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The JokerA Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime$
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Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628462388

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628462388.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

“Why So Serious?”

“Why So Serious?”

Warner Bros.’ Use of the Joker in Marketing The Dark Knight

(p.146) “Why So Serious?”
The Joker

Kim Owczarski

University Press of Mississippi

Kim Owczarski takes us in a slightly different direction, exploring the Joker as a marketing tool in Warner Bros. 2008 distribution of The Dark Knight. Already a rich case study in its use of paracinematic, ludic appeals to audiences, this campaign was made even more notable with the death of Heath Ledger just prior to the film’s release. Suggesting that Warner Bros.’ prolonged use of the Joker as synecdoche for the film was unconventional as an approach to marketing a tentpole film, Owczarski outlines the process of the campaign’s unfolding, taking a case study approach to one of the most ambitious promotional efforts Hollywood had yet seen. In particular, Owczarski argues that The Dark Knight benefited from a campaign that was the “culmination of several successful lessons about contemporary film promotion” that had begun with the largely Internet-driven success of The Blair Witch Project.56

Keywords:   Marketing, The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger, Warner Bros., Hollywood

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