Batman Returns

Batman Returns is a 1992 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is a sequel to the 1989 film Batman and the second installment of Warner Bros. initial Batman film series, with Michael Keaton reprising the role of Bruce Wayne / Batman. The film, produced by Denise Di Novi and Burton, also stars Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, and Michael Murphy. In Batman Returns, Batman must prevent the Penguin from killing all of Gotham City's firstborn sons while dealing with Selina Kyle/Catwoman, the former secretary of businessman Max Shreck and who seeks vengeance against Shreck for attempting to kill her to hide his own plans to bring the city under his control.

Burton originally did not want to direct another Batman film. Warner Bros. developed a script with Sam Hamm which had the Penguin and Catwoman going after hidden treasure. Burton agreed to return after they granted him more creative control and replaced Hamm with Daniel Waters. After a falling out, Waters was removed from the project and Wesley Strick was chosen to do an uncredited rewrite shortly before filming. This included normalizing dialogue, fleshing out the Penguin's motivations and master plan and removing scenes due to budget concerns. Strick continued working as the on-set writer all through filming, an early trailer credited Strick as co-screenwriter with Waters having sole story credit but after a dispute from Hamm he received no credit whatsoever. Annette Bening was originally cast as Catwoman but became pregnant and was replaced with Pfeiffer.

Batman Returns was released on June 19, 1992. It grossed $266.8 million worldwide on a budget of $80 million and received positive reviews. Critics praised its action sequences, performances, Danny Elfman's score, effects, and villains, although its dark tone was criticized. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup, as well as two BAFTA awards. A sequel, Batman Forever, was released in 1995, with Val Kilmer replacing Keaton as Batman.

Batman Returns
Batman returns poster2
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byTim Burton
Produced by
Screenplay byDaniel Waters
Story by
Based on
Starring
Music byDanny Elfman
CinematographyStefan Czapsky
Edited byChris Lebenzon
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
Running time
126 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$80 million[1]
Box office$266.8 million[2]

Plot

In the prologue, socialites Tucker and Esther Cobblepot give birth to a deformed baby boy, Oswald. Disgusted by his appearance and wild demeanor, they confine the baby to a cage and ultimately throw him into the sewer, where he is discovered by a family of penguins at Gotham Zoo.

Thirty-three years later, millionaire Max Shreck proposes to build a power plant to supply Gotham City with energy, though he is opposed by the city mayor. During Shreck's speech, Gotham is attacked by a disgraced former circus troupe, the Red Triangle Gang. Despite the efforts of Batman to stop the violence, Shreck is abducted and taken to the sewer, where he meets Oswald Cobblepot, the gang's secret leader now known as the Penguin. The Penguin blackmails Shreck with evidence of his corporate crimes into helping him return to the surface, and he accepts. Meanwhile, Shreck's secretary, Selina Kyle, discovers the true purpose of Shreck's power plant to drain Gotham of its energy and bring the city under Shreck's control. Shreck pushes her out of a window to silence her, but she survives the fall and vows revenge, taking up the mantle of Catwoman.

The Penguin makes his presence known by "rescuing" the Mayor's baby from a staged kidnapping attempt, and requests to be allowed into the Hall of Records to find his parents. Batman's alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, voices his suspicions about the Penguin's true motives, and investigates his background and connection to the Red Triangle Gang. During a meeting with Shreck, Wayne meets Kyle and the two become attracted to one another. In order to remove his enemies, Shreck pushes for the Penguin to run for mayor and discredit the current mayor by having the Red Triangle Gang wreak havoc on the city. Batman intervenes and meets Catwoman as she attempts to sabotage one of Shreck's businesses; she escapes, but is injured and swears revenge on Batman by allying with the Penguin to frame him for an undiscussed crime.

As Wayne and Kyle begin a romantic relationship, the Penguin abducts Gotham's Ice Princess and kills her, framing Batman for the act, at the same time sabotaging his Batmobile to rampage throughout Gotham (until Batman disconnects the controlling device), and ends his partnership with Catwoman, who didn't anticipate the murder, when she rejects his advances; he attempts to kill her with one of his flying umbrellas, but she survives after falling into a greenhouse. During the chase, Batman records the Penguin's disparaging remarks about the people of Gotham and later plays them during his next speech, destroying his image and forcing him to retreat to the sewer, where he reveals his plan to abduct and kill all of Gotham's firstborn sons as revenge for what his parents did to him. At a charity ball hosted by Shreck, Wayne and Kyle meet and discover each other's secret identities. The Penguin appears and reveals his plan, intending to take Shreck's son, Chip, with him, but Shreck gives himself up in his son's stead.

Batman foils the kidnappings and heads for the Penguin's lair. The Penguin attempts to have his army of penguins bomb the city and kill everyone in Gotham, though Batman and his butler, Alfred, jam the signal and order the penguins to head back to the sewer. Batman arrives and confronts the Penguin. In the ensuing fight, the Penguin falls through a window into the sewer's toxic water. Shreck escapes but is confronted by Catwoman, who intends to kill him. Batman pleads for Kyle to stop, unmasking himself in the process. Shreck draws a gun and shoots Wayne, and then shoots Kyle multiple times, but she survives and electrocutes herself and Shreck with a stun gun, causing a massive explosion. Wayne, who was wearing body armour, finds Shreck's corpse but Kyle is nowhere to be found. The Penguin emerges from the water, but eventually dies from his injuries and from the toxic sewage, and his penguin family lay his body to rest in the water. In the aftermath, as Alfred drives him home, Wayne sees Kyle's silhouette in an alley but only finds her cat, who he decides to take home with him. The Bat-Signal appears in the sky as Catwoman, who survived, watches.

Cast

  • Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman: The protector of Gotham City and the Caped Crusader. Bruce struggles with his dual identity as a crime fighter, becoming romantically involved with Selina Kyle, alias Catwoman. Keaton earned $11 million for reprising his role as the Caped Crusader as director Tim Burton thought that Keaton deserved it. Batman Returns was Keaton's final film as Batman, as he was subsequently replaced by Val Kilmer and George Clooney in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, respectively.
  • Danny DeVito as Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin: A psychopathic, deformed man born as Oswald Cobblepot who was abandoned by his parents when he was a baby. Raised by penguins of an abandoned zoo, he returns for revenge thirty-three years later as leader of the Red Triangle Circus Gang after being cheated by businessman Max Shreck. DeVito was suggested for the role by his friend Jack Nicholson after the financial success of the first film, in which Nicholson played the Joker.[3] According to DeVito, "It was four-and-a-half hours of makeup and getting into the costume. We got it down to three hours by the end of the shoot".[4] Dustin Hoffman was originally the first choice to play the Penguin, but he declined. Apart from Hoffman, Marlon Brando, John Candy, Bob Hoskins, Ralph Waite, Dean Martin, Dudley Moore, Alan Rickman, John Goodman, Phil Collins, Charles Grodin, Christopher Lee, Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Rocco and Christopher Lloyd were all considered for the part before DeVito got it.[5]
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle / Catwoman: A normal woman who becomes a criminal after being almost killed by her boss Max Shreck, who later decides to try everything to kill her. She is held as a femme fatale in most of the film. According to Michelle Pfeiffer, who was previously considered to play Vicki Vale in the previous film but turned down due to reportedly being in a relationship with Michael Keaton at the time, she felt devastated after Annette Bening was cast as Catwoman. However, Bening became pregnant, allowing Pfeiffer to get the role. Pfeiffer's $3 million salary was $2 million more than was offered to Bening. To prepare for the role, Pfeiffer attended kickboxing classes and practised handling a whip (during which she accidentally cut her teacher's chin).[4] Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep (who was considered "too old" by Burton),[6] Brooke Shields (whom Burton considered "not bankable"), Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman (who ended up playing Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever), Jodie Foster, Geena Davis, Sigourney Weaver, Lena Olin, singer Madonna, Raquel Welch, Cher, Ellen Barkin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Lorraine Bracco, Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Beals were also considered for the role, but they lost out to Pfeiffer.[7]
  • Christopher Walken as Max Shreck: A wealthy businessman and industrialist known as "The Santa Claus of Gotham". He is obsessed with building a power chemical plant in Gotham City, but when both Bruce Wayne and the Mayor of Gotham City deny his idea, he decides to help Oswald Cobblepot to become the new mayor of Gotham City for his plans. Apart from being the father of Chip Shreck and presumably killing his wife to gain her money, Shreck is also the former employer of Selina Kyle, who wants to kill him following his attempt to kill her. The character was created by writer Daniel Waters and named in-joke after the late German actor Max Schreck, who starred in Nosferatu.[8][9] Apart from this, Shreck fulfils what would have been Harvey Dent's role if Billy Dee Williams hadn't opted out of this film.[10] Singer David Bowie, who was previously considered to play the Joker in the first film, was in contention for the role of Shreck,[7] but he declined in order to appear in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.[11] According to casting director Marion Dougherty, Burton was initially hesitant to cast Walken as Shreck, on the basis that the actor scared him.[12]
  • Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth: The Wayne family's butler and Batman's accomplice, who has helped and raised him since his parents' death. Along with Pat Hingle, Gough was one of the few actors who appeared in all four films of the initial Batman film series.
  • Pat Hingle as Commissioner James Gordon: Commissioner of the Police Department of Gotham City. Along with Michael Gough, Hingle was one of the few actors who appeared in all four films of the initial Batman film series.
  • Michael Murphy as The Mayor: The unnamed mayor of Gotham City. He doesn't like Max Shreck's idea to build a nuclear power plant in Gotham City. His son is later kidnapped by the Red Triangle Circus Gang, only to be "saved" by the Penguin.
  • Vincent Schiavelli as The Organ Grinder: A member of the Red Triangle Circus Gang and the Penguin's right-hand man. He carries an organ grinder as his main weapon. He survives all three attacks on Gotham City, but is captured and presumably interrogated by Batman during the Penguin's final attempt to take over Gotham City. Schiavelli had previously co-starred with DeVito in several episodes of the sitcom Taxi.
  • Andrew Bryniarski as Charles "Chip" Shreck: Son of Max Shreck and his late wife. Apart from being the heir of Max's business, he is brave enough to do everything he can to defend his father, such as ordering him to flee as he helps other Gotham City residents to retain members of the Red Triangle Circus Gang.
  • Cristi Conaway as The Ice Princess: A Christmas-themed beauty queen and model of Gotham City.
  • Rick Zumwalt as The Tattooed Strongman: A member of the Red Triangle Circus Gang. He survives the first attack on Gotham City, but is killed during the second attack by one of his bombs when Batman throws him into a hole before the explosion.
  • Anna Katarina as The Poodle Lady: A member of the Red Triangle Circus Gang. She survives all three attacks on Gotham City, but she runs away along with her poodle to escape from Batman during the third attack, abandoning her teammates.
  • Paul Reubens as The Penguin's Father (Tucker Cobblepot): The father of Oswald Cobblepot and husband of Esther Cobblepot. He and his wife abandoned their son by throwing him into Gotham City's park river after realizing that he could be a danger to society after he killed their cat. Burgess Meredith, the actor who played the Penguin in the 1960s Batman TV series, was originally asked to play Tucker, but he declined due to his health problems which culminated with his death in 1997.[13][7] Reubens would later reprise his role as the Penguin's father in the 2016 second season of the television series Gotham, though named Elijah Van Dahl and set in a different continuity.
  • Diane Salinger as The Penguin's Mother (Esther Cobblepot): The mother of Oswald Cobblepot and wife of Tucker Cobblepot. She and her husband abandoned their son by throwing him into Gotham City's park river after realizing that he could be a danger to society after he killed their cat.

Production

Development

After the success of Batman, Warner Bros. was hoping for a sequel to start filming in May 1990 at Pinewood Studios. They spent $250,000 storing the sets from the first film. Tim Burton originally did not want to direct another film in the franchise. "I will return if the sequel offers something new and exciting", he said in 1989. "Otherwise it's a most-dumbfounded idea."[14] Burton decided to direct Edward Scissorhands for 20th Century Fox. Meanwhile, Sam Hamm from the previous film delivered the first two drafts of the script, while Bob Kane was brought back as a creative consultant.[15] Hamm's script had the Penguin and Catwoman going after hidden treasure.[16]

Burton was impressed with Daniel Waters' work on Heathers; Burton originally brought Waters aboard on a sequel to Beetlejuice. Warner Bros. then granted Burton a large amount of creative control. Denise Di Novi and Burton became the film's producers. The first film's producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber became executive producers, joining Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan. Dissatisfied with the Hamm script, Burton commissioned a rewrite from Waters.[15][17][18] Waters "came up with a social satire that had an evil mogul backing a bid for the Mayor's office by the Penguin", Waters reported. "I wanted to show that the true villains of our world don't necessarily wear costumes."[16] The subplot of the Penguin running for Mayor came from the 1960s TV series episodes "Hizzoner the Penguin" and "Dizzoner the Penguin".[16] Waters wrote a total of five drafts.[18]

On the characterization of Catwoman, Waters explained "Sam Hamm went back to the way comic books in general treat women, like fetishy sexual fantasy. I wanted to start off just at the lowest point in society, a very beaten down secretary."[17] Harvey Dent appeared in early drafts of the script, but was deleted. His disfiguring appearance of Two-Face would have appeared in the climax when Catwoman kisses him with a taser to the face, which was replaced with Max Shreck. Waters quoted, "Sam Hamm definitely planned that. I flirted with it, having Harvey start to come back and have one scene of him where he flips a coin and it's the good side of the coin, deciding not to do anything, so you had to wait for the next movie."[17] In early scripts Max Shreck was the "golden boy" of the Cobblepot family, whereas The Penguin was the deformed outsider. It turned out that Shreck would be the Penguin's long-lost brother.[19] Max Shreck was also a reference to actor Max Schreck, known for his role as Count Orlok in Nosferatu.[18]

Pre-production

Burton hired Wesley Strick to do an uncredited rewrite. Strick recalled, "When I was hired to write Batman Returns (Batman II at the time), the big problem of the script was the Penguin's lack of a 'master plan'."[20] Warner Bros. presented Strick with warming, or freezing Gotham City, a plot point they would later use in Batman & Robin. Strick gained inspiration from a Moses parallel that had the Penguin killing the firstborn sons of Gotham. A similar notion was used when the Penguin's parents threw him into a river as a baby.[20] Robin appeared in the script, but was deleted because Waters felt the film had too many characters. Waters called Robin "the most worthless character in the world, especially with [Batman as] the loner of loners". Robin started out as a juvenile gang leader, who becomes an ally to Batman. Robin was later changed to a black teenage garage mechanic.[17] Waters explained, "He's wearing this old-fashioned garage mechanic uniform and it has an 'R' on it. He drives the Batmobile, which I notice they used in the third film!"[17] Marlon Wayans was cast, and signed for a sequel. The actor had attended a wardrobe fitting, but it was decided to save the character for a third installment.[21]

Michael Keaton returned after a significant increase in his salary to $10 million. Annette Bening was cast as Catwoman after Burton saw her performance in The Grifters, but she dropped out due to her pregnancy.[16][22] Raquel Welch, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madonna, Ellen Barkin, Cher, Bridget Fonda, Lorraine Bracco, Jennifer Beals and Susan Sarandon were then in competition for the role.[15][23] Sean Young, who was originally chosen for Vicki Vale in the previous film, believed the role should have gone to her. Young visited production offices dressed in a homemade Catwoman costume, demanding an audition.[24] Burton was unfamiliar with Michelle Pfeiffer's work, but was convinced to cast her after one meeting.[25] Pfeiffer received a $3 million salary, $2 million more than Bening, and a percentage of the box office.[16] The actress undertook kickboxing lessons for the role and trained with an expert to master the whip.[26][27] Kathy Long served as Pfeiffer's body double. On Danny DeVito's casting, Waters explained, "I kind of knew that DeVito was going to play the Penguin. We didn't really officially cast it, but for a short nasty little guy, it's a short list. I ended up writing the character for Danny DeVito."[17]

Burgess Meredith (who portrayed the Penguin in the 1960s TV series Batman) was cast for a little cameo as Tucker Cobblepot, Penguin's father, but illness prevented him from it and that role was taken by Paul Reubens.[28]

Filming

Batman Returns set
Gotham City Square set built inside Studio 16 on Warner Bros. Studios.

In early 1991, two of Hollywood's largest sound stages (Stage 16 at Warner Bros. and Stage 12 at Universal Studios) were being prepared for the filming of Batman Returns.[16] Filming started in June 1991.[25] Stage 16 held Gotham Plaza, based on Rockefeller Center. Universal's Stage 12 housed Penguin's underground lair. A half-a-million gallon tank filled with water was used.[16] Burton wanted to make sure that the penguins felt comfortable.[25] Eight other locations on the Warner Bros. lot were used; over 50% of their property was occupied by Gotham City sets.[16]

Animal rights groups started protesting the film after finding out that penguins would have rockets strapped on their backs. Richard Hill, the curator of the penguins, explained that Warner Bros. was very helpful in making sure the penguins were comfortable.[29] "On the flight over the plane was refrigerated down to 45 degrees", recalls Hill. "In Hollywood, they were given a refrigerated trailer, their own swimming pool, half-a-ton of ice each day, and they had fresh fish delivered daily straight from the docks. Even though it was 100 degrees outside, the entire set was refrigerated down to 35 degrees."[29] This made it very cold for Michelle Pfeiffer, who was most of the time clad only in a thin latex catsuit.[26] According to the American Humane Association's On-Set Oversight, The six Emperor penguins that act as pallbearers for the Penguin's body at the end of the film, were little people dressed as Emperor penguins.

The streets of Gotham City use the old Brownstone Street and Hennessy Street on the Warners' backlot.[30]

Warner Bros. devoted a large amount of secrecy for Batman Returns. The art department was required to keep their office blinds pulled down. Cast and crew had to have photo ID badges with the movie's fake working title Dictel to go anywhere near the sets.[31] Kevin Costner was refused a chance to visit the set. An entertainment magazine leaked the first photos of Danny DeVito as the Penguin; in response Warner Bros. employed a private investigator to track down the accomplice.[16] $65 million was spent during the production of Batman Returns, while $15 million was used for marketing, coming to a total cost of $80 million.[1] The final shot of Catwoman looking at the Bat-Signal was completed during post-production and was not part of the shooting script. After Batman Returns was completed Warner Bros. felt it was best for Catwoman to survive, saving more characterizations in a future installment. Pfeiffer was unavailable and a body double was chosen.[15]

Design and effects

Bo Welch, Burton's collaborator on Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, replaced Anton Furst as production designer, since Furst was unable to return for the sequel due to contractual obligations with Columbia Pictures (as he was working on what would be his final credited work prior to his suicide, Awakenings).[32] Welch blended "Fascist architecture with World's fair architecture" for Gotham City.[33] He also studied Russian architecture and German Expressionism. An iron maiden was used for Bruce Wayne's entry into the Batcave.[34] Stan Winston, who worked with Burton on Edward Scissorhands, designed Danny DeVito's prosthetic makeup, which took two hours to apply.[1] DeVito had to put a combination of mouthwash and red/green food coloring in his mouth "to create a grotesque texture of some weird ooze."[35]

PfeifferCatwoman
Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

More than 60 latex Catsuits were created for the six-month shoot at $1,000 each.[36] The initial concept for the design came from Tim Burton, who envisioned a stuffed cat with its stitches coming apart at the seams.[37] The prototype was created around a body cast of Pfeiffer so that it would fit her exactly, and painted with white silicone rubber to imitate stitches.[37] It was extremely tight and very laborious to put on – Michelle Pfeiffer had to be covered in talcum powder to squeeze into the costume, which was in turn brushed with liquid silicone on every take to give it shine.[26][38] Pfeiffer might wear the suit for 12 to 14 hours at a time, except lunch breaks when it was removed, which was her only opportunity to use the bathroom during the workday.[26]

The Batsuit was updated, which was made out of a thinner, slightly more flexible foam rubber material than the suit from Batman, and the logo was changed to better reflect how it looked in the comics. The new bat-suit also had a zipper for urination and the upper body build did not look like a muscular physique. DeVito was uncomfortable with his costume, but this made it easy for him to get into character. J. P. Morgan's wardrobe was used for inspiration on Max Shreck's costume design.[39]

The bats were entirely composed of computer-generated imagery since it was decided directing real bats on set would be problematic.[16] The Penguin's "bird army" was a combination of CGI, robotic creatures, men in suits and even real penguins.[25] Robotic penguin puppets were commissioned by Stan Winston. In total 30 African penguins and 12 king penguins were used.[40] A miniature effect was used for the exteriors of the Cobblepot Mansion in the opening scene and for Wayne Manor. The same method was used for the Bat Ski-boat and the exterior shots of the Gotham Zoo.[41]

Music

Danny Elfman had great enthusiasm for returning because "I didn't have to prove myself from the first film. I remember Jon Peters was very skeptical at first to hire me."[42] Elfman's work schedule was 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. "When completing this movie I realized it was something of a film score and an opera. It was 95 minutes long, twice the amount of the average film score."[42] Burton allowed Elfman to be more artistic with the sequel score, such as the "scraping" on violins for the cat themes. Under the pressure of finishing the score, however, the relationship between the two strained, which — along with further "creative differences" on The Nightmare Before Christmas[43] — led Burton to use Howard Shore to score his next film Ed Wood.[44] The musician co-orchestrated "Face to Face", which was written and performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees. The song can be heard in one scene during the film and during the end credits.[42]

Release

Box office

Batman Returns was released in America on June 19, 1992, earning $45.69 million in 2,644 theaters on its opening weekend.[45] This was the highest opening weekend in 1992 and the highest opening weekend of any film up to that point.[46] The film went on to gross $162.83 million in North America, and $104 million in foreign countries, coming to a worldwide total of $266.83 million.[45] Batman Returns was the third highest-grossing film in America of 1992,[46] and sixth highest in worldwide totals.[47]

Critical response

Though criticized by some for being too dark and violent, Batman Returns received mostly positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 77 reviews, with an average rating of 6.73/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Director Tim Burton's dark, brooding atmosphere, Michael Keaton's work as the tormented hero, and the flawless casting of Danny DeVito as The Penguin, and Christopher Walken as, well, Christopher Walken make the sequel better than the first."[48] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[49]

Janet Maslin in The New York Times thought that "Mr. Burton creates a wicked world of misfits, all of them rendered with the mixture of horror, sympathy and playfulness that has become this director's hallmark." She described Michael Keaton as showing "appropriate earnestness", Danny DeVito as "conveying verve", Christopher Walken as "wonderfully debonair", Michelle Pfeiffer as "captivating... fierce, seductive", Bo Welch's production design as "dazzling", Stefan Czapsky's cinematography as "crisp", and Daniel Waters's screenplay as "sharp."[50]

Peter Travers in Rolling Stone wrote: "Burton uses the summer's most explosively entertaining movie to lead us back into the liberating darkness of dreams." He praised the performances: "Pfeiffer gives this feminist avenger a tough core of intelligence and wit; she's a classic dazzler... Michael Keaton's manic-depressive hero remains a remarkably rich creation. And Danny DeVito's mutant Penguin—a balloon-bellied Richard III with a kingdom of sewer freaks—is as hilariously warped as Jack Nicholson's Joker and even quicker with the quips."[51]

Desson Howe in The Washington Post wrote: "Director Burton not only re-creates his one-of-a-kind atmosphere, he one-ups it, even two-ups it. He's best at evoking the psycho-murky worlds in which his characters reside. The Penguin holds court in a penguin-crowded, Phantom of the Opera-like sewer home. Keaton hides in a castlelike mansion, which perfectly mirrors its owner's inner remoteness. Comic strip purists will probably never be happy with a Batman movie. But Returns comes closer than ever to Bob Kane's dark, original strip, which began in 1939." He described Walken as "engaging", DeVito as "exquisite" and Pfeiffer as "deliciously purry."[52]

Todd McCarthy in Variety wrote that "the real accomplishment of the film lies in the amazing physical realization of an imaginative universe. Where Burton's ideas end and those of his collaborators begin is impossible to know, but the result is a seamless, utterly consistent universe full of nasty notions about societal deterioration, greed and other base impulses." He praised the contributions of Stan Winston, Danny Elfman, Bo Welch and cinematographer Stefan Czapsky, and in terms of performances, opined that "the deck is stacked entirely in favor of the villains", calling DeVito "fascinating" and Pfeiffer "very tasty."[53]

Conversely, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two stars out of four, writing: "I give the movie a negative review, and yet I don't think it's a bad movie; it's more misguided, made with great creativity, but denying us what we more or less deserve from a Batman story. No matter how hard you try, superheroes and film noir don't go together; the very essence of noir is that there are no more heroes." He compared the Penguin negatively with the Joker of the first film, writing that "the Penguin is a curiously meager and depressing creature; I pitied him, but did not fear him or find him funny. The genius of Danny DeVito is all but swallowed up in the paraphernalia of the role."[54] Jonathan Rosenbaum called DeVito "a pale substitute for Jack Nicholson from the first film" and felt that "there's no suspense in Batman Returns whatsoever".[55] Batman comic book writer/artist Matt Wagner was quoted as saying: "I hated how Batman Returns made Batman little more than just another costumed creep, little better than the villains he's pursuing. Additionally, Burton is so blatantly not an action director. That aspect of both his films just sucked."[56] Ty Burr in Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B-; he wrote that "Burton still hasn't figured out how to tell a coherent story: He's more interested in fashioning pretty beads than in putting them on a string.... Yet for all the wintry weirdness, there's more going on under the surface of this movie than in the original. No wonder some people felt burned by Batman Returns: Tim Burton just may have created the first blockbuster art film."[57]

A "parental backlash" criticized Batman Returns with violence and sexual references that were inappropriate for children despite being rated PG-13. McDonald's shut down their Happy Meal promotion for the film.[58] Burton responded, "I like Batman Returns better than the first one. There was this big backlash that it was too dark, but I found this movie much less dark."[25]

Accolades

Awarding Body Award Nominee Result
Academy Awards Best Visual Effects Michael L. Fink, Craig Barron, John Bruno, Dennis Skotak Nominated
Best Makeup Ve Neill, Ronnie Specter, Stan Winston Nominated
British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) Best Makeup Artist Ve Neill, Stan Winston Nominated
Best Special Effects Michael L. Fink, Craig Barron, John Bruno, Dennis Skotak Nominated
BMI Film & TV Awards BMI Film Music Award Danny Elfman Won
Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzies) Worst Supporting Actor Danny DeVito Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer Nominated
Best Villain Danny DeVito Nominated
Most Desirable Female Michelle Pfeiffer Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Nominated
Best Director Tim Burton Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Danny DeVito Nominated
Best Make-Up Stan Winston, Ve Neill Won
Best Costumes Bob Ringwood, Mary E. Vogt, Vin Burnham Nominated

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

It was part of Empire's 500 Greatest Films in 2008 at number 401.[60]

Legacy

Batman Returns would be the last film in the Warner Bros. Batman film series that featured Burton and Michael Keaton as director and leading actor. With Batman Forever, Warner Bros. decided to go in a "lighter" direction to be more mainstream in the process of a family film. Burton had no interest in returning to direct a sequel, but was credited as producer.[61] With Warner Bros. moving on development for Batman Forever in June 1993, a Catwoman spin-off was announced. Michelle Pfeiffer was to reprise her role, with the character not to appear in Forever because of her own spin-off.[62]

Burton became attached as director, while producer Denise Di Novi and writer Daniel Waters also returned.[63] In January 1994, Burton was unsure of his plans to direct Catwoman or an adaptation of "The Fall of the House of Usher".[64] On June 6, 1995, Waters turned in his Catwoman script to Warner Bros., the same day Batman Forever was released. Burton was still being courted to direct. Waters joked, "Turning it in the day Batman Forever opened may not have been my best logistical move, in that it's the celebration of the fun-for-the-whole-family Batman. Catwoman is definitely not a fun-for-the-whole-family script."[17] In an August 1995 interview, Pfeiffer re-iterated her interest in the spin-off, but explained her priorities would be challenged as a mother and commitments to other projects.[65] The film labored in development hell for years, with Pfeiffer replaced by Ashley Judd. The film ended up becoming the critically panned Catwoman (2004), starring Halle Berry.[66][67]

Home media

Batman Returns was released on DVD on February 9 2009.[68] Batman Returns was released on Blu-Ray on April 20 2010.[69] Batman Returns is scheduled to be released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on June 4 2019.[70]

References

  1. ^ a b c Brian D. Johnson (June 22, 1992). "Batman's Return", Maclean's. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
  2. ^ "Batman Returns (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  3. ^ "TIL Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito were childhood friends. Their parents owned a hair salon together. • r/todayilearned". reddit.
  4. ^ a b "'Batman Returns' at 25: Stars Reveal Script Cuts, Freezing Sets and Aggressive Penguins".
  5. ^ "Did Marlon Brando Almost Play The Penguin In 'Batman Returns'? Not Exactly, Says Tim Burton".
  6. ^ "Meryl Streep - Trivia". www.notstarring.com.
  7. ^ a b c "'Batman Returns' Is 25 and Other Yummy Mindhole Blowers". March 21, 2017.
  8. ^ https://variety.com/review/VE1117901465/
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External links

Film analysis

19th Saturn Awards

The 19th Saturn Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy and horror film and television in 1992, were held on June 8, 1993.

Batboat

The Batboat, Batstrike, or Batsub is the fictional personal aqua-dynamic hydrofoil/submersible watercraft of the DC Comics superhero Batman.

Batcomputer

The Batcomputer is the fictional computer system used by comic book superhero Batman. It is located in the Batcave.

Batman Forever

Batman Forever is a 1995 American superhero film directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is a sequel to the 1992 film Batman Returns and the third installment of the Burton-Schumacher Batman film series, with Val Kilmer replacing Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, and Chris O'Donnell. The plot focuses on Batman trying to stop Two-Face (Jones) and the Riddler (Carrey) in their villainous scheme to extract confidential information from all the minds in Gotham City and use it to learn Batman's identity and bring the city under their control. In the process, he gains allegiance from a young, orphaned circus acrobat named Dick Grayson (O'Donnell), who becomes his sidekick Robin, and meets and develops feelings for psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian (Kidman), which brings him to the point to decide if he will lead a normal life or if he is destined to fight crime as Batman forever.

Batman Forever's tone is significantly different from the previous installments, becoming more family-friendly since Warner Bros. believed that Batman Returns failed to outgross its predecessor due to parent complaints about the film's violence and dark overtones. Schumacher eschewed the dark, dystopian atmosphere of Burton's films by drawing inspiration from the Batman comic books of the Dick Sprang era, as well as the 1960s television series. After Keaton chose not to reprise his role, William Baldwin and Ethan Hawke were considered as a replacement before Kilmer joined the cast.

The film was released on June 16, 1995, receiving mixed reviews, but was a financial success. Batman Forever grossed over $336 million worldwide and became the sixth-highest-grossing film worldwide of 1995. The film was followed by Batman & Robin in 1997, with Schumacher returning as the director, and George Clooney replacing Kilmer as Batman.

Batman Returns (soundtrack)

Batman Returns: Original Motion Picture Score is the score album for the 1992 film Batman Returns by Danny Elfman. The soundtrack also includes "Face to Face", written by Siouxsie and the Banshees and Elfman, used to promote the movie prior to its release. Two versions of the music video were made (the other added shots from the movie), and a club version, remixed by 808 State, was released. Elfman added chorus to the main theme making it similar but not as dark as the original. The soundtrack is studied by students in the UK taking their A-Levels.

Batman Returns (video game)

Batman Returns is a beat 'em up video game for various platforms based on the film of the same name. The Sega console versions (i.e. Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega CD/Mega-CD, Master System and Game Gear) were published by Sega while the NES and Super NES versions were developed and published by Konami. The MS-DOS version was published by Konami and developed by Spirit of Discovery. The Amiga version was developed by Denton Designs, and also published by Konami. There is also a Lynx version, published by Atari Corporation.

Batman in film

The fictional superhero Batman, who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics, has appeared in various films since his inception. Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the character first starred in two serial films in the 1940s: Batman and Batman and Robin. The character also appeared in the 1966 film Batman, which was a feature film adaptation of the 1960s Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, who also starred in the film. Toward the end of the 1980s, the Warner Bros. studio began producing a series of feature films starring Batman, beginning with the 1989 film Batman, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton. Burton and Keaton returned for the 1992 sequel Batman Returns, and in 1995, Joel Schumacher directed Batman Forever with Val Kilmer as Batman. Schumacher also directed the 1997 sequel Batman & Robin, which starred George Clooney. Batman & Robin was poorly received by both critics and fans, leading to the cancellation of Batman Unchained.Following the cancellation of two further film proposals, the franchise was rebooted in 2005 with Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale. Nolan returned to direct two further installments through the release of The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, with Bale reprising his role in both films. Both sequels earned over $1 billion worldwide, making Batman the second film franchise to have two of its films earn more than $1 billion worldwide. Referred to as The Dark Knight Trilogy, the critical acclaim and commercial success of Nolan's films have been credited with restoring widespread popularity to the superhero, with the second installment considered one of the best superhero movies of all-time.

After Warner Bros. launched their own shared cinematic universe known as the DC Extended Universe in 2013, Ben Affleck was cast to portray Batman in the new expansive franchise, first appearing in 2016 with the Zack Snyder directed film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film would help begin a sequence of further DC Comics adaptations, including Justice League, a crossover film featuring other DC Comics characters, in 2017, and a stand-alone Batman film directed by Matt Reeves. Outside of the DCEU, Dante Pereira-Olson will appear as Bruce Wayne in the 2019 film Joker, directed by Todd Phillips.The series has grossed over $4.99 billion at the global box office, making it the eleventh highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Batman has also appeared in multiple animated films, both as a starring character and as an ensemble character. While most animated films were released direct-to-video, the 1993 animated feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, based on the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series, was released theatrically. Having earned a total of U.S. $2,407,708,129 the Batman series is the fifth-highest-grossing film series in North America.

Batmobile

The Batmobile is the fictional car driven by the superhero Batman. Housed in the Batcave, which it accesses through a hidden entrance, the Batmobile is a heavily armored, weaponized vehicle that is used by Batman in his fight against crime.The Batmobile first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939), where it was depicted as an ordinary-looking, red car. Its appearance has varied, but since its earliest appearances, the Batmobile has had a prominent bat motif, typically including wing-shaped tailfins. Armored in the early stages of Batman's career, it has been customized over time and is the most technologically advanced crime-fighting asset in Batman's arsenal. Depictions of the vehicle have evolved along with the character, with each incarnation reflecting evolving car technologies. It has been portrayed as having many uses, such as vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation, anti-tank warfare, riot control, and as a mobile crime lab. In some depictions, the Batmobile has individually articulated wheel mounts and is able to be driven unmanned or can be remotely operated. It has appeared in every Batman iteration—from comic books and television to films and video games—and has since become part of popular culture.

Catwoman in other media

Catwoman is a fictional character first appearing in Batman #1. After her debut she would appear in many forms of media appearing in the Batman TV series and its film adaption, Batman Returns, the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, the critically panned film Catwoman, the hit film The Dark Knight Rises and the popular Batman: Arkham series, among others.

She has been portrayed by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway, Camren Bicondova and Lili Simmons, and has been voiced by Adrienne Barbeau, Grey DeLisle, and numerous others.

Cristi Conaway

Cristi Conaway (born August 14, 1964) is an American actress and fashion designer.

Conaway was born in Lubbock, Texas. She attended Southern Methodist University, where she studied acting. After moving to Los Angeles, California, she made her television debut on the 1990 made-for-TV movie, Children of the Bride, and her movie debut in 1991's Doc Hollywood in a minor role. In 1992, Conaway appeared in the movie Batman Returns, as the Ice Princess. After Batman Returns, she worked in various roles in TV shows and movies, including Tales from the Crypt. She also played the "other woman" Honey Parker in the 1993 remake of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman. In 1997, she co-starred in the short-lived TV series Timecop (based on the 1994 movie) as Claire Hemmings.

In 2002, Conaway left her acting career to become a fashion designer. She started with scarves, but later on, she expanded her line to include sweaters and silk dresses, and in 2004, she added a men's collection.

Conaway is married to Mark Murphy. The couple have two children together and live in Santa Monica, California.

Danny DeVito

Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. (born November 17, 1944) is an American actor and filmmaker. He gained prominence for his portrayal of the taxi dispatcher Louie De Palma in the television series Taxi (1978–1983), which won him a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award. He currently plays Frank Reynolds on the FX and FXX sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005–present).

He is known for his film roles in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Terms of Endearment (1983) Throw Momma from the Train (1987), Twins (1988), The War of the Roses (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Get Shorty (1995), Matilda (1996), Mars Attacks! (1996), L.A. Confidential (1997), Man on the Moon (1999), Wiener-Dog (2016) and most recently Dumbo (2019). He is also known for his voiceovers in such films as Space Jam (1996), Hercules (1997) and The Lorax (2012).

DeVito and Michael Shamberg founded Jersey Films. Soon afterwards, Stacey Sher became an equal partner. The production company is known for films such as Pulp Fiction, Garden State, and Freedom Writers. DeVito also owned Jersey Television, which produced the Comedy Central series Reno 911!. DeVito and wife Rhea Perlman starred together in his 1996 film Matilda, based on Roald Dahl's children's novel. DeVito was also one of the producers nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture for Erin Brockovich.

DeVito's short stature is the result of multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (Fairbank's disease), a rare genetic disorder that affects bone growth.

Face to Face (Siouxsie and the Banshees song)

"Face to Face" is a song recorded by English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was composed by the group along with Danny Elfman and was produced by Stephen Hague. The track was featured in the 1992 film, Batman Returns, and included on its soundtrack. Film director Tim Burton asked the band to compose the main song of the movie. The track also appeared on the band 1992's compilation album Twice Upon a Time: The Singles and was remastered in 2002 for The Best of Siouxsie and the Banshees.

John Alvin

John Henry Alvin (November 24, 1948 – February 6, 2008) was an American cinematic artist and painter who illustrated many movie posters. Alvin created posters and key art for more than 135 films, beginning with the poster for Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (1974). His style of art became known as Alvinesque by friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry.Alvin's work included the movie posters for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Blade Runner, Gremlins, The Goonies, The Color Purple, The Little Mermaid, Batman Returns, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. He also created the anniversary posters for Star Wars.

John Bruno (special effects)

John Bruno is an American visual effects artist and filmmaker known for his prolific collaborations with director James Cameron on films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, Titanic, Avatar, and The Abyss, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.He has also contributed to other blockbuster films including Ghostbusters, Batman Returns, Cliffhanger, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Kingsman: The Secret Service. He also directed the 1999 science fiction horror film Virus, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland.

He currently holds five Oscar nominations and two BAFTA Award nominations.

List of 1992 box office number-one films in the United Kingdom

This is a list of films which have placed number one at the weekend box office in the United Kingdom during 1992.

List of 1992 box office number-one films in the United States

This is a list of films which have placed number one at the weekend box office in the United States during 1992.

Martin McCarrick

Martin McCarrick (born 29 July 1962, in Luton, Bedfordshire) is an English cellist, keyboardist, guitarist and composer.

He is best known for his work with Siouxsie and the Banshees from 1987 until 1995. He was featured on their 1987 album Through the Looking Glass and afterwards recorded three full studio albums: Peepshow, Superstition and The Rapture. His biggest hit with the band was in 1991 with the single "Kiss Them For Me" which reached Number 23 in the Billboard Hot 100. With Siouxsie and the Banshees he also contributed to the films Batman Returns and Showgirls.

McCarrick is also widely known for being part of 4AD records super group This Mortal Coil with whom he recorded three albums - It'll End in Tears, Filigree and Shadow, and Blood. Alongside his work with This Mortal Coil he contributed to the recording and live performances of a number of 4AD acts including Dead Can Dance, The Wolfgang Press, Peter Murphy, Heidi Berry, Lush, Throwing Muses and Kristin Hersh. He was later a member of rock band Therapy?: he joined them in 1996 (his first gig as a full-time member being a secret fan-club show in Dublin, Ireland on 10 April 1996), having previously supplied guest cello work on their albums Troublegum and Infernal Love, as well as various live appearances with the band since 1992. During the bands UK tour in 2003, McCarrick perforated his ear-drum and had to leave mid-tour. His last show with Therapy? was in Glasgow, Scotland on 28 November 2003. McCarrick left Therapy? in March 2004.

He has also had a long association with other musicians, recording and performing with This Mortal Coil, Marc Almond, including Almond's seminal work with Marc & the Mambas, Nick Cave, The The, Gary Numan, Biffy Clyro, Marianne Faithful and Bryan Ferry. Plus, he has become the cellist of choice for British rock bands, appearing on stage with both 3 Colours Red and Rico (to whose Violent Silences album he contributed).

He has worked on and had music used for film, TV, radio and theatre. Film work includes The Garden (Derek Jarman), Batman Returns (Tim Burton), The Craft (Andrew Flemming), and La Proi (Eric Vallete).

He and his wife, Kimberlee, a violinist, now work together as The McCarricks - a live audio visual performance based show. They have toured extensively in the UK, USA and Europe and have written music for Channel 4, Embarrassing Bodies and the Animal Rights Society of the USA.

In 2004, he performed again with Siouxsie on her Dreamshow performance, which featured a full orchestra and works from both her Siouxsie & the Bansheees as well as her The Creatures back catalogues.

In 2006 McCarrick (along with Kimberlee McCarrick) took part in Patti Smith's Meltdown festival at The Royal Festival Hall in London where they performed with Sinead O'Connor, Marianne Faithful and Kristin Hersh.

2007-8 saw violin and cello duo The McCarricks tour the UK, Europe and USA. Two E.P releases followed - '3' and 'The McCarricks', both on The McCarricks' own 'House of McCarrick' label.

In 2012, he was working (for the first time in almost 30 years) again with Marc Almond, for his performance of Almond's seminal Torment & Toreros album from 1983 in its entirety, for the Meltdown 2012 festival. He was musical director for the string and choir sections and performed as well. He continues to work with Marc Almond and in 2013 teamed up with Marc and the legendary Tony Visconti to record new material.

Aside from being a live and recording artist Martin is also a teacher and visiting lecturer in music.

Stefan Czapsky

Stefan Czapsky, A.S.C. (born 15 December 1950) is a German-born American cinematographer, best known for his acclaimed collaborations with director Tim Burton on films like Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, and Ed Wood, for which he won several film critics' awards.

Tim Burton

Timothy Walter Burton (born August 25, 1958) is an American filmmaker, artist, writer, and animator. He is known for his dark, gothic, and eccentric horror and fantasy films such as Beetlejuice (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Dark Shadows (2012), and Frankenweenie (2012). He is also known for blockbuster films, such as the adventure-comedy Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), the superhero films Batman (1989) and its first sequel, Batman Returns (1992), the sci-fi film Planet of the Apes (2001), the fantasy-drama Big Fish (2003), the musical adventure film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), and the fantasy film Alice in Wonderland (2010).

Burton has often worked with actor Johnny Depp and composer Danny Elfman, who has composed scores for all but three of the films Burton has directed. Helena Bonham Carter, Burton's former domestic partner, has appeared in many of his films. He wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, published in 1997 by British publishing house Faber and Faber, and a compilation of his drawings, sketches and other artwork, entitled The Art of Tim Burton, was released in 2009. A follow-up to that book, entitled The Napkin Art of Tim Burton: Things You Think About in a Bar, containing sketches made by Burton on napkins at bars and restaurants he occasionally visits, was released in 2015.

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