On June 23, 1989, one of the most iconic and trendsetting movies in Hollywood history is released – Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’.
For years film and TV studios alike pondered on what to do with the caped crusader, after the hit TV show staring Adam West was canceled in 1968.
Several projects started and stopped from placing Batman in space to employing James Bond veterans, screenwriter Richard Maibaum and director Guy Hamilton, to give new life to Bruce Wayne – none of these projects gained any traction.
In 1986 WB decided to sign former Disney animator Tim Burton to direct the unwritten story.
In fact, the project wasn’t actually given the green light until after Burton’s hit movie ‘Beetlejuice’ in 1988.
The idea of Burton was considered farfetched by many as was the casting of Michael Keaton who up until then was considered mainly a comedic actor.
Then came the big news that Jack Nicholson had signed on to play The Joker, Nicholson’s casting and contract (that included top billing, a profit percentage on the box office, and a cut of merchandise sold) would solidify the hype leading up to the summer release.
The darker themes of the movie followed the recent graphic novel comic books ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ & ‘The Killing Joke’ which set the tone for decades to come and distanced the character from its campy 1960’s portrayal and brought the Batman world closer to that of its creators Bob Cane & Bill Finger who portrayed the hero as a creature of the night.
Shooting was held at historic Pinewood Studios (home of Kubrick & Bond) and after its release in the summer of ‘89 it was, at the time, the 5th highest grossing movie of all time and along with ‘Superman’ marked the rise of the modern era of comic book movies which still dominates the industry to this day.
Check out all the seasons of The Latch Key Kids Podcast especially Season One ‘Breaking Bond’ streaming now on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, Audible, and Apple Podcasts.