The concept seems almost quaint in this age of viral marketing and elaborate ARG promotions but the allure is undeniable for anyone who had dreamed of riding shotgun in Gotham City — the Tumbler, a.k.a. the Batmobile, is touring the country and drawing thousands of fans who come to point, grin and snap their photos with Bruce Wayne’s sweet ride.
The Tumbler returns to theaters July 20 in “The Dark Knight Rises” but since May 12 it’s been cruising the country and parking at movie theaters, Wal-Marts, museums and stadiums. The Tumbler Tour will run through July and finish up in Southern California.
The 15-foot-long vehicle has been described as “part-Lamborghini, part-tank” by Nathan Crowley, the production designer for Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City trilogy, which began with 2005′s “Batman Begins” continued with 2008′s “The Dark Knight” and wraps up with this summer’s much-anticipated final act. Also on tour: The Bat-pod, a removable segment of the Tumbler that rides on its own as a nimble single-rider contraption with a profile similar to a spindly motorcycle on fat tires.
The tour is meant to rev up interest in “The Dark Knight Rises,” but few films will ever arrive at theaters with more pent-up interest than Nolan’s farewell to the Batcave. The 2008 installment was a $1 billion-dollar success in worldwide box office and broke records on home video.
This third film was shot over six months and introduces two new mystery figures to the franchise: Bane (Tom Hardy) gives Nolan a “classic movie monster, in a way,” while Selena Kyle (Anne Hathaway) presents a woman who is as graceful and dangerous as Gotham.
Still, this summer’s “The Avengers” has raised the bar of superhero film expectations and (in global box-office grosses) the Marvel all-star adventure now stands as the moneymaking champ among Hollywood’s comic-book adaptations. ”The Dark Knight Rises” may be hard-pressed to beat “The Avengers” numbers without the benefit of the pricier 3-D tickets that bolstered the Joss Whedon movie.
– Geoff Boucher
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