‘The Dark Knight’ Alternate-Reality Game: Really, Warner Bros., Must We Indulge in This Charade?

A screen capture from the Gotham . Photo: Courtesy of Warner Brothers

Today marked the official online release of the trailer for The Dark Knight, replacing shaky cell-phone camera footage with glorious high definition. As happy as we are that the Batcycle is making its triumphant return, there's something more going on here. Browsing to the root of the site hosting the trailer reveals a classified ad from the Gotham Times, defaced by someone with a taste for bad puns.

In the upper-right-hand corner is the address for the Gotham Times' Website, which leads straight down the Alternate-Reality Game rabbit hole. Painstakingly detailed articles about characters who won't be in the movie? Check. Links to a Joker-defaced version of the same paper? Check. Phone numbers, Web forms, e-mail addresses, and other points of entry into the Warner Bros. Marketing Universe? Check, check, and check. Don't get us wrong; we liked the A.I. game more than the movie. But does Warner Bros. really think anyone who isn't already drooling over the trailer will be enticed to theaters by an eight-month exercise in apophenia? —Matthew Dessem