UPDATE: As part of the viral campaign launch, Warner Bros. has revealed the first image of Tom Hardy as Bane. Check it out below and let us know what you think.
We were extremely impressed with the viral campaign for The Dark Knight and believe it directly contributed to the film's monster box office haul. The campaign, which began shortly before Comic Con with the launching of various websites, went on for months, revealing Joker-esque codes that unlocked images, trailers, sound files, meet-ups, websites, newspaper clippings and more. There was plenty to keep the Batman fanatic busy till release, and while it all became a bit taxing at times to cover, the payoffs were pretty cool at times.
Though we're only 24 hours out from Warners officially announcing the beginning of production on The Dark Knight Rises, they're not wasting anytime in launching the next film's viral campaign via its first website, which also happens to be the movie's official website: www.thedarkknightrises.com. If you head over there you'll see a black screen with a weird audio file titled "rises" that automatically plays on a loop. It sounds like a crowd chanting, and one message-boarder over at Superhero Hype claims they've decoded it to reveal what appears to be a Twitter hashtag, #TheFireRises.
What that means and how that factors into the film's marketing strategy is unclear at this time, but feel free to keep an eye out on the website (and that Twitter hashtag, as well as the Twitter page for @thefirerises
) to see what happens next. From the looks of it, whoever uses the hashtag in a tweet gets put onto some sort of scrolling map that you can click on to identity twitter users tweeting with that hashtag. Weird. Have at it!
Make sure you follow along with our Dark Knight Rises Countdown column for more updates and geeky conversations. The Dark Knight Rises is due in theaters on July 17th, 2012.