February 22 2009

The Dark Knight Passes $1 Billion; What Will The Third Film Hold For Us

tdk billionFor only the fourth time in movie history, a movie has surpassed the $1 billion mark in box office receipts.

According to Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood, The Dark Knight surpassed the $1 billion dollar in box office take on Friday.  This is only the fourth movie to ever do so, sharing the honors with Titanic ($1.8 billion), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.1 billion), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($1.066 billion).  None of these numbers are adjusted for inflation, but it is still an impressive haul for any film to make.

This will surely add to Warner Brothers, the studio behind the franchise, to want director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale to return for a third film.  For now Mr. Nolan has been hesitant to confirm his attachment to a third outing in Gotham City due to his claim that he is lacking in story ideas at this point in time.  He has not completely ruled out doing another, but he wants to be sure it is a story worth doing.

I have to agree with him at this point that while Batman has interesting villains, very few of them are capable of carrying a movie like the Joker could.  The only other one who I would immediately say could would be Two-Face, but that is no longer an option after the events of the last film.

So, who does this leave us with?

As you can see, not many more of his core villains would work, but you can take a look through his Rogue’s Gallery and see if there any that you think would work in the inevitable third film.  Who would like to see?  Who do you think would work?  And will a third film make as much, or was it Heath Ledger’s doing?

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  • I think it would be difficult to top Heath Ledger's depiction of The Joker, as IMO its the best villain character so far and also The Dark Knight was best super-hero movie or best action movie for that matter ever made. So, lets hope the next one is a good movie rather than hoping a better one movie than the last one.

  • Jack

    1. I agree a third film in the Nolan/Bale Batman franchise can only succeed if they don't *try* to top Heath Ledger. I think trying to top the last one was the trap that the Batman films of the 1990s fell into; better to just try to make a Batman film with plenty of integrity.

    2. I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I didn't think Dark Knight was the best, well, anything. Don't get me wrong: Heath Ledger was amazing and I really enjoyed the movie. But my second viewing confirmed my first impression that Ledger's amazing performance distracted the audience around me from a film with a pretty slack plot. I think Batman Begins was a tighter and all-around better film, and I think neither is as good as The Incredibles (my nominee for best superhero movie of all time) or La Femme Nikita (my nominee for the best action movie). Just IMO.

    3. I don't know why Sean discounts Two-Face for a third movie. It looked like he died at the end of Dark Knight, but that's part of Two Face's gimmick…he comes back.

    4. Assuming that Sean is right and Two Face is out, we need to think about how any of these villains can fit into the two-steps-closer-to-reality Bat universe that Nolan has constructed, AND how they can fit into the current situation–Batman is a legend; Batman is hunted (by the mob, the police, etc). It occurs to me that Batman's new status vis a vis the Gotham police and the forces of law actually opens the door for a more ambiguous antagonist, which sounds like Catwoman to a T.

    My dream? Selina Kyle is a security/computer specialist and all-around brilliant person hired by a frustrated Gotham PD to figure out who Batman is. Being basically amoral (in it for the hunt), she is also put on retainer by Falcone's gang, so long as she gives the Bat to them, not the cops, when she finds him. Hijinks ensue. I'm thinking Catwoman should be played like Yolanda/Saffron/Bridget on Firefly–a high-functioning genius sociopath who just gets off on playing with people. Casting? I don't know, really. Not Cher.

    The "Hunt the Batman" thing can be used other ways, too. Like maybe there's this kid, Tim Drake, who idolizes Batman and actually figures out who he is. If they do Robin they have to get him ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, i.e. he can't be older than 14 and he has to be mostly self-taught, preferably a kid who's a natural detective with maybe some taekwon-do or something, and none of that stuff about circus people. His costume (if any) should be motorcycle leathers or something. But Robin is a risk any way they do it.

    Harley Quinn isn't out of the running. I think if they went kinda-sorta in the direction of Batman Beyond and introduced a gang of anarchist nihilist psychopaths inspired by the Joker, Harley could be the club president. They could cast her right.

    I don't see Mr. Freeze for the same reasons Sean can't see Man-Bat or Clayface–just too much science fiction there to work. "Amen" on Riddler and Poison Ivy being big "hell no." I think the Penguin is a remote possibility, but he's just not interesting–not even Tim Burton's mutant version.

    My favorite idea, though? I think the perfect foil for Batman in a third and final movie would be Superman. Again, works beautifully with the "Hunt the Batman" thing…

  • I know this may shock you, Jack, but I actually agree with you that Batman Begins was the tighter of the two films plot wise. Ledger was just so damned good he raised the level of everything around him.

    LOVE your idea for Catwoman in the third with a "Hunt the Batman" motif. Not sure why that didn't strike me sooner, they could technically make Batman "the bad guy" in the third, and he is saving Gotham in spite of itself. While I would love a Superman/Batman showdown, but not sure about the logistics of pulling that off. Of course, the upcoming Avengers movie is going to change the game for crossover superhero movies.

    As for Two-Face, normally I would agree with a "he comes back scenario", but in this new reality version of these Bat films, it would be difficult. Hence no mention of the Lazarus pit in relation o Ra's Ah Ghul.

    Yes, if they do Robin in the way you mentioned him, it could work, but Nolan has been emphatic about his lack of desire to even address the character.

    Penguin just doesn't work any way you slice him UNLESS they make him into a casino mob boss who just happens to be short and wears tuxedos constantly.

    Yeah, I thought of the same Harley idea after I posted that. She could just be a groupie.

    Really like the "Hunt the Batman" concept, though…