Rebranding

I know, I know, The Dark Knight has been out for over a couple of days but I couldn’t help but posting about the new #1 Blockbuster movie in History.

There’s nothing quite like a dead brand. Batman sucked. The origins were great and the first few movies were alright (Batman / Batman Returns) but then things started to get ugly. Batman films started to suck. Bad.

Throw in pop culture, horrible acting and over-the-top characters and you’ve watered down a brand that used to stand for something.

People still went to the films. Hell, every Batman release was huge. But they weren’t considered good anymore. They were just the type of movie you go when nothing – literally nothing – else was on.

Then Christopher Nolan came along. And Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman and a slew of other great actors. Suddenly, the brand is reborn. The same core elements are there but the story is different. It’s better and more attractive.

People become interested again. Because a few people in Holleywood (with a couple hundred million) decided to make a change.

Cut to today. The Dark Knight opens to a weekend gross of $155 million – best ever. The film is fantastic, shows are sold out over a week after launch and people can’t get enough.

Now think about what it was like convincing most studio execs to relaunch the series. How many people said it’s already been done and that it couldn’t be saved? How many of those execs didn’t want to get involved, didn’t want to risk producing a tired story?

Making the decision that something – no matter how bad it’s become – is worth saving is tough. But when things work out, the results can be pretty sweet.

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