After The Dark Knight launched its viral “Why So Serious?” campaign way back in 2007, the movie obviously went on to be a smash. How much of that was due in part to alternative marketing is up for debate, but with The Dark Knight Rises just around the corner, it’s no surprise that we might be seeing the beginning of another viral run-up. Recently, The Wrap (via Movie Viral) interviewed Jeff Robinov, the President of Warner Bros. Motion Pictures, who said that the “marketing strategy will definitely evolve” from the previous Batman installment.
Hot on the heels of that quote, Empire and Wired (via Movie Viral) received two separate “CIA documents” concerning a Dr. Leonid Pavel. While that name doesn’t yet ring a bell, readers over at ComingSoon connected Pavel’s mugshot to that of actor Alon Aboutboul, who has a role in The Dark Knight Rises. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but hit the jump to check the documents out just the same. [Update: A new document has been added along with a link to a countdown timer ; you can check them out after the jump.]
Perhaps with all the attention that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is getting with their current viral marketing run, the folks at The Dark Knight Rises wanted to steal some thunder from the “feel bad movie of the holidays.” As you can see below, according to the documents, Pavel (Aboutboul) is a nuclear physicist of Russian descent who specializes in fuel-cycle technology and reactor design; he has gone missing. The edited transcript appears to be between a CIA Station Chief at the US Embassy and a member of the Georgian militia discussing the handover of Dr. Pavel. If there is more written between the lines, I haven’t seen it yet.
Empire is saying that the transcript was given to them as part of a clue to an upcoming event, which of course they can’t discuss. Wired is equally close-lipped, calling their document “a clue to an upcoming cultural event.” Again, there’s been no mention of this being part of The Dark Knight Rises except by some folks who believe the grainy image is Aboutboul (who has nothing current on his IMDb lineup besides some TV work and TDKR). It’s also possible that this is a very small last ditch marketing effort for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which opens 12/16 in IMAX, 12/21 in regular theaters and in which the Russians feature heavily in the plot. Check out the documents below and let us know what you think. We’ll keep an eye out in case anyone slides a clue our way.
Update: TDKR‘s viral twitter, @thefirerises posted this image:
If you go to the website “http://operationearlybird.com” you may see a countdown clock, although I’m personally seeing a website that just says “There has been an internal error,” so maybe the site is getting flooded. If you can’t see the clock, it’s apparently counting down to 10:00AM (PST) tomorrow (which coincides with what’s written on the new document).