAX film coming out this holiday season, and since Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol has about 25 minutes worth of IMAX footage, it certainly seems a logical match. But there is a BIG 'BUT' here.

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol will be debuting in IMAX five days ahead of its conventional 35mm release date.  So the technical premiere of this Dark Knight Rises footage would be December 16th, 2011.  Well, that is of course the same day as the opening of Warner Bros' Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  I've long presumed that we'd see the second teaser-trailer in front of Sherlock Holmes 2, following the same general pattern as The Dark Knight's marketing schedule (which would include a longer trailer attached to The Avengers in May).  So, with Warner Bros. debuting its own highly valuable franchise sequel on December 16th, with the option of debuting an 'exclusive' teaser for The Dark Knight Rises, why would they help Paramount by offering Mission: Impossible IV its own 'exclusive' IMAX sneak-peak, on the same day no-less?  Of course, Warner Bros. may feel that the IMAX opening weekend of Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol will not cut into the opening weekend of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, but why-oh-why would Warner Bros. be willing to help a rival studio's franchise in such a way?

Obviously this will be confirmed or denied in the next few days or so, but it will be interesting to see if Warner Bros. is so exclusively concerned with hyping The Dark Knight Rises (a film that arguably doesn't need any hype at all) that they are willing to shoot their other films in the foot in the process.  What do you think?  If this is true, does it make sense for Warner Bros to risk the opening weekend of Sherlock Holmes 2 in order to further-tease The Dark Knight Rises?

Scott Mendelson

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