In 1989 the idea of Micheal Keaton playing Batman and Tim Burton directing sounded so ridiculous that moviegoers had to be convinced this was the right direction. When the studio got word of the perception, Peter Guber and Jon Peters quickly cobbled together a teaser that would showcase the dark direction of the film. It was poorly edited, had no narration and didn’t even say the title of the film; just a quick and dirty barrage of clips that ended with “coming soon.” This could have easily backfired and ruined the success of the film. Remember, prior to this teaser the only on-screen version of Batman was the campy Adam West rendition.
Luckily, comic book fans were so excited that they started buying tickets to other movies and leaving right after the Batman teaser. The word started spreading about their excitement and everyone else quickly took notice. Before the movie came out it was already the biggest movie of 1989. Merchandise started flying off the shelves. Mcdonalds added Batman toys to Happy Meals. It was a full on phenomenon all because of this teaser that fans latched on to.
Batman made more than $40 million in its first weekend (a record at that time), more than $100 million in its first ten days, and more than $410 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run. That doesn’t include the merchandising which made an additional $750 million. Not too shabby for a film that was on the edge of disaster.
Always remember that word of mouth is a powerful thing. Get your fans selling for you and there’s no stopping the hype machine. Once you’ve converted them to super fans, there’s no turning back. Had this cobbled together idea backfired, the Batman movie franchise might never have made it past this film. So as you are all enjoying The Dark Knight Rises this weekend remember none of this would have been possible without this teaser and the army of fanboys that fell in love.
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