Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Very Dark Knight

Until the writers’ strike in Hollywood is over–who knew it would go on this long?–BoomTown has decided to offer suggestions about stuff to watch.

It is hard to look away from the swirl of media that the untimely and tragic death of Heath Ledger has engendered, and the Internet has jacked the frenzy into overdrive.

Along with an explosion of Web stories and video about the late actor–unfortunately too, please-don’t videos from outside the home of his family seem particularly appalling–there has also been controversy around a very prominent online marketing campaign that has been going on related to the next in the blockbuster Batman series, “The Dark Knight.”

Why? Because it has been focused almost exclusively on Ledger, who plays what appears to be a very warped and malevolent version of the villainous Joker (pictured here).

joker

A terrific story in The Wall Street Journal yesterday looked at this Internet-aimed marketing effort around the Warner Bros. movie, set to come out this summer.

It’s been a slowly unfolding viral campaign online, stretching three-quarters of a year now, almost all focused on Ledger’s Joker character. It began in May with a site showing a fictional district attorney candidate, IBelieveinHarveyDent.com (still up) and then another with a defaced picture and clues, IBelieveinHarveyDentToo.com (now you only get a “page not found” message).

There have been lots of efforts like this with sites like the Gotham Times and a scarier version called the HaHaHa Times.

And, of course, the many trailers, seen below, which are all over the Web now.

But now that the already creepy online effort has taken on an even more macabre tone, one wonders what Warner Bros. will do.

Or, because this is the Web, where things tend to spin out of the control of media companies, whether the movie company can do anything at all.

Here’s some trailers, all of which are pretty amazing:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald