This, then, begs the question: If TDKR can't benefit from a publicity deluge until there's at least a full trailer to give people some (edited, scored and color corrected) context for what they're seeing ... why don't they stop it? Now, no studio can stop all spy photography, but they can definitely put a massive dent in it. Hollywood location shooting keeps security firms well employed elsewhere, and even beyond that, a studio the size of Warner Bros. can easily (and do frequently do) make life difficult for press outlets that run unauthorized images and videos of their productions. Disney shot much of John Carter on location over a year ago, and nobody saw a frame of it until the debut of the trailer - and Disney has much less riding on that film than WB has on Batman, who (until Superman: The Man of Steel comes out) is once again shouldering their entire superhero division after the failure of Green Lantern.

So why aren't they? Why would they be so content to just let the web hype machine sit and stew about Catwoman's ears or Bane's underwhelming Bane-y-ness? If nothing else, why are they essentially ceding this whole part of the field to their competition (and make no mistake, all genre parsing aside Rises and Avengers will be framed as direct rivals in the 2012 entertainment press)?

Y'know what I think? I think they may not want you to be excited.

Here's the thing: The Dark Knight - while a tremendous film in its own right - was lightning in a bottle - a once in a lifetime confluence of the right director, the right material, the right cast and the right time, and that was before it became a memorial to Heath Ledger. To my mind, you're never going to replicate those circumstances because you are never going to replicate the Summer of 2008. It's like trying to make The Next Titanic - Titanic will NEVER happen again.

Thusly, while TDKR is very likely to be every bit as good as its predecessor - in fact, it could easily be better - it is astronomically unlikely that it will have as much of an impact, create as big of a cultural phenomenon or make as much money. The problem is, the fact that Dark Knight's heights are rather unreachable will be of no concern to those who do the box office reporting - "Dark Knight Rises Reasonably High Given The Circumstances" is not nearly as arresting a headline as "3rd Batman Fails To Equal Predecessor!"

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