While speaking to Yahoo about his new movie Big Eyes, director Tim Burton reflected on his previous work, including Batman and Batman Returns. The latter upset a lot of people, including Warner Bros. and the movie’s big sponsor, McDonald’s. Burton explained exactly what he think went wrong:
“I think I upset McDonalds. [They asked] ‘What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth. We can’t sell Happy Meals with that!’ It was a weird reaction to Batman Returns, because half the people thought it was lighter than the first one and half the people thought it was darker. I think the studio just thought it was too weird — they wanted to go with something more child- or family- friendly. In other words, they didn’t want me to do another one.”
Warner Bros. decide to hire Joel Schumacher for Batman Forever, which served as a soft reboot for the character. And if you thought the backlash against Ben Affleck was bad, imagine if the internet was around in the late 80’s when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman. Burton reflected on backlash:
“It got a lot of criticism for being too dark, and there was a lot of criticism for casting Michael Keaton. They thought it was going to be a comedy or whatever, but it felt very special. We met these big tough guys, but what it came down was that, you look at someone like Michael and you think, ‘Here’s a guy you can see dressing up like a bat.’ He’s got the eyes and the kind of crazy quality and the kind of internal life, but he’s not Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
Personally, Batman Returns is my favorite Christmas movie of all time! What did you think of Tim Burton’s dark and twisted Batman sequel? Let me know in the comments below.