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The Dark Knight Trilogy

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The Dark Knight Trilogy
The dark knight trilogy.png
Cover of The Dark Knight Trilogy box set of the three films
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Characters appearing in comic books published
by DC Comics
Music by
Cinematography Wally Pfister
Edited by Lee Smith
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
Running time
456 minutes[1][2][3]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $585 million[4][5][6]
Box office $2.464 billion[4][5][6]

The Dark Knight Trilogy is a British-American superhero film trilogy based on the DC Comics character Batman. The trilogy consists of Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), directed by Christopher Nolan.

Following the critical failure and box-office disappointment of Batman & Robin (1997), Warner Bros. rebooted the film franchise. The trilogy stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow.

Each film in the series was a box-office success, in particular the second and third films, which both earned over $1 billion worldwide.


Batman Begins

Main article: Batman Begins

Following a rejected Batman origin story reboot Joss Whedon pitched in December 2002,[7][8] Warner Bros. hired Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer to script Batman Begins.[9] The duo aimed for a darker and more realistic tone, with humanity and realism being the basis of the film.[10] The film relied on traditional stunts and scale models with minimal use of computer-generated imagery. Christian Bale starred as Batman, Liam Neeson starred as Ra's al Ghul, and Cillian Murphy as The Scarecrow. Katie Holmes also starred in the movie as Bruce's love interest, Rachel Dawes, a role created for the film. A new Batmobile (called the Tumbler) and a more mobile Batsuit were both created specifically for the film.[11][12]

Batman Begins opened on June 15, 2005, in the United States and Canada in 3,858 theaters. The film grossed $48 million in its opening weekend, eventually grossing over $372 million worldwide, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

The Dark Knight

Nolan reprised his duties as director, and brought his brother, Jonathan, to co-write the script for the second installment. The Dark Knight featured Bale reprising his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Heath Ledger as The Joker, and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Principal photography began in April 2007 in Chicago and concluded in November. Other locations included Pinewood Studios, Ministry of Sound in London and Hong Kong. On January 22, 2008, after he had completed filming The Dark Knight, Ledger died from a bad combination of prescription medication. Warner Bros. had created a viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight, developing promotional websites and trailers highlighting screen shots of Ledger as the Joker, but after Ledger's death, the studio refocused its promotional campaign.[13][14] The film made use of IMAX Cameras throughout the film, most notably during the bank heist, the hospital explosion, and the SWAT Caravan scene—where one of only three IMAX Cameras at the time was destroyed in a crash.

The film set numerous records during its theatrical run.[15] With over $1 billion in revenue worldwide, it is the sixteenth-highest-grossing film of all time, unadjusted for inflation.[16] The film received eight Academy Award nominations; it won the award for Best Sound Editing and Ledger was posthumously awarded Best Supporting Actor.

The Dark Knight Rises

Main article: The Dark Knight Rises

Nolan wanted the story for the third and final[17] installment to keep him emotionally invested. "On a more superficial level, I have to ask the question," he reasoned, "how many good third movies in a franchise can people name?"[18] He returned out of finding a necessary way to continue the story, but feared midway through filming he would find a sequel redundant.[19] By December 2008, Nolan completed a rough story outline, before he committed himself to Inception.[20] In February 2010, work on the screenplay was commencing with David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan.[21] When Goyer left to work on the Superman reboot, Jonathan was writing the script based on the story by his brother and Goyer.[22] Tom Hardy was cast as Bane and Anne Hathaway plays Selina Kyle.[23] Joseph Gordon-Levitt was cast as John Blake,[24][25] and Marion Cotillard was cast as Miranda Tate. Filming began in May 2011 and concluded in November.[26] Nolan chose not to film in 3-D but, by focusing on improving image quality and scale using the IMAX format, hoped to push technological boundaries while nevertheless making the style of the film consistent with the previous two.[27] Nolan had several meetings with IMAX Vice-President David Keighley to work on the logistics of projecting films in digital IMAX venues.[28] The Dark Knight Rises featured more scenes shot in IMAX than The Dark Knight.[28] Cinematographer Wally Pfister expressed interest in shooting the film entirely in IMAX.[29][30]

The Dark Knight Rises went on to out-gross the both of its predecessors and become the fourteenth-highest-grossing film of all time grossing over $1.08 billion. However, unlike its predecessors, the film was not nominated for any awards during its year of eligibility at the 85th Academy Awards.[31]

Recurring cast and characters

  • A Y indicates the actor portrayed a younger version of the character in a flashback scene.
  • An A indicates the actor appeared in the film through the use of archive footage.
  • A C indicates a cameo appearance.
  • A P indicates the actor appeared in the film through the use of a photograph or other device.
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Character Films
Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
Bruce Wayne / Batman Christian Bale
Gus LewisY
Christian Bale Christian Bale
Gus LewisYA
Alfred Pennyworth Michael Caine
Rachel Dawes Katie Holmes
Emma LockhartY
Maggie Gyllenhaal Maggie GyllenhaalP
James Gordon Gary Oldman
Dr. Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow Cillian Murphy Cillian MurphyC Cillian Murphy
Lucius Fox Morgan Freeman
Ra's al Ghul / Henri Ducard Liam Neeson   Liam NeesonC
Josh PenceY
Commissioner Loeb Colin McFarlane  
Harvey Dent / Two-Face   Aaron Eckhart Aaron EckhartAP
Thomas Wayne Linus Roache   Linus RoacheA
Gotham City Mayor   Nestor Carbonell
Wayne Enterprises Board Member   Patrick LeahyC


Box office performance

The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises in particular are two of only 26 films to gross over $1 billion worldwide.[32]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Outside
North America
Worldwide All time
North America
All time
Batman Begins June 15, 2005 $206,852,432 $167,366,241 $374,218,673 #150 #240 $150 million [4]
The Dark Knight July 18, 2008 $534,858,444 $469,700,000 $1,004,558,444 #6
#24 $185 million [5]
The Dark Knight Rises July 20, 2012 $448,139,099 $636,800,000 $1,084,939,099 #10
#16 $250 million [6]
Total $1,189,849,975 $1,273,866,241 $2,463,716,216 $585 million [33]
List indicator(s)
  • A light grey cell indicates information is not available.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).
  • Batman Begins and The Dark Knight gross includes 2012 re-releases.

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Batman Begins 84% (268 reviews)[34] 70 (41 reviews)[35] A[36]
The Dark Knight 94% (317 reviews)[37] 82 (39 reviews)[38] A[36]
The Dark Knight Rises 87% (334 reviews)[39] 78 (45 reviews)[40] A[36]

Academy Awards

Award Batman Begins The Dark Knight The Dark Knight Rises
Supporting Actor Won (Heath Ledger)
Art Direction Nominated
Cinematography Nominated Nominated
Film Editing Nominated
Makeup Nominated
Sound Editing Won
Sound Mixing Nominated
Visual Effects Nominated

Home media

The DVD of Batman Begins was released on October 18, 2005, in both single-disc and two-disc deluxe editions and also released on VHS and UMD Video formats.[41] In addition to the film, the deluxe edition contained featurettes and other bonus materials. The edition contained a small paperback booklet, the first Batman story, featured in Detective Comics No. 27, as well as Batman: The Man Who Falls and an excerpt from Batman: The Long Halloween.[42] Batman Begins achieved first place in national sales and rental charts in October 2005, becoming the top-selling DVD of the fourth quarter of 2005. The DVD grossed $11.36 million in rental revenue.[43] The DVD held its position at the top of the sales chart for a second week, but fell to second place behind Bewitched on video rental charts.[44] The film had brought in $167 million in DVD sales by August 2006.[45] Batman Begins was released on HD DVD on October 10, 2006.[46]

The Dark Knight was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in North America on December 9, 2008. Releases include a one-disc edition DVD; a two-disc Special Edition DVD; a two-disc edition BD; and a Special Edition BD package featuring a statuette of the Bat-pod.[47] The BD/iTunes version presents the film in a variable aspect ratio, with the IMAX sequences framed in 1.78:1, while scenes filmed in 35 mm are framed in 2.40:1.[48] The DVD versions feature the entire film framed in a uniform 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Disc 2 of the two-disc Special Edition DVD features the six main IMAX sequences in the original 1.44:1 aspect ratio. Additional IMAX shots throughout the film that are presented in 1.78:1 on the Blu-ray release are not, however, included in the DVD's special features. In addition to the standard DVD releases, some stores released their own exclusive editions of the film. The DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions were released in Australia on December 10, 2008. Releases were in the form of a one-disc edition on DVD; a two-disc edition on DVD; a two-disc edition including a Batmask on DVD and BD; a two-disc Batpod statuette Limited BD Edition; a two-disc BD edition; and a four-disc Batman Begins/The Dark Knight pack on DVD and BD. As of December 19, 2008, the DVD release is the top selling film in the Australian DVD Charts[49] In March 2011, Warner Bros. offered The Dark Knight for rent on Facebook, becoming the first film ever to be released via digital distribution on a social networking site.[50]

The Dark Knight Rises was released on November 28, 2012 in Hong Kong and New Zealand. On December 3, it was released in the United Kingdom, and on December 4, it was released in the United States. It is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital download [51]

Coinciding with the release of The Dark Knight Rises, a box set of The Dark Knight Trilogy was released.

Other media

Batman: Gotham Knight

Main article: Batman: Gotham Knight

Tying into the release of the 2008 Batman film The Dark Knight, Batman: Gotham Knight is an anthology film that tells a series of stories that take place between 2005's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, though it is not officially considered to be part of Christopher Nolan's Batman film series. The film was the first Batman feature, done in authentic Japanese anime from four different Japanese animation studios. Notable comic talents such as Brian Azzarello, David S. Goyer, and Greg Rucka contributed stories. It was released on July 8, 2008.

Veteran Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy returned once again to play Batman with the voice talents of Jim Meskimen as Lieutenant Gordon and Deadshot, Gary Dourdan as Crispus Allen, Ana Ortiz as Anna Ramirez, David McCallum as Alfred Pennyworth, Parminder Nagra as Cassandra, Rob Paulsen as Sal Maroni, Corey Burton as Scarecrow, Kevin Michael Richardson as Lucius Fox, Jason Marsden as Thomas Wayne, Andrea Romano as Martha Wayne, and George Newbern as the Man in Black.


Batman Begins is a 2005 videogame. The game's plot mirrors the movie's plot very closely, with minor modifications.[52] It was released June 14, 2005, a day before the 2005 American superhero film, a planned PSP version was cancelled. It was developed by Eurocom and published by Electronic Arts in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics. It was released on GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox.[52] The film's original cast provided a voice-over reprisal in the game, with the exception of Gary Oldman, who portrays James Gordon, replaced by Gavin Hammon. A Game Boy Advance adaptation was also released.

Batman: Arkham Knight is completely unrelated to the Dark Knight Trilogy. Despite this, the Dark Knight Trilogy bat-suit can be obtained as a free download,[53] while The Tumbler Batmobile is an available purchase.[54]

See also


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  2. ^ "THE DARK KNIGHT (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. June 25, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ "THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. July 3, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
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