When The Dark Knight makes the hundreds of millions of dollars it's going to make, I predict Warner Brothers will do everything in its power to ensure that the next installment, which Christopher Nolan has reportedly wanted to be the "trilogy capper" for Batman, will definitely not be the final Batman film.
At a certain point, you almost can't blame them. When you look at the summer of 2006, for instance, Warner Brothers took a hammering not unlike the mob at Batman's hands according to Sir Alfred in the first teaser. I'm not going to bother with extracting all of the numbers, but I do plainly remember Poseidon, Superman Returns and Lady in the Water just for starters all underperforming. The studio was hit hard. (Fortunately for them, they had The Departed waiting to be shown in the fall.)
Anyway, what do you think? Even if you haven't seen The Dark Knight yet, but especially if you have (and many of you doubtless will in the upcoming hours as will I), do you think Warner Brothers will take a hardline approach to retaining what appears to be their safest cash cow? It's something of a blessing and a curse, of course: Nolan may adamantly insist that his third film is at the very least his last, but will he be comfortable with the studio letting someone else take over?
Not having seen The Dark Knight yet I have no idea how it does or does not set up the eventual third film--the whole Ledger/Joker issue notwithstanding--so it will be something to soak up after viewing the film in its own right, though I'm sure I'll be rightly caught up in The Dark Knight singularly that I thankfully won't be thinking about any of this until later on this evening when I return...