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The Dark Knight's Viral Websites Featuring Heath Ledger as the Joker Still Up

The Dark Knight's Viral Websites Featuring Heath Ledger as the Joker Still Up

Before Heath Ledger's death last week, I was very much looking forward to this summer's The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, which I loved. But now, the teaser trailers for the film just make me feel sad and wistful. The images of Ledger in his perfectly-cast glory as the iconic villain the Joker, no doubt a talent-filled effort, are heartbreaking. That's why Valleywag's report that the viral websites to promote The Joker's role in the film will remain active confounds me.

I can't say I'm outraged, because this isn't the first time a film has faced losing a star prior to its release, but this may be the first time a marketing campaign such as this — viral websites surrounding the deceased actor — has been launched. The Joker-centric sites — among them (which has been sporting a black ribbon in Ledger's honor since the news broke),, and, don't seem to currently display any actual images of Ledger, but it still seems to be in poor taste that they remain up.

With new technology, we face new decisions each day that we never had reasons for before, and sensitivities must be bred to respond to our new world. What do you make of Warner Bros.' decision to leave the sites up? Is it an expected move, since the proverbial show must go on, or do you think their response should be different?

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chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
What's in poor taste is the media doing all they can to get the first pics of his child after his death or broadcasting videos of his drug use when no one knows how he died. The Dark Knight's marketing using his *character* is fine. Agreeing with Rockwilder, the studio has a right to market their film, the web sites were in place before his untimely death. I am certain at this point, it would be difficult to change direction or implement new marketing strategies. Besides who would pay for that? All of the media and photogs making money by taking pics, airing televised specials, and putting Heath on their covers the past few weeks? No.
rada-rada-rada rada-rada-rada 9 years
It's sad that he died but scrapping all the work that he & the creators of the virals have done is kind of insulting to his memory. Joker is the most visible villain of the upcoming film but he is not the only one in the movie. Perhaps the virals will start involving them.
Lyv Lyv 9 years
Ease up on the fan-grieving. Why should they let the poor guy's work go to waste just because it makes you sad? THAT would be insensitive. Not to mention pointless...
gossipqueen gossipqueen 9 years
I don't think is in bad taste....EASE UP GEEK...Heath worked hard on that film...if anything everything should go as planned....
rockwilder rockwilder 9 years
I'm not sure this is entirely in bad taste. I can't see how Warner Bro's could continue to promote the film without such a central character, and i really doubt they'd shelve such a huge money maker like a Batman installment, especially when so much has already been poured into it. What i do think would be bad taste is if they pushed the advertising to the limit and decided to use his death as a gimick. At least they seem to be paying some sort of tribute to him? i was really looking forward to seeing Heath act in it since it looks like he took a very different approach to the Joker's insanity.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
I was so looking forward to the movie because Heath is in it. Now...well, I have mixed feelings. I want to see it, but it will be strange. Like when The Crow came out. I was so excited to see it...I loved Brandon Lee. But it was a little strange thinking about what happened with the movie and his death. I hope by the time the new Batman movie comes out I will be able to sit through it without tearing up. I mean, Heath was amazing and I think he would want everyone to go on and keep going to the movies...even those he was in. He took such pride in this makes sense for us to relish his talent!
nimbupani nimbupani 9 years
I am pretty sure even Heath Ledger himself might not have liked us to be gloomy about what has happened. As his parents and everyone said in their eulogies that he loved acting. And if we were to celebrate his time on earth, I think there is no better way than to see how he did what he loved so well.
PirateKitty PirateKitty 9 years
What about the posters? The night he died i saw a "why so serious?" poster with him on it. It felt weird needless to say, however i will still see the movie.
snapsh0t snapsh0t 9 years
I agree with all of the above - removing the marketing (which has been really creative so far) would only serve as a harsh reminder of his death. Aren't movies supposed to be a form of escapism? No doubt they'll pay fitting tribute to him once its release day rolls around, but removing every trace of the Joker is definitely not something Heath would want, I'd think.
SweetnLow SweetnLow 9 years
Not to mention the fans who have no doubt been playing along for months now...
SweetnLow SweetnLow 9 years
I've heard a lot of these things are connected to ARGs. A well planned ARG takes months, sometimes years, to develop and put together. Should all the developers' work be tossed because an actor died?
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I was so out-of-my-mind excited for this movie to come out. And while I still am, I do feel sad that Heath won't be around to see the final product. And I think he would be happy that promotion for this movie is still going strong.
m-m-m m-m-m 9 years
I agree for the most part that, of course, the show must go on but I have to say that Warner does seem a bit hmmm money motivated directly concerning Heath. I honestly feel like they all wiped their brows (read their robotic "condolences") and no longer had to worry about how to market this movie, making it as big as possible. Now they are just trying to keep the Joker and Ledger in everyone's minds right up until showtime.
kitkatherine kitkatherine 9 years
yeah, i agree with aistea and laura 220. i am glad they kept the sites up. because batman fans are more concerned with the character than the man. i'm sure his portrayal is great, and they are respecting his character and acting. you can't throw away love for batman and the joker because of a tradgedy. he was a great guy, and sure it's sad, but people can't stop everything. it's good that they recognize and have the black ribbon, but it's more respectful in my view that they kept them up.
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
This is so not poor taste. I agree with the comments above. If he liked movies and acting so much, then it should be an honor to continue to have those things up. The world goes on after people die. It's inevitable.
ehadams ehadams 9 years
I don't think it is poor taste at all. Heath Ledger is not even on those websites. The things on the site are related to the character of the Joker, which has been played by numerous different actors over the years.
x_juicyfruit x_juicyfruit 9 years
I don't think it's in bad taste. I agree with the "show must go on" comment, because while sad at times, it's true.
ranksubjugation ranksubjugation 9 years
Ledger put so much into that role that it would actually seem worse to me if they didn't use his images to promote the movie. He obviously worked SO hard to become the joker... I think he deserves to be THE central image for the film, and I think that it would be great to have his promo images become lasting, iconic representations of the joker.
ovenmitt ovenmitt 9 years
i'm with everyone else here. his death is absolutely tragic, but i don't think the decision warner bros. is making is distasteful. also, this looks like it addresses just the viral websites. marketing for the movie it self is a bigger decision they need to consider. and this occurred to me, but i'm not sure i think it's a true or good idea: would warner bros. consider leaving the marketing as planned as a way to honor his memory? each time a broadway icon dies the lights are dimmed on the great white way, but they always come back up.
aistea311 aistea311 9 years
As cliche as it sounds, "the show must go on". I know for a fact that the movie is going to be #1 on its release because of what happened to Heath. It is like when an artist passes, his work becomes more valuble then ever. I love heath and I know his performance is going to be amazing, no matter how twisted the character is.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
I agree with the above comment. No one would want the whole world to stop just because they die. Ledger loved movies, loved making movies, and would want his film to go on.
BloodyFuFu BloodyFuFu 9 years
I don't think it's in bad taste at all. He died, and while tragic, don't you think he would want them to go on as planned with the viral marketing and the movie? It's all part of the story, the character, and the mood of the movie. Movies these days aim to bring you completely into their world, this movie wouldn't feel the same without it. I just feel like maybe saying they should take down those sites is a little too sensitive. Bad taste would have been more like in the case of The Crow, where Brandon Lee was digitally altered in scenes to finish the movie.
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