the balcony fool

serious film discussion. seriously.

Batman Gonna Take A Beating

Posted by Balcony Fool on June 25, 2008

There are some people out there who believe Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight will be the highest-grossing film of the season. Those people are high. For every Batman fan who is studiously poring over back-issues of Detective Comics in preparation for the upcoming Bat-sequel, there are ten children and grandparents who will not venture into Gotham City this summer. What they will do, however, is line up in droves to see Pixar’s WALL•E.

By way of support, I provide you now with anecdotal evidence. My father, a 52-year-old bonified curmudgeon, has not viewed any movie trailer in the last ten years with anything other than codified disinterest. His disdain for crowded theaters and ambivalence about movies in general is becoming legendary. So imagine my surprise when yesterday he said:

Make some time this weekend. We’re going to see WALL•E.

Wha? When pressed about his apparent enthusiasm, he simply said, “It looks really good.”

Yes, Dad, it does. It looks beautiful, and funny, and supremely marketable. There is simply no chance that WALL•E is not the highest-grossing film of the summer, and probably the year. Everyone I know wants to see this movie, and Pixar’s history of delivering the goods will likely ensure excellent word of mouth, and long, long legs.

Warner Brothers has a done a terrific job of marketing TDK online, and as the film gets closer we’ll see the usual deluge of traditional marketing, but the dark tale of murder, mayhem and psychotic masqueraders simply doesn’t have same broad appeal of a funny little robot in love. Plus, hard as it may be to believe, there are lots of folks who have no idea what “viral marketing” is, and who’ve never heard of whysoserious.com.

Sorry, Bat-fans. I’m looking forward to The Dark Knight as much as you are, but the summer box office champion won’t be wearing a cowl.

7 Responses to “Batman Gonna Take A Beating”

  1. petertchattaway said

    Do you really think Wall*E will do better than Iron Man, the year’s current box-office champ, which has grossed over $300 million? Only one Pixar film has ever grossed more than $300 million in North America, and that was Finding Nemo. And Wall*E is said to have some political elements that might make it a turn-off for some viewers.

  2. Johne Cook said

    Wall*E looks fun, and Pixar apparently owns the golden goose, but this summer’s box office champ won’t be an updated Jonny 5, it will be wearing a gold and red mask:
    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=ironman.htm

  3. I think the environmental theme in WALL•E will end up being a non-factor. I don’t know how things are in Canada, but right now the USA is in a pretty receptive mood about such things, and Pixar delivers its message in such a cute package.

    It’s always kind of astounded me that Finding Nemo is Pixar’s highest-grossing film, as it’s one of my least favorites (which isn’t to say that it’s not pretty terrific). Nevertheless, WALL•E looks like it will deliver everything Nemo had in spades.

    On the other hand, it would be kind of gratifying if Iron Man ended up winning the war. I like Jon Favreau, and have watched his career with great interest. Don’t think it’ll happen, though.

  4. misterd said

    I’ve been saying for awhile now that there will be a Dark Knight backlash. Parents bitched and moaned about Batman Returns being dark. Now we’re getting a truly homicidal Joker, one true to the modern interpretation – one of the scariest MFs in the history of illustrated literature. Hell, kids find FRIENDLY clowns scary – what’ll Heath do to their dreams? Expect to see all sorts of “Batman is inappropriate” type stories on the news right before or right after it comes out. The real question is which force will be greater – the need of parents to protect children, or the need of idiots to see a dead man acting?

    With WallE, it’s pretty much certified gold. There hasn’t been much for the kids this summer, and no Pixar film has grossed under 200m in the US, 400m worldwide this decade. That’s just rediculous.

  5. Johne Cook said

    I love that Roger Ebert is writing reviews again for the summer films. He likes WALL*E, giving it 3.5 stars:
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080626/REVIEWS/963071290

    With that said, he gave Indy Four 4 stars, which is a concession to popularity rather than an admission of any actual excellence.

  6. Johne Cook said

    Just got back from seeing WALL*E. As with Iron Man, the ‘villain’ is closer than you think, and more understandable than most. I liked it.

    I won’t be seeing in the theater again, however, as I did with Iron Man (yesterday, because it’s just that fun) and Prince Caspian (tomorrow, because I have a yearning within me for sehnsucht, that indefinable sense of wonder).

  7. river said

    batman gonna take a beating? maybe not … theaters are adding 6 a.m. showtimes to keep up with initial demand.

    The Dark Knight is our fastest selling film in wide release this year,” Hong says. “It trumps Iron Man, Sex and the City, Indiana Jones [and] WALL-E at the same point in their sales cycles—and it’s even outpacing last year’s Spider-Man 3 and Pirates [of the Caribbean: At World's End].

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