Happy Birthday To Tim Burton’s Batman!
Everything changed in June 1989. That was the month Tim Burton’s Batman hit theaters nationwide, and it ushered in an era of superhero cinema we still enjoy today. Michael Keaton donned the cowl, Jack Nicholson’s stark white face bore an eerie light, and Batmania swept the country. The film raked in $441.5 million worldwide. That may seem paltry compared to today’s box office blockbusters, but for the time it was a major hit.
That financial success played a hand in things to come, but the film’s true legacy remains its place as a proof of concept. Live-action superhero adaptations were considered a joke before Batman. Studio executives viewed comic book adaptations as a huge risk with little reward. It didn’t help that comic books didn’t hold the same mainstream popularity as they do today. Outside of a few select TV series, superheroes were left to pages and panels.
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But Batman changed the game. It stood as an example of what an adaptation could be when given the proper attention and development. It drew in long-time readers and won over new fans to the Dark Knight’s exploits. The film sparked a wave of pop culture relevance beyond the theater as well, catapulting Batman into the zeitgeist at astounding speed.
More importantly, it showed Hollywood that the comic book genre was viable in its world. The immediate responses to this observation weren’t the best in the world. But classics like Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe might not have come to be had it not been for Burton’s classic.
So, let’s celebrate Batman‘s legacy as it enters its third decade. Happy birthday, Batman! Here’s to dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.
Recommended Viewing: Batman ’89 4K Blu-ray