It’s not like we didn’t see this coming. With a high-profile, high-expectation, high-budget franchise movie like TDKR, the flow of information and tantalization starts early and goes often — fans want to know, and studios are eager to fan the flames of anticipation for as long as possible (it’s all free advertising, after all). The announcement that it will be made, who will be back, what the title will be. Predictions of the storyline: which villains will be added for this installment? Casting announcements — new cast members, and possible unexpected returns. Teaser posters. Previews of teaser trailers. Official photos. Premature tattoos. Soundtrack news, location news, handwringing over the sound mix — and the movie is still six months away. (And yes, those are all our links. We’re not claiming innocence here.)
The point is, mere advertising is no longer what we’re talking about here; we’re in an era of advertising for advertising. We hear about trailer releases days beforehand — teases for teases. Back in December, Fox led up to the release of the sort-of–maybe-but-not-really Alien prequel, Prometheus, with a series of three thirty-second “sneak peeks.” This snake is eating its own tail.
Is it even possible, in this climate of non-stop entertainment “news” and media hyper-saturation, to just walk into a movie and be surprised? Last week, Avengers director Joss Whedon told us that The Avengers would be told from Captain America’s perspective. Great! Any reason we couldn’t have just found that out when we went to the movie? Did that nugget change anyone’s mind? “I wasn’t gonna go, because Iron Man is a dick.”
“No wait, look! It’s told from Captain America’s point of view!”
“Really? Thanks friend, now I’m sold. When does that motion picture come out?”
“Great. Can we buy tickets now?”
It’s too much. They have a product to sell — and, again, in the interest of at least acknowledging the charge of hypocrisy, a site like ours is helping peddle it. But we’re also buying it, and at times, we just want them to stop selling it so hard. Look, Warner Brothers, we’re gonna go see Dark Knight Rises. We don’t have to have bullshit stories about how Anne Hathaway’s going to breathe fancy to remind us to go see it in six months; a couple of weeks of not hearing about the movie isn’t going to make us forget that it’s going to come out. And even if we somehow did, we’re pretty sure the millions you’ll spend on print ads and TV spots and trailers and taxi toppers and bus banners will remind us. Calm down.
(Then again, this could just be your author’s bitterness talking. I’m a little steamed that the midnight show is already sold out. Not that I definitely would’ve bought a couple… but it was awfully hard to see The Dark Knight there. Had to wait a couple of weeks. Ended up going to like a Sunday midnight show…)
What do you think? Is the hype machine out of control? Or is there enough of a hunger for this stuff?