Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
I have been desperate to write, in-depth, about this topic for many weeks [indeed, SPOILERS AHEAD] and it seems that now is the right time. Ray Subers writes for Box Office Mojo:
“Early this weekend, The Dark Knight Rises flew past The Dark Knight’s overseas total. The conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy added $21.4 million from 61 markets, which brought its total to $488.6 million. That’s ahead of The Dark Knight’s $469.7 million, and Rises will drastically widen that gap with openings in China and Italy at the end of the month.“
Read the full article here.
And, to connect-the-dots, an article (amongst many) whereby Joseph Gordon-Levitt dicusses the future of his role in The Dark Knight Trilogy on MTV.com…
“Even though the Robin twist has dominated so much of the post-Dark Knight Rises conversation, Gordon-Levitt does not see the ending as a tease for a future movie. ‘Honestly, I know a lot of people talk about the ending of that movie being a setup for a sequel,’ he said. ‘I don’t think that’s necessarily what it is. I think it’s a great, perfect ending for that trilogy.’“
Read the full article here.
When I left the cinema on July 18th, I felt the same as Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is symbolic. It is an optimistic end for the citizens of Gotham. There is no intention of creating a fourth-installment…
Then again, the whole “rebooting” of a franchise – so soon after the end of the previous series – has been witnessed this year already. Spider-Man 3 released in 2007 earned a whopping $890m worldwide. Not in 3D. This year, we saw The Amazing Spider-Man released, only five years after the abrupt end of Sam Raimi’s series! It reacted to the negative opinions of the third film and the spiralling costs of the series – as Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Raimi were all asking for a bump-up in pay. But, the 2012 release is currently the lowest-performing Spider-Man film earning $696m worldwide – almost $200m less than the previous film. Whatever your opinion of the reboot – and whether you believed it was a good or bad movie – the financial reality is that it is not in the same league as the other films. In this respect (though it made enough money to warrant a second film) it lost money in comparison. A lot of money.
Now imagine you are a Warner Bros. executive. You have planned on rebooting a series but, in doing so, you will potentially lose a huge chunk of the audience that ensured The Dark Knight Rises‘ financial success. I would assume the best business decision would be to ensure that those fans continue to attend Batman films of the future. You don’t want to be responsible for losing $200m. The Dark Knight, they claimed, was exceptionally successful due to the outstanding performance of Heath Ledger combined with his tragic death before the film’s release. It seems that the success of The Dark Knight Rises proves it was much more than that. This is a franchise which you don’t want to reboot… and you don’t want to wait years before the next film is released.
Contrary to my initial feelings, they would be stupid not to continue. By continuing the series, the worst-case scenario is a fourth installment that pulls a little less than the previous films’ earnings, with a critical backlash. If it even got half as much, that is still $450m. Still a worthy investment. A reboot ‘worst-case’ scenario would be considerably less box-office, critical backlash (they weren’t kind to The Amazing Spider-Man) and irreversibly stopping any possible connection to the Nolan trilogy. Again, the executive within me believes that a fourth film is the only way forward.
|That surely is a Batman jaw.|
But where could it go? We know Warner Bros. wants a Justice League film and with Man of Steel due to hit next year, it doesn’t take too long to record a quick Joseph-Gordon Levitt cameo for a post-credits sequence. At the very least, the cameo would grab a fair few extra ticket sales (I know the only reason I watched The Incredible Hulk was because I heard Iron Man was in a cameo… and I didn’t have even half as much interest in Iron Man as I do with The Dark Knight films). Then a Wonder Woman film in 2014 (nab Joss Whedon for that before he starts on The Avengers 2) with Justice League hitting 2015. Almost, as a trial, if audiences love seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ‘Batman/Nightwing/Robin’ in Justice League, then this can guarantee another Batman film. As an example, despite two disappointing Hulk films, Ruffalo’s interpretation in The Avengers has single-handedly revived the brand and now it is rumoured that the Hulk will be the basis for a Marvel TV series – or some future films.
I know, I know. Batman is a symbol. He is an idea. And that’s the point of the ending and the centre-point of the entire trilogy itself. But damn! It might be fun to see Jo-Go as that symbol. Comment below to say how you think they should continue this series…
Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen – Available now via Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.