So a few weeks back, Warner Bros. announced that they would be showing the beginning of The Dark Knight at IMAX screenings of I Am Legend. Like, the first six minutes of The Dark Knight. SEVEN MONTHS BEFORE IT COMES OUT.
After all these elaborate bullshit viral campaigns and picture leaks, what exactly are they trying to do? Make us sick of Batman before we even have a chance to buy our ticket? Let us live our lives. Let us enjoy the movies that are actually shot and edited. Let us ring in the new year. The Dark Knight is going to make delirious money. No one needs to be convinced to see it. Especially not over half a goddamned year in advance. So why are they burning all this advertising money? They want to start the buzz for this movie as soon as fucking possible, so they can use said buzz... TO SELL OTHER MOVIES!
I lose respect for movie studios when they try all these shameless tactics to artificially inflate their opening weekend numbers. I know they're more interested in money than they are my respect, but I think we can all agree that this is wrong on their part.
You know what though, it probably wouldn't even matter to me if The Dark Knight was coming out right now. The biggest problem I have with this, fundamentally, is that they think it's okay to show people the beginning of a movie, completely out of context. Like it's a fucking commercial (God knows eventually this movie is going to have a 3-minute trailer that contains more footage than the movie itself, but one catastrophe at a time). Seeing a movie is a magical experience. From the moment the movie starts to the last frame at the end of the credits, you are being taken through a world that was painstakingly and methodically put together for you in a very specific way, and it is conducting a unique symphony in your brain. To saw off the first six minutes and slap it in front of the big holiday tentpole, maybe with a nice little cocktease montage at the end, and a "seeya this July," is an insult and a desecration.
So it was with serious disappointment that I saw all the headlines this past week of movie studios sticking the severed beginnings of all their big upcoming movies online. See the first 10 minutes of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story! See the first 5 minutes of Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem! See the opening credits of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street! See the first 3 minutes of I Am Legend! You can go on your home computer, watch the beginning of I Am Legend, then go to an IMAX theater and see the beginning of The Dark Knight before you re-watch the beginning of I Am Legend (followed by the rest of that movie).
I hope this trend dies with 2007. I hope nobody even notices this trend and writes about it as I have. I don't want this stupid idea to have the tangibility of being called a "trend." When I think about where it might lead, it frightens me. What if ten years from now, studios have screenings entirely composed of the opening credits of all their upcoming movies?
Well, let's be realistic.
What if next year, that happens?