The Dark Knight Rises is subject to some of the most fervid hype since the death and resurrection of Christ—i.e., since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. It is almost impossible to imagine a circumstance in which the movie won't make bajillions. But we've tried. Here are five ways The Dark Knight Rises could still be a box office flop.
Dark Knight Disaster #1: To everyone's surprise, the film is a Bollywood-style musical. While Anne Hathaway can sing, Bale can't, and his Newsies-inspired dance moves are declared by the New York Times to be "as embarrassing as Napoleon Dynamite." The most YouTubed clip of the movie is Bane and Batman's dance-off in a field of daisies. When Batman wins, he pushes Bane into a gurgling stream to ruin his enemy's leather accessories.
Dark Knight Disaster #2: Christopher Nolan goes berserk and decides he doesn't want the film released. He hires a bunch of thugs to hold up each and every theater showing The Dark Knight Rises and burn the evidence. (The prints, not the theaters, although the thugs may get carried away in some cases and commit arson.) Of course, he'd have to be extremely thorough—if even the raw, unedited footage survived, the studio would cut it together and screen the result. Given all the press Nolan's meltdown (and subsequent trial and conviction) would generate, Rises Redux would generate even bigger audiences and unheard of profits.
Dark Knight Disaster #3: After some very expensive psychotherapy, Bruce Wayne came out of the closet to his friends and family, including Alfred, who says that "he always knew," and loves him just the way he is. Despite finally finding peace and happiness with Robin and their adopted baby girl Rachel, named in honor of Wayne's fallen beard, he realizes that instead of fighting one bad guy, he's up against the 32% of Americans still strongly opposed to gay marriage. The movie's plot is pretty much the same as any other superhero movie—he fights for truth, justice, and equality—but the fact that he's picketing rather than punching, and now confident enough in his masculinity to ditch the heavily armored car and codpiece, disappoints all the pimply teenagers who just wanted to see some cool CGI. The movie is as big a failure as Sunday Bloody Sunday and puts Christian Bale out of work for years.
Dark Knight Disaster #4: Christian Bale goes on a televised tirade against every prominent minority group: the gays, the blacks, the Asians—you name it, he goes there. The NAACP, GLAAD, and every other advocate organizations besides the KKK unites to boycott the film. Even fanboys who couldn't care less about Bale's big mouth are forbidden from buying a ticket by their soccer moms and yuppie dads. The Occupy movement seizes the moment to start occupying movie theaters, as well. Mitt Romney makes a crack about "these kids today," which only makes things worse. Eventually, Warner Brothers is forced to withdraw the film and issue an official apology, both on their own behalf and from Bale himself. A year from now, however, fans will start a grassroots campaign to see the film anyways, as a sign of how society has moved on from the horrible events of Summer 2012. The film is eventually released, and makes tons of money while generating extensive media coverage about the recovery of society after such a time of trial.
Dark Knight Disaster #5: Aliens enslave the human race, preventing us from spending our hard-earned earth-dollars on these so-called moving pictures. Still, if our captors were bored and wanted a taste of the local entertainment, we'd hand them The Dark Knight Rises. And if we were plugged into a Matrix-style system, they'd let our trapped minds watch Rises with them to sate us. Hey, we're near comatose, but at least we didn't have to spend $19.75 to see it on IMAX.