I was thinking about this on the way into work this morning. I envisioned the following conversation:
Studio Bigwig: Jesus, we've got to do something about this Batman movie. If it doesn't make a killing opening weekend, my ass is on the line.
Studio Flunky: The industry's been flat for a year now, sir.
Bigwig: I know it! And we've got hundreds of millions sunk in Dark Knight. If we don't make half the nut back within a week, we'll both be pushin' fries at people in the fast food line quicker than you can say "Big Mac."
Flunky: We need more marketing, sir.
Bigwig: Aaaah, we've already thrown ten mil at primetime trailers. I'm not throwin' good money after bad. We need somethin' different.
Flunky: How about free publicity?
Bigwig: Great. How we supposed to get publicity for free?
Flunky: What if some big news story, connected with the film, were to break big while it was in post-production? Like what if the star died?
Bigwig: Bale? Bale can't die, he's the franchise!
Flunky: You're right, sir. But we don't have to use the Joker again, do we?
Bigwig: [pause] Flunky, I'm shocked. You have got to be the sneakiest, most Machia-... Machi-... Mach....
Flunky: Machiavellian, sir.
Bigwig: Right... the sneakiest bastard I've ever come across.
Flunky: So I'll set it up, then.
Bigwig: I don't know nothin' about it.
Flunky: Of course not, sir.