The Dark Knight is an American superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan in 2008. It is based on the DC Comics of the character Batman and a sequel to Batman Begins.
Its production companies also includes Warner Brothers Pictures and Syncopy. On the 20th July 2008, the film was released on 4,366 screens in the USA and 502 screens in the UK, on 27th July 2008. The estimated budget to produce the film was $185,000,000. Both the cast and plot of the film creates representations of locations and characters to the audience through narrative and genre codes.
With reference to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, The Joker would be placed into the psychological category. Simply because, he thrills from the idea of causing pain towards others by twisting their minds and seeing others unhappy. Contrasting to this, Rachel, belongs to the love/belonging category, as she is the love interest and wants to be happy in a relationship.
Although, she does focus a lot on her career, which shows a real independent, intelligent woman. The audience see that this has an impact on the traditional attitudes and values the female representations, as we usually expect the woman to play a less hard-working gender role.
With relation to a historical context, during the post-war period, people did view themselves in terms of class, role and life stage and this is where this controversy comes into play.
People are attracted to different brands due to their attitudes and values. The Dark Knight uses different types of advertising to influence how the audience will respond. One key example is viral marketing such as, whysoserious.com. Email addresses were filtered into a website and caused a chain reaction to develop, which created the image of Harvey Dent.
Some viewers believed this to be The Joker and that he was an urban myth. Afterwards, the website was replaced with an error message. The hidden code behind this was: ‘Ha ha ha’, which conveyed the message that The Joker was going to be on our screens very soon. Also, it revealed hints about his selfish persona.
In addition to this, citizens of 22 cities came to several bakeries and got a cake made for Mr Robin Banks. Each cake contained a cell phone and were used for communication with a criminal that resulted to the distribution of propaganda.
Another specific example is how the promotions team sponsored the production of a web comic book series about a comic book store. Warner Brothers paid $36,000 for the first five episodes of ‘Kyle Piccolo’: Comic Shop Therapist. This decision was made in hopes of targeting the comic book audience and attracting them towards The Dark Knight.
Each show would feature an exclusive trailer of the movie before and after each episode. The mass audience has a great deal of relevance to the move because, Batman started as a comic book superhero and by targeting this audience, the promotions team were able to fascinate more and more fans.
Further promotion was done in other areas such as, with promotional games and applications before the DVD release. Leading up to 9th December’s DVD and Blu-ray release of The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers set up a couple of Dark Knight related games for all fans to play. The first game was called, ‘The Dark Knight Puzzle’.
This impressive motion picture poster includes the text: ‘Welcome to a World without Rules’. This indicates that the film shows a lot of crime without punishment. The building of Gotham City of fire shaped as Batman is iconic to the audience as we relate fire to danger; however, Batman is featured as the superhero, which restores the American values of a safe and secure city. A low angle of the protagonist reinforces this powerful status, which he holds. Subsequently, we wonder if Batman creates the light in the film to take away the ‘dark’.
The trailer gained a great level of success in reaching its mass audience. This was due to the many comments by fans, which were posted via online platforms such as, “The Joker – best movie villain ever.” This perception raises attention to the audience in that, the film will be worth the watch and we will see the best portrayal of a villain yet in this superhero film.
The use of production logos create audience recognition such as DC Comics and Warner Brothers. Both are a global phenomenon and are famous for their history of success, therefore the film’s poster is perceived to share the film’s similar success.
Last but not least, it is worthy to mention another perspective from the audience. One spectator via guardian.co.uk states, “Ledger has a weird collection of tics and twitches.” This is true as he does manipulate peoples’ minds in order to achieve his own happiness.
Furthermore, images of his white faced make-up on such posters are constantly cracking and peeling away, where the audience wonder if this is due to his dry tears where he has experienced sorrow in the past (slash scars in the corner of his mouth). It reveals that, as tough as a character may seem, there are always emotional connotations from a contextual point of view.
To conclude, due to the web being an increasing visual medium, social networks, forums and marketing pages are gaining a great attraction from their users. The use of new digital media enables people to connect online, to share and read about the product, price, place and promotion.