Debate: Do you think that Heath Ledger's death was what made The Dark Knight so commercially sucessful?
Disclaimer...ish: this thread that I made here is NOT to debate the quality of the film. Most of us agree that The Dark Knight was one of the greatest films of the last decade, the greatest superhero film of all time, and a masterpiece of modern filmmaking and commenting on our current society (even if I don't think it's even Nolan's best, imo that title belongs to Inception). Others don't think so. But that's not the point. You may take the quality into account, but not as if THAT is the sole theme of the argument here.
Now, as of today, Furious 7 is currently sitting as, unadjusted for inflation, the 7th highest grossing film of all time worldwide, being the 20th member of the "Billion Dollar Club" by chronological order, w/a gross of $1,152,710,000. It was the fastest movie to ever cross the milestone at only 17 days (reached it), and chances are, it'll still make further more and more. At least until The Avengers 2 comes out. And even then it's a question mark. And admitedly, the Fast & Furious franchise has grown bigger and bigger w/the passing of the years, a growth that really started to blossom upon the release of Fast Five, and then boomed further more w/Fast & Furious 6, which currently sits as the 50th highest grossing film ever. So, no matter what kind of circumstances would've surrounded it, Furious 7 would've done great regardless.
But, frankly, I think that one element of it is what pushed it to make THAT much money: Paul Walker. No, it wasn't a shocker that it made this much money when you put thought into it in a post-2013 mindset - by then Walker already had his tragic and ironic even demise, and we were all looking forward to see: a) what were they going to do w/him, and b) his very final cinematic appearance ever. The tragedy, accidentally, upped the stakes of the movie and made everyone curious. Such thing mixed w/the growing blockbuster appeal of the franchise itself? Yeah, I can see how that many people went to watch it. But... if Paul Walker had never died? Honestly, I'm sure not. Bigger movies in sheer scale, recent ones even - like The Hobbit 3 in example - failed to do as much.
That, however, isn't the first time that a death of an actor created a haunting atmosphere surrounding a certain film. Back in 2008, most people were incredibly skeptical about Heath Ledger having been cast as the Joker in the sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight. But later, interest started to increase when promotion of the film began dropping. And it looked good. Ledger looked really good. And then..... Ledger died. In real life. A tragedy that, I assume, took everyone by shock. And fittingly. Skip to Summer that year and BOOM, The Dark Knight becomes the first superhero film to gross over 1 billion and only behind The Return Of The King, the 2nd Pirates Of The Caribbean and Avatar as the highest grossing film of the decade. Currently, it's the 20th highest grossing film ever. And just to kill doubts, comparatively, Batman Begins sat at just over 374 million. Dark Knight almost TRIPLED it overall.
So, my question is: do you guys think that Heath Ledger's death morbidly influenced the crowd's curiosity on the movie so much, to the point where The Dark Knight did as much money as it did? I personally say Yes, I do. And, more than likely, it was the main reason. Much like I think Furious 7 just isn't THAT big enough of a blockbuster on its own right to make that much money, The Dark Knight, while big enough to still be a huge success solely on its own, pretty surely needed to have more than just "It's a great movie starring the Goddamn Batman" as a reason to make it to 1 freaking billion. Especially in a period where that landmark was still relatively uncommon (compared to nowadays, at least) and only the biggest of the biggest Hollywood events made it there.
Special thanks to King Gimp for the sig.
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