DC is taking a page from Marvel’s playbook comic book.
Warner Bros. on Thursday released a deleted scene from “The Batman” showing more of the Caped Crusader’s greatest nemesis, The Joker. The scene is from the latest film based on the superhero, which hit theaters earlier this month.
The five-minute-long interaction shows a grizzly Clown Prince of Crime, played by Barry Keoghan, locked up in Arkham Asylum, as Batman, played by Robert Pattinson, seeks his help to solve the latest murder spree in Gotham City.
It may seem strange to cut such a long scene between Batman and arguably the greatest villain in comic book history from the film. But it’s a smart form of franchise building — one that Disney’s Marvel Studios has successfully employed throughout dozens of films over the years.
As with Marvel’s famous post-credit scenes and bonus footage released to the internet, the deleted “The Batman” scene sets up the next film while the original film is still making money at the box office. (Warner Bros., like CNN, is owned by WarnerMedia.)
The strategy worked: The Joker became a trending topic on social media, and the video clip has been watched millions of times. Keoghan’s Joker shows up briefly in the film, but the deleted scene is whetting fan’s appetites for the yet-to-be announced sequel in the new “The Batman” franchise. And Warner Bros. didn’t really have to do anything.
It’s a perfect waste not, want not use of movie marketing. Plus, at 2 hours and 56 minutes, was there really room for another scene with the Joker?
The scene, which gives off serious “Silence of the Lambs” vibes, can be found if fans answer a series of riddles at “rataalada.com” — a website that is used in the film. One such riddle asks, “to wit: a wild card in the truest sense.”
“The Batman” has been a huge hit for Warner Bros. this year, notching more than $600 million at the global box office.
The Batman franchise has brought in billions of dollars since 1989’s “Batman” while 2019’s stand alone “Joker” film starring Joaquin Phoenix broke box office records before going on to make more than $1 billion worldwide.