Franchise and Reboot on Dark Knight Trilogy
The movie industry is dynamic and competitive (Foundas, 2013). This requires that the movie producers be at par with the changes that constantly shape the industry (Holmes, 2013). Failing to match up with the new standard might result in great disappointment, as witnessed in Batman and Robin. Normally, in creation of superb movie, a lot of financial capital is required in the production and promotion of the new work to penetrate and create significant influence on the global market. This paper seeks to expound on the extent that The Dark Knight Trilogy reboot the Batman character for the new audiences.
The Reboot on Dark Knight Trilogy
The Batman character has sufficiently created significant influence to the audience through playing a vital role in Dark Knight Trilogy (Fradley, 2013). The original creation of Batman was made by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and appeared in the first film; Detective Comic (International Business, 2012). Batman was featured in many other fictional superhero movies, with other names, such as “Caped Crusader” and “Dark Knight” and considered the “world’s greatest detective”. Unlike many other superhero movies, Batman does not possess any super powers, but rather, they rely on their genius intellect, martial arts skills, physical stamina, detective abilities, and science and technology to significantly settle disputes and provide solution to various aspects in the society (Tryon, 2013). The adaptation of the Batman character in The Dark Knight Trilogy portrays a critical figure in superhero genre.
In late 1990’s, the Batman franchise was on its all-time high (Hughes, 2007). The coming of Batman Forever in the year 1995 was a great box-office success. The Batman & Robin was created in 1997, directed by Joel Schumacher and the main star was George Clooney, who acted as the new Batman and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. The movie was a big box-office disappointment, with much criticism emanating from the fans after its release (Brooker, 2013). The movie was trashed by critics, and the fans expressed their disappointment. After the great disappointment, the Batman franchise was dormant for eight years until the rebirth of Batman franchise through The Dark Knight Trilogy. In the latent period, many filmmakers made attempts to resurrect the Batman franchise from its ember-filled grave. This includes the efforts of renowned filmmakers including film gurus, such as Joel Schumacher, Darren Aronofsky, and Boaz Yakin. However, it took the efforts of one film maker; Christopher Nolan, to revive and rejuvenate the Batman franchise (McCullough, 2013). Christopher Nolan was just coming from a successful venture in Memento that had pulverized the indie community and put Christopher Nolan on the map of film industry, as a creative and upcoming film director. In 2002, Christopher Nolan had directed Insomnia; a mid-size studio film for the Warner Bros. Christopher Nolan became the first director, in the history of Batman’s franchise, to direct and complete Batman trilogy (Jesser & Pourroy, 2012).
The Dark Knight Trilogy is a super hero film based on renowned character; Batman. The trilogy is made of three film creations; Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), created by David S. Goyer and Jonathan, and directed by Christopher Nolan (Glimer, 2013). The films borrows a lot from Batman; The Animated Series. Despite all the dimensions taken by the trilogy to accommodate different desperate elements into one unified vision, the movie fans widely considers the trilogy some of the best adaptation of the Batman franchise in the history of the superhero genre (Jesser & Pourroy, 2012). The trilogy has been known widely for its decisive story line and commercial success. The Dark Knight Trilogy is considered a groundbreaking movie that transformed the superhero genre (Fradley, 2013).
In the last two decades, film studios have released and re-released (rebooted) movies featuring great heroes from comic novel. The movies are reframed with new plots, new actors, and new technology to create a thundering comeback. This has seen the reboots make loads of money on the opening weekend. When Superman was rebooted in 2006, his new movie made $52 million on the launching weekend (Canal, 2015). The movie industry is creating more focus on reboots because most of films re-released in the last few years have shown significant success, beating the initial earning of the original movies by far (Canal, 2015). Similarly, the Batman’s reboot in The Dark knight Trilogy has re-energized the superhero character for the new audience. It creation with uniqueness compared to all other Batman franchise was meant to bring a new influence.
Two decades ago, the Batman franchise was in a different level than it is currently. Before Batman Begins, the future of Batman franchise was sparred with great uncertainty (Mac, 2012). The franchise had succumbed to its lowest level after a great disappointment on the Batman & Robin. After the disappointment, there was need for a revival plan that would bring a new paradigm in the Batman franchise (Corliss, 2012). A significant input into transmedia storytelling has been a key strategy employed in the Batman franchise to create vital influence using one superhero character. The need to make use of different media platforms and different techniques to attract a wide range of audience has been in the mind of every movie maker (Vaz, 2005). The revival plan to glorify Batman was actualized under the leadership of Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight Trilogy. The Trilogy gave Batman, the hero, his dominant influence, dignity, and legend status. There were many websites created for the Dark Knight Transmedia narrative. So serious website; (http://www.whysoserious.com/) was one among many websites created to market the marketing. The website brought out the story of Batman reboot, linked the two films, and most significantly, made majority of the fans feel as citizens of Gotham city. This was a significant step that leads to great success during the opening weekend. Also, a year before the launching event, Warner Bros. worked with collaboration of 42 entertainment to launch and alternative reality games (ARG).
The chat below expresses the comparison between the opening weekend earnings realized on the originals and reboots in several movies released between 1990 and 2010 as presented by Forbes.com (Canal, 2015).
Fig 1. Original versus Reboot
Following unsuccessful bid and box office frustration as a result of Batman & Robin in 1997, the Warner Bros decided to reboot the film franchise to give it a better look and attract a new set of audience. Initially, the superhero movies created under Batman’s franchise focused on capturing a smaller group of audience, and particularly the youths (Vaz, 2005). The target audience for Batman reboot was generally to capture a wide range of audience, both young and the old. In order to achieve this goal, the reboot has welcomed diverse elements that would attract both groups of audience. Elements of violence, guns, explosions, current technology, and cool vehicle are more attractive to the young group of audience. On the other hand, a more judicious approach of tackling conflicts and criminal activities, as portrayed in the character of batman is more appealing to the elderly audience. Batman, unlike other superheroes does not kill people or use guns to tackle criminal elements in Gotham City. After the bitter lessons that Batman gets from the death of his parents, he chooses to use other means rather that gun and killing to tackle criminal activities in Gotham City.
More than seven years after the flop of Batman & Robin, that almost pushed the superhero (Batman) in a deep freeze, David Goyer and Christopher Nolan made a significant contribution to rejuvenate the character of Batman through the first entry in The Dark Knight Trilogy; Batman Begins. Though there was doubt in the minds of many superhero genres’ fans, after the great disappointment witnessed in Batman & Robin, the reboot idea was timely and significant. It acted as a savior car that would help jump start a stalled Batman franchise car on a film industry highway. When the movie was launched, the doubt was cleared as the reboot received great applause from the fans. The renewal of batman franchise started with getting the best director and best cast, which at the time was considered the greatest cast out in the history of superhero genre (Ranke, 2013). Christian Bale acted as Bruce Wayne (Batman), though unknown to majority of mainstream audience but very well known to a set of movie maniacs as Patrick Bateman in the American Psycho. Though many fans felt that Bale was not equal to the task, and would not take back Batman to his heroic glory, he later proved otherwise, emerging the greatest actor in the history of Batman franchise (Ranke, 2013). Nolan intended to fill out his film cast with well-known and established actors. He considered actors like Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and Michael Caine in main acting positions.
One important fact that Nolan considered in rebooting the character of Batman was the fact that people always value uniqueness and a sense of creativity in new creations. After the flop of Batman & Robin, people wanted to see a new metamorphosis in Batman’s Franchise. In his venture to revive Batman franchise, Nolan’s pitch was simple; to bring out Batman’s origin (McCullough, 2013). The history of reboot in film industry did not start and end with batman franchise. In 2006, James Bond was reinvented with the reboot Casino Royale (Arnett, 2009). In 2012, Sony & Colombia revived the superhero Spider-Man in the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. The intention of Batman’s reboot was to capture wide range of audience through engaging some elements of realism and humanism.
Each series in the trilogy was a box-office success; however, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises experienced greater success with both earning over $1 billion globally. This success has seen the trilogy gain worldwide recognition as being the crowning achievement of the superhero genre (Christiansen, 2013). The trilogy was intended to have a more realistic tone, with realism and humanity being the central aspects in the film. Rebooting Batman was a timely approach that brought newness and vigor in the Batman franchise (Jesser & Pourroy, 2012). It was strategic approach to move away from ordinary, and create better reality-based film. Humanity and realism in the film was brought about by contemporary reality featuring the origin of the amazing heroic figure (Batman).
Batman Begins is the first among the three films in The Dark Knight Trilogy that was created following the rejection of Batman original story. The film was written by David Goyer and Christopher Nolan, and produced in Chicago and Iceland (McCullough, 2013). The Intention of Nolan was to reinvent the film franchise of the superhero (Batman) through creative story line that would capture the origin of the super hero (Jesser & Pourroy, 2012). This was a great idea since the origin story of the chief character had never been told before. The creation of the film utilized scale models and traditional stunts with minimal application of computer generated imagery (Jesser & Pourroy, 2012). Batman Begins was launched on 15th June, 2005 in both the United States of America (USA) and Canada. In its launching weekend, it managed to gross $48 million, and later grossing over $372 million worldwide. The film tell the original story of the superhero (Batman), from the alter ego Bruce Wayne’s initial phobia of bats, the death of his parents, his transformation to become Batman, and his efforts to stop Scare crow and Ra’s al Ghul from pulling Gotham City into Chaotic primacy (Vaz, 2005). The main aspect of Bruce Wayne’s intention to become Batman was to develop a symbol of something, an emblem that a morally upright society would recon with (Smith, Sun & Lewis, 2014). Batman Begins introduced audience to Bale’s Bruce Wayne, an orphaned member of the Gotham City’s upper class who decides that the only way to fight the moral vice (crime) is through plaguing Gotham with a different form, dressed up as a bat to punch the criminals on their faces (Nolan, Thomas& Roven, July 14, 2008). In doing so, he becomes a beacon of hope where people can gain inspiration of doing better in a corrupt and evil society. This is main thread that is replicated in all the three movies, and in The Dark Knight Rise, Batman is honored as the savior of the city.
The Dark Knight Rises is fascinating culmination to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy reboot of the DC Comics character (Glimer, 2013). This was a movie that attracted more than a billion dollars in the global arena. The show isdifferent from standard summer action-fantasy (McCullough, 2013). Out of Christopher Nolan’s creativity, the movie is rarely encoded with political overtone and social allegory and an overwhelming sense of human decency (McCullough, 2013). Instead, there is great uniqueness in the creation of the movie, with more candy colored, lightweight, frothy.
Nolan’s Trilogy was received with mixed reaction from fans and critics, though majority have agreed that the film series was created with precise consideration to bring a more realistic approach, different from all other Batman’s franchise (Mac, 2012). Majority have considered the trilogy to be the best super hero genre ever made (Corliss, 2012). The success emanates from its sheer quality, realism, and humanism, a fact that makes fans to easily relate to the reboot. The picture of true hero in a conflict dominated society is clearly brought out in the reboot of Batman franchise (Knapp, 2012). There is a lot that can be learned from the trilogy that not only makes it necessary for entertainment purposes but also for moral enforcement in the society. Nolan’s creation was great, and it created a new cinematic universe that redefined the manner in which superhero movies are made. Director Nolan carries all the praise for raising the Batman franchise from its ember-filled grave that befell the franchise during Batman & Robin launch. Nolan did things differently, unlike the previous Batman franchise, with humanity and realism being the central appeal to his film (Christiansen, 2013). In the movie, Nolan intended to convey the current situation, and expose moral decadence, corruption, and decay in the society through very extreme contents (Glimer, 2013).
Similar to Nolan’s Batman, the reboot of James Bond came with a darker scene and a more serious tone (Hochscherf, 2013). Daniel Craig’s version of 007 is a superficially much more damaged person than the incarnations acted by the likes of Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. It was a successful venture that saw Skyfall and Casino Royale standing out as two of the greatest James Bond movies ever made (Hochscherf, 2013). However, it was surprising that the successful franchise would turn its back on that significant part of history and legacy. In other developing Bond’s franchise, a different character will be chosen to replace Daniel Craig.
Daniel Craig is described as the best Bond in the James Bond franchise by majority of his fans (Arnett, 2009). In his fictions, 007 is one of the most commercially successful creations in the series history. In 2012, Skyfall turned to be the first movie in the Bond’s franchise to pass $1 billion worldwide (Hochscherf, 2013). Spectre managed to raise $ 300 million within a period of two weeks of its release. Among the seven workers who have played Bond in twenty six films, Daniel Crag has been considered the greatest of all the actors in the James Bond franchise.
Casino Royale is a reboot of James Bond series that was established on a new narrative framework that did not precede the previous work of James Bond film (Nitins, 2011). The reboot allows the portrayal of a weaker character, a less knowledgeable and more defenseless Bond. This brought about some element of realism in the Bond’s films. In reality, it is not possible to find a perfect person who does not make mistake. Daniel Crag was selected to succeed Pierce Bronsnan in 2005 in a selection that involves wide spread search to have a superb talent.
James Bond, just like Batman, is a substantially demanding role that requires best talents to create a significant influence. Bond franchise short of the talent of Craig has only managed a marginal business. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo managed to raise $232 million globally, and with the $1million budget, there was little or marginal benefits after exhibitors got their stake (Hochscherf, 2013). As a result of this predicament, Sony decided to reboot the movie with a new actor. Films like The Inversion, Dream House and Cowboys and Aliens have received voluminous criticism and as a result ended up losing millions of dollars in the process. In the James Bond franchise, Daniel Craig is considered the most significant character that brought great success in the history of the series. However, his popularity has not rendered to other ventures despite his substantial talent.
The Dark Knight trilogy is the greatest cinematic trilogy of Batman ever made. The overall tone expressed in the trilogy is realistic compared to majority of the movies derived from comic-books. The world around the superhero is plausible and not particularly exaggerated as most people would expect. The success of The Dark Knight Trilogy, as some would assert, is based on its realism. In creating the reboot, Nolan wanted to portray a more realistic approach, which could perfectly relate with the real life situation. The majority of superhero genres make use of character with supernatural powers. However, majority of the audience are not able to relate with super beings because they only exist in different worlds.
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