The Dark Knight Rises Viral Campaign Heats Up

    June 3, 2011
    Josh Wolford

Movie marketing strategy is being based more and more on viral content these days. One of the best examples of this is with Christopher Nolan’s revamp of the Batman series. Some new videos have surfaced that may give us a brief look into the upcoming third installment, The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight was a landmark in viral marketing. gained a lot of attention when it used the scavenger hunt concept to unlock a teaser trailer and a reveal pic of Heath Ledger as the Joker in the film. The viral campaign “I believe in Harvey Dent” was also employed to generate buzz about the inclusion of Two-Face in the film.

A couple weeks ago, The Dark Knight Rises‘ (TDKR) viral campaign began on Twitter, as the account @thefirerises revealed a picture, pixel by pixel, of TDKR’s new villian, Bane. Pixels were removed, one by one, by tweets containing the hashtag #thefirerises. The photo revealed keeps in line with the mysterious hyper-realism of Nolan’s revamp.

Now, the campaign has taken another step – this time with YouTube videos. On the YouTube Channel entitled “TheFireRises,” a few short videos have been posted. 419 shows grainy footage of a burning cab car and a burning building. It’s set to some pretty dramatic chanting. Outbreak looks to be footage from inside a prison (or asylum!), with orange jump-suited people with black bags over their heads. The video closes with a first person view of vehicle weaving through traffic on an underpass. GCN is the most telling, showing Gotham Cable News reporter Mike Engel (Anthony Michael Hall) reporting on an “Arkham Breakout.”

The final video, GCN, links at the end to a Facebook page for The Fire Rises. On this page, we find a picture of Matthew Modine with the name “Nixon” behind him. Modine is signed on to TDKR, and it is rumored that he will play a politician named Nixon.

Is this all clever marketing by the folks at Warner Bros? Have some overzealous and dubious fans created these videos, making them seem like they are a part of the film? If so, it’s quite impressive as the videos are pretty damn cool. Entertainment Weekly reached out to Warner Bro for a comment but only got a “no comment at this time” in response.

Are these legit viral vids, detailing plot points of the upcoming TDKR? Will there be an Arkham breakout? Will Gotham smolder as the trilogy comes to a close? Let us know what you think.