Placeholder while I go to the ArcLight (sigh, not that one... the Sherman Oaks one... I'm doing the CineDome on Sunday). It'll probably be at least 4am when I get back... but reactions will follow. Mostly, though, I'm excited to see WTF the crowd is like. This is gonna be guano bananas.
The idea of this film beating Spider-Man 3 when SM3 grossed about 3x what Batman Begins did in their respective opening weekends... well, it's just all sorts of astounding. But there's a swell and it may be all hype and buzz... but, man, I feel like this one is going to shatter everything. And if it's as good as they say? Well... it's too soon to talk Titanic isn't it... afterall, multiples aren't what they used to be. But there isn't another truly big movie coming out until, what, Tropic Thunder? We could be talking complete and total pwn.
So, first off... not the "best movie ever". A really, really, really good movie. It doesn't actually feel like a comic book movie... aside from the crazy guy with the weird costume choices and crazy makeup and the billionaire vigilante in the batsuit. It plays a lot closer, really, to a classic crime movie. As it should - the Batman comic books are littered with mob plot lines and organized crime characters.
Interestingly, though this is a Batman movie... the protagonist is Harvey Dent. At least in the classic film sense of the word protagonist. The biggest arc is his. He is the catalyst for change (though he says that Batman is).
And the movie is about choices.
But, really, it's a showcase for Heath Ledger who absolutely and completely disappears into the backstoryless Joker character. I mean, entirely.
Unlike other midnight screenings I've been to... there was a reverence at this movie. On the outset there's usually a lot of hooting and hollering and "whoo!" etc. There were one or two in my theater who did that.
And they were promptly hushed. A silence came over the crowd even as the Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures logos played.
It was eerie.
And, of course, Ledger got cheers when his name flashed on screen at the end.
This movie is going to be a massive, smash hit. And it's going to have more to do with Heath Ledger's death than anything else in or about the movie (after all, Batman Begins got great critical marks... but no one was talking about it breaking box office records... which makes me wonder what to expect for the box office of the inevitable third film... okay, that's not fair, Begins had to deal with a viewing audience that have Batman & Robin aftertaste still in its mouth 8 years later, and The Dark Knight was riding a brilliant marketing campaign well before Ledger's death... I digress). The tragedy of his death, the curiosity of seeing his final completed film... that is, ultimately, what's driving the massive audience to this movie. I'm not sure if it extends beyond my generation. Like most blockbuster midnight screenings, the crowd was young and very male-skewing. So I don't know if the feeling of loss (of a star, not just of a great actor) extends to even Gen X, let alone the Baby Boom. But the James Dean analogies are spot on. Heath is going to live on pretty much close to forever (as long as the film medium lasts), and his last film was his best performance.
Apparently we're looking at $18.48 million from the midnight showings. Which doesn't include the 3am or 6am showings (yeah, I know).
Batman Begins "only" grossed $15.1 million on its opening day.
There's a nice cameo I forgot to mention in the opening minutes that helps frame the scale of this movie versus the first one... at least in terms of the villains. I'll let you see it for yourself, but I appreciated the literary device employed.