Studio Went Super-Secret to Protect Batman

Anti-piracy tactics kept bootlegs from diluting buzz just long enough
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2008 4:20 PM CDT
"Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In a dazzling covert operation, Warner Bros. kept the lid on The Dark Knight so tight pirated copies didn’t hit the Web until 2 days after its Australian premiere—long enough to keep the film’s record opening on track, the Los Angeles Times reports. Digital piracy can keep fans online and out of theaters; early bad buzz can also kill a film’s box office in the crucial first weekend.

An anti-piracy expert illustrated the pitfalls with an example, 2003’s Hulk, widely panned after leaking early: “Hollywood argued, correctly, that many more people would have gone to see it, had online buzz not been so critical of the movie.” If “word gets out too early that it's a stiff,” he added, “it's devastating to the business model.” (Read more The Dark Knight stories.)