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Nolan afraid of Dark Knight s reception
Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises. Picture: Ron Phillips/Warner Bros/DC Comics.

Director Christopher Nolan admits to being "terrified" about how the public will react to The Dark Knight Rises, such is the hype surrounding the final piece of his Batman trilogy.

He knows expectations are high - and why not?

His last effort, 2008's The Dark Knight which followed 2005's Batman Begins, reeled in more than $US1 billion worldwide.

There was such an outcry after it missed a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars that the pool of nominees has since been increased from five to 10.

While Nolan admits to feeling the pressure, he says he just had to forget the hype and try to make a great movie.

"The public will make of it what they will and I'm terrified absolutely, but in terms of living up to the previous film I think you'd be crazy to try to chase that kind of success," Nolan says.

Christian Bale reprises his roles as Bruce Wayne/Batman, while Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon) and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) also return.

Tom Hardy takes on Bane, the franchise's newest villain, while Anne Hathaway is cast as Selina Kyle, better known to many as Catwoman.

Bale has been a much darker version of Batman then previous adaptations of the caped crusader, fitting seamlessly into Nolan's version of Gotham City.

"The very first time Chris and I ever met we sat down, before I even auditioned for the role, and he asked me my concept," Bale told AAP.

"I gave him mine and he agreed, and we have achieved that, we've managed that, so that is a success to me."

Many of the details of The Dark Knight Rises have been a closely guarded secret. The online buzz is incredible and more than 100,000 tickets to the opening weekend in the US were sold before the end of June.

"There are some surprises in the film and hopefully people will get to enjoy those. We are trying to keep those under wraps as much as possible," Nolan admits.

What he will talk about is the decision to film plenty of the movie in the IMAX format, giving cinemagoers who find the appropriate theatre one hell of a ride.

"We shot almost half the film that way," he says.

"When you shoot with those cameras and project on an enormous screen, I've simply never seen anything that matches that image quality in terms of the resolution of it and the immersive power."

But Nolan isn't sure it'll help The Dark Knight Rises become the first superhero movie to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

"I don't think you make blockbuster movies like this with any thought to that end of things, I think it would be unwise to embark on that, it seems like a fool's errand," he says.

"Really these films are about trying to make an emotional connection with a very wide audience and trying to give people a roller-coaster ride, a thrill ride, that's what drives these films."

One thing Nolan is sure of is that this marks the end of his road with Batman.

"I'm done with Gotham City," he says.

"It's with a lot sadness really that I say goodbye to these characters ... but it's time to move on and I will look back on it with fondness.

"I'm happy with what we've done ... I've done my best, put it that way."

The Dark Knight Rises opens on July 19.