Excitement grows for 'Dark Knight Rises' opening

| Friday, July 13, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Holy anticipation, Bat fans!

The next Gothic tale in the Dark Knight movie series is just six days away — five, if you're willing to hit a midnight screening in the wee hours of Friday morning.

And the Steel City, where some of the graphic novel-esque action movie was filmed, is getting ready for its close-up.

Producers on Thursday released their fifth “Dark Knight Rises” trailer, titled ”Journey.” The 2-minute screener flashes images of old foes Two-Face and the Joker from “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” along with details on new villain Bane's arrival in Gotham, which draws Batman into an explosive, high-energy street war.

Earlier this week, they made public a 13-minute preview that gives a nod to the Steel City, particularly the Pittsburgh Steelers for permission to use pyrotechnics at Heinz Field to stage a climactic disaster shot. (On YouTube, search “Dark Knight Rises Making of the Film”.)

“The biggest challenge was the sheer scale of the operation that's going on,” said visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin. “We've got thousands of people in the stands, we've got multiple cameras, IMAX cameras. This is probably going to be one of the biggest, most-demanding visual-effects sequences in the film.”

Sure, many will line up to see if ultra-rich Bruce Wayne's after-hours alter ego can mix it up with Bane, the latest arch criminal bent on bringing Gotham City to its knees.

But in Pittsburgh, many will likely be scanning the background scenery, hoping to catch a glimpse of Downtown, Lawrenceville, Oakland and other Steel City backdrops. Trailers have shown Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of the movie's stars, in scenes on the Fort Duquesne Bridge, and Batman's flying Batwing barrel rolling over the US Steel Tower.

Sure, London and New York had a couple of scenes, but we know where the most important ones were shot.

“The Dark Knight Rises,” the third in the Dark Knight Batman series, is set to hit theaters at 12:01 a.m. Friday and tickets are on sale now. Many local theaters will host Dark Knight marathons starting around 6 p.m. Thursday, with the other two movies in the series — “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” — leading up to the new movie at midnight.

The movie stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Anne Hathaway, and was directed by Christopher Nolan, who wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan. The nearly three-hour long movie is rated PG-13.

A special red-carpet preview screening will be held Tuesday at the Byham Theater, Downtown. The screening will be hosted by executive producer Thomas Tull (“Inception,” “The 300,” “The Hangover”), of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures. Tull is a part owner of the Steelers.

“Dark Knight” stars Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and a few Steelers players are expected to be among those in attendance. The screening is not open to the public.

As Batman fans ponder how the “Dark Knight” series will turn out, David Letterman on Thursday may or may not have given away the ending. You can judge for yourself if he's joking. Just search the web for David Letterman Batman spoiler. We're not going to give it away here.

Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at cramirez@tribweb.com or 412-380-5682.

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