[UPDATE: The supposed DKR rough cut running time has been revealed as a hoax.]

The public’s Bat-mania has been in a state of remission for the past few months, allowing Christopher Nolan and his filmmaking crew some time to quietly commence with post-production duties on The Dark Knight Rises. It’s a sharp turnabout from the end of 2011, when the fervently anticipated blockbuster was making headlines on an almost daily basis, in part thanks to the unveiling of an ominous official poster, the IMAX premiere of the film’s prologue (complete with controversial sound mixing), and the release of a full-length trailer that is mostly just a glorified teaser.

A recently-released Dark Knight Rises plot synopsis shed a bit more light on the film’s storyline, while also (slowly) re-igniting the masses’ interest in seeing Christian Bale as Batman, facing off against the brutal tactics of animalistic terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy). Thanks to the announcement of the movie’s preliminary running time, we have an even better of just how much craziness will be going down in this flick.

Nolan reportedly screened a rough cut of The Dark Knight Rises for the head honchos over at Warner Bros. last week, which will afford the filmmaker plenty of time to incorporate any worthwhile feedback from his bosses and refine the final product as he sees fit. While the studio executives’ general response is being kept firmly under wraps for now, MTV has scooped up the following intriguing nugget of information.

“… ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is real and finished, presumably in the form of a four-hour rough cut. There’s no official word on the reaction to the [early studio] screening, as of yet.”

So, apparently Nolan’s early cut of Dark Knight Rises is massive, even in an age where blockbusters running upwards of 2.5-3 hours in length are frequently among the biggest box office hits of any year (see: Avatar, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, etc.). For comparative purposes, it should be pointed out that the running times for Nolan’s previous Batman movies are 140 minutes (Batman Begins) and 152 minutes (The Dark Knight).

UPDATE: As mentioned before (since this article was written) it’s now been clarified that the length of Nolan’s rough cut for TDKR is unknown – and that aspect of MTV‘s report was meant to be taken as a joke.

Dark Knight Rises also marks a break in tradition from its predecessors, due to its theatrical release date arriving after this year’s San Diego Comic-Con festivities take place. That’s lead to speculation that Nolan and certain members of the film’s cast could be putting in an unprecedented appearance at the event.

There’s a chance Nolan could appear at San Diego Comic-Con this year. It would be the first time ever for the director, since his previous two Batman movies debuted before the convention. This time around, Batman will rise the week after SDCC, so speculation has already begun that Nolan could make his final bow at the geekiest of all gatherings.

As much excitement as there undoubtedly is for Nolan and Co. to put in a Comic-Con appearance, the bigger news is that he and his editing team will be quite busy chopping Dark Knight Rises down to size over the next few months. Joss Whedon’s first cut of The Avengers was an hour shorter than Nolan’s TDKR rough cut, which puts into perspective the sheer amount of narrative ground to be covered (and action set pieces to be featured) in the Batman threequel.

The Dark Knight Rises features a cast which includes Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Juno Temple, among several others. Suffice it to say, their respective on-screen counterparts look to get the fair share of screen time when the film hits regular and IMAX theaters around the U.S. on July 20th, 2012.

Source: MTV