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The Dark Knight Rises: Batman, Bane, and Bain Drive Media 'Controversy'


"The Dark Knight Rises" has political undertones, and that means people are talking.


MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The Dark Knight Rises is in theaters today, and by all indications, it's going to be one of the most-watched films in recent history.

The way it's looking now, in the absolute worst-case scenario, it will merely break into the top 10 domestic grosses of all time, as compiled by

Its predecessor film, 2008's The Dark Knight, currently sits at No. 4 on the list, and I'd assume that The Dark Knight Rises will at least hit that mark.

TDKR's villain Bane isn't quite as hyped as the late Heath Ledger's legendary Joker, but nevertheless, Christopher Nolan's vision of Batman has had enormous resonance with moviegoers through a combination of mostly-brilliant casting, incredible visuals, sharp action sequences, and the focus on tugging at our latent and blatant fears of terrorism.

So it's safe to say that Time Warner's (TWX) going to be happy with the numbers it sees Monday morning.

Surely, TDKR won't have the same kind of effect on Time Warner that The Hunger Games had on Lions Gate (LGF). (See: Lions Gate: Emerging Craze for 'The Hunger Games' Drives a Parabolic Stock Move.)

But still -- there's literally zero chance that Time Warner is sitting on a high-profile flop like Disney's (DIS) earnings-killing John Carter, which was released in March.

However, I believe there's a secondary story here: the reaction to TDKR within the media and political jungle, which is a true testament to the franchise's sheer economic power.

Rush Limbaugh thinks there's some liberal conspiracy lurking within the naming of the bad guy Bane -- which is Bain (as in private-equity firm Bain Capital) spelled differently. Bain Capital is on people's minds because that's where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made his fortune. In his mind, voters will associate Bain with Bane, supposedly benefiting President Obama.

As it turns out, the character Bane was created in 1992 by two self-proclaimed conservatives. One of them, Chuck Dixon, recently appeared on The Schnitt Show radio show, where he said, "My understanding is that Bane is more of an Occupy Wall Street type. Romney is more like Bruce Wayne."

And here are two excerpts from the very right-leaning's review:

It's impossible not to feel Nolan's disgust at Occupy Wall Street, a movement the film paints as both incoherent and violent courtesy of a class warfare villain armed with nuclear weaponry.

Bane's henchmen literally attack Wall Street, savagely beat the rich and promise the good people of Gotham that "tomorrow, you claim what is rightfully yours." The Catwoman's gal pal (Juno Temple) assures her at one point, when they enter a swanky abode, that "this is everyone's home" now – in perfect Communist fashion.

Regardless of who's right, the point is, TDKR is so big that Rush Limbaugh has successfully managed to use it to draw attention to himself, and Breitbart is using it as a reason to attack Occupy Wall Street.

Who's right?

Are liberal or conservative archetypes painted as villains in TDKR?

I haven't yet seen the movie, but it doesn't seem to matter.

The fact is, people are talking, and that means dollars.

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