The plan is for this prologue sequence to screen as an extended preview ahead of I Am Legend which opens in the US next Friday (and in the UK on Boxing Day).
About 6 sequences – including this opening scene – were actually filmed using 70mm IMAX cameras, which is a first for a Hollywood movie of this scale.
The rest of the film was shot in conventional 35mm and will be remastered for IMAX screens. In these cinemas, the 70mm sequences will fill up the screen and the 35mm scenes will appear in a ‘letterbox’ format.
However, in regular cinemas, the actual aspect ratio will stay the same.
The opening sequence of the film is about 6 minutes and is a bank robbery done by a team of robbers all wearing clown masks. Watching the imagery on an IMAX screen is impressive – the size and clarity is remarkable and should work a treat for a big budget action film like this.
The sequence follows a criminal gang as they circle a bank and break in. Plotwise there are a few interesting moments, notably a cameo from William Fichtner as a feisty bank teller and the moment where we actually get to see a big close-up of the villain of the piece.
As the scene ended there was a 1 minute montage of Batman standing on a roof top, James Gordon (Gary Oldman) destroying something with an axe and a quick run through some other scenes in the film which included a brief shot of the new bat bike – a model of which was in the foyer of the cinema.
Producer Charles Roven appeared after the footage ended and answered questions from the audience.
To summarise the Q&A, here is what he said:
- The Joker will be a darker incarnation of the famous villain – but will still have some comic moments
- 6 sequences will be in the IMAX format (mostly action set pieces or scenes with a big scope)
- Like Batman Begins the film should be a PG-13
- Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker because of his range and his initial meetings with Chris Nolan about the character
- 3-D was never really considered as an option for the IMAX portions of the film
- Prior to these Batman films he’d been trying to work with Nolan ever since he saw Memento
- The Alfred/Bruce Wayne relationship continues
- It is the first time Christian Bale has repeated a role
- There is a sequence actually set in Hong Kong – they filmed a key sequence there where Batman jumps off a building. The idea of the setting was to get outside the world of Gotham and place it in a more believable context as a world city.
- They aren’t even thinking about the villain for the next movie.
- David Goyer, Chris Nolan and Jonathan Nolan wrote the first draft of the script and Jonathan wrote the later drafts whilst Chris was filming The Prestige.
- The story is not directly based on anything by Frank Miller but has been influenced by him and other classic Batman writers.
I’m not sure if Warner Bros are going to release any of this footage online, as I’m guessing the idea is that more people will go and see I Am Legend with this prologue attached.
If you have any thoughts, questions or news, just leave a comment below.
The Dark Knight opens in the US on July 18th in the UK on July 25th
UPDATE 02/07/08: You can now book tickets for the London IMAX screenings here.
> Official site for The Dark Knight
> The Dark Knight at the IMDb
> Find out more about The Dark Knight at Wikipedia
> Check out the latest teaser poster at Slash Film
> Get the latest buzz on the film at Coming Soon
> The Hollywood Reporter with more details on the LA screening which Chris Nolan attended
> The UGO Movieblog has a more detailed breakdown of the sequence (watch out for spoilers)