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The Dark knight and the methods it’s producers used

Audience research


The Dark Knight was released in 2008 and is the second installment of the Batman trilogy. This action superhero film was produced, directed, and co-written by Christopher Nolan, plus it is based on the DC comics Batman. With this film being the sequel to Batman Begins which has a worldwide box office gross of $359,142,722 the film was guaranteed to have a significant interest in it. The producer’s objective was to get the audience to ‘invest in his cinematic reality’. Christopher Nolan conducts his audience research first by gaining inspiration through James Bong films. “At a certain point the Bond films fixed in my head as great examples of scope and scale,” Nolan stated. Nolan also said that he was especially taken by the “globetrotting” aspect of the Bond series and by the “idea of trying to get you along for the ride.” For example, Nolan also looked at the 1960 Bond films, and examining the threat of nuclear terrorism within the films. In the Dark Knight films, the viewers can clearly see that Gotham is facing threats which can be classed as contemporary and modern forms of terrorism. An example of how Nolan applied his research to Bond films can be seen through Christian Bale’s attire in certain scenes with a suave mannerism. An example of this can be found in the extract where The Joker crashes the ball searching for Harvey Dent, and then discovers who Dent’s girlfriend is, Rachael.

Another aspect that Nolan looked at was making the film comply to the uses and gratifications theory in order to make the audience more active. “Audiences are more easily pulled in when they can see how and why characters develop the way they do. With Batman, if he just arrived fully formed into an ordinary world with the ears and the cape, it would have been laughable,” said Nolan. “The way around it is to understand why he’s doing that and to try and involve the audience in the mental process, the audience absorbs the film in a linear fashion; and then it lives in a non-linear space in the brain.”

Producer response to research

The producers ensures the success of the film earing a profit by conducting audience research to examine its target audience. After that this then allows the producer to advertise and market the film effectively so the target audience will go and watch it. Examples of research that Nolan would have conducted into the viewer’s attitudes and interests towards a film or marketing strategies include: Test screenings of finished or nearly finished films, Testing of audience response to advertising materials, and exit surveys to an audience about marketing effectiveness and overall review. These are really effective techniques for the producer to use because it enables them to see how effective other films which are being premiered the same time as the Dark Knight, plus

test screenings generate feedback for the producer on the film to understand if the target audience have any criticisms or suggestions before the general release of the film. The feedback that Christopher receiver on the film was overly positive, especially on Heath Ledger’s acting as the Joker. One viewer said: “Amazing writing, incredibly suspenseful, and just really satisfying, everything I wanted in a movie!”


Audience targeting


When determining what the target audience was for The Dark Knight, I examined the male gaze theory. Looking at Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory, the male audience may view the female characters, especially Maggie Gyllenhaal, sexually as she is the only memorable female character and she is seen wearing tight and low-cut outfits. This is because even though she is represented in being powerful and

someone who makes her own decisions, she is also portrayed as being seductive. This is also due to the fact that she has both Harvey Dent and the Batman lusting after her. The theory suggests that the audience is forced to view the text from a white heterosexual male perspective; therefore in this case Gyllenhaal is shot in a particular way in order to be gazed at by men. For example, Gyllenhaal is filmed in a lot of full body shots to emphasize her figure in tight clothing and low cut tops, as well as close ups on body shots, where as men are filmed with commonly mid-shots. Furthermore, Nolan also targets the movie at comic book fans, considering that the movie is based of a comic book series.

I strongly believe that the main audience that was being targeted for The Dark Knight would be males from their teens onwards who have read the comics, as well as other ‘Batman’ fans of an older audience who may remember it from their childhood. Furthermore, the movie was significantly aimed at males due to the general stereotypical conventions of the use of high tech gadgets, cars, and powerful weapons of mass destruction, all commonly found within superhero films. However this film still can appeal to females who enjoy this style of film even though it is targeted at males.


I strongly believe that the main audience that was being targeted for The Dark Knight would be males from their teens onwards who have read the comics, as well as other ‘Batman’ fans of an older audience who may remember it from their childhood. Furthermore, the movie was significantly aimed at males due to the general stereotypical conventions of the use of high tech gadgets, cars, and powerful weapons of mass destruction, all commonly found within superhero films. However this film still can appeal to females who enjoy this style of film even though it is targeted at males.


Distribution

The distribution of The Dark Knight was done by Warner Bros. Pictures which was released in the UK on July 24th 2008. Examples of other movies they’ve distributed include the Harry Potter films, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride. The distribution and production companies (Legendary Pictures, Syncopy, DC Comics) have an internationally established reputation for innovative research within its distribution, which has been proven successful all over the world and with The Dark Knight,


Within the United States and Canada the film was distributed to 4,366 cinemas which broke all other previous records for the highest number of cinemas, which was before held by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Furthermore, the film has been estimated to have been shown on 9,200 screens in the US and Canada alone. The Dark Knight was effectively distributed through trailers, posters, premiers, interviews, reviews, and merchandise. The posters that where distributed where produced to appear very dark to apply to the theme of the movie which were also very masculine and dominating with the perspective of Batman. This is to emphasize how Batman is above the law in order to seek justice.

The film was certified and distributed as a 12A, so that all ages where able to watch the film. This was done by the producers in order to obtain the highest profits possible with a large audience. If the film was certified any higher such as ranked for 15 and over it would cut out the younger audience and potential product tie-ins and others who enjoy Batman through comic books, animated shows, and other toys.

I believe that distributing The Dark Knight through Warner Bros. Pictures was evidently a good decision to take. This is because it is one of the leading and most successful studios in the world with the revenue of $12.992 billion. However I think that because of the film being produced on a high $185 million budget, it would be clear that it would go hand in hand with a successful distributor and producers.


Publicity and marketing


Product tie-ins


Product placement that was used within The Dark Knight that where Diesel watches and a limited edition Nokia Lumia. Like the posters and the trilogy’s theme, the products appear to be very masculine due to their dark colors. Furthermore this also implies that these products are targeting an older male audience to try and engage them further. The audience are more likely to buy these products like these as they are for everyday use.



Another product tie-in used was the Dark Whopper from Burger King. However I discovered that Burger king used the same burger and advertising a year before for the release of Spider-Man 3, just with a Dark Knight poster over it. I think this was just so Burger King could boost their income with including the films name due to its worldwide success. Other tie-ins The Dark Knight official merchandise has been involved with include: action figures by Mattel Inc., Converses, and Lego playsets. Hallmark, Kinetix, Rubies’ Costume and Titan Books are also among the licensees manufacturing and producing toys and games, collectibles, costumes, apparel and accessories, books, cards, ornaments, party goods and domestic décor to aim at the younger audience.


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