Happy 20th anniversary, Batman!!!

posted by moviebuff82 on July 8, 2009 at 7:35 am

On June 23, 1989, Warner Bros released Tim Burton’s version of one of the most famous comic book characters in American history, Batman. I was about six when it first came out, so I was too young to see it before it came out on video. The movie broke box office records and made money for the director, who would go on to direct a sequel that was as good as the first one.

Comments (22)

igoudge on July 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I cant believe that it has been that long already since that film has come out. It is a sure fire classic and is right up there with the first Superman film of 78, Spiderman 02 and the Dark Knight as all time genre pictures. A sure achievement in filmmaking for sure.

Coate on July 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I saw “Batman” at Mann’s Village in Los Angeles during its June 22 sneak preview, and seeing it there, with the pumped-up and appreciative sold-out crowd and first-rate 70mm presentation, was a fun and memorable moviegoing experience.

I have fond memories of the summer of 1989. In addition to “Batman,” memorable event flicks from that summer included “Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade,” “Lethal Weapon 2” and “The Abyss.” And then there were the not-so-memorable “Star Trek” and “Ghostbusters” sequels.

Films from 1989 worthy of 20th anniversary attention, in my opinion, include “Field Of Dreams,” “Do The Right Thing,” “When Harry Met Sally…” and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” I also enjoyed “Major League,” “Parenthood” and “Born On The Fourth Of July.”

HowardBHaas on July 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Yes, “Batman” was good, and I’d add to Michael’s fine list: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

MPol on July 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I, too, saw Batman when it first came out, which I found a great deal of fun. However, I think that Jack Nicholson fell short while playing the Joker; it wasn’t his best.

monika on July 9, 2009 at 9:00 am

I must have watched this movie 100 times the summer it was on HBO after the home release.

carolgrau on July 9, 2009 at 8:12 pm

20 years my God,seems like only yesterday.

JSA on July 9, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Quite a few of those films listed by Michael Coate were presented in 70 MM.

I also catched “Batman” at a packed sneak preview in Orange County. There was a high sense of anticipation and excitement among the crowd. The interesting thing was that when it was over, there was a brief, but weird moment of silence. It was as if the collective thought among the audience was “what the heck was this?” Then some started to clap and cheer like there was no tomorrow, and it caught on. The rest, as they say, is box-office history.


MPol on July 10, 2009 at 8:24 am

Wasn’t there also a Batman II? Just wondering.

raysson on July 10, 2009 at 11:03 am

There was another sequel for Batman called……

“Batman Returns” that roared into theatres in June of 1992. This one was probably the last one of the Batman installment that Tim Burton directed,before the franchise went into oblivion. This was also was the last one that brought back Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight taking on his most dangerous and deadliest foe:
“The Penguin”,played with icy precision by Danny DeVito. Also on board too were Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. This one also broke boxoffice went it opened in the summer of 1992. “Batman Returns” also shown in selection theatres in its full 70MM-6 Track Dobly Stereo Presentations.

raysson on July 10, 2009 at 11:06 am

The 70MM-Six Track Dobly Stereo Presentations for Batman were in selected theatres in these cities:
Also for more information see this site on:
New York
Los Angeles
St. Louis
Dallas/Fort Worth

JSA on July 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm

“Batman Returns' was indeed directed by Burton. Not bad, but the plot was a little bit incoherent. Burton also produced "Batman Forever”, which was directed by Joel Schumacher and featured Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader. In my opinion, Kilmer was a better Batman than Keaton. This series ended with the bombastic “Batman & Robin”, also directed by Schumacher.


MPol on July 10, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I think I saw “Batman Returns”. I don’t recall seeing “Batman Forever”, though.

Coate on July 11, 2009 at 12:02 am

raysson… The In70mm.com link you provided is incorrect and your list of cities that ran “Batman” in 70mm is short. It’s missing San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and many others.

And, as far as I know, “Batman Returns” (1992) was not released in 70mm.

JSA on July 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm


“Batman Forever” featured Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as the Riddler. Nicole Kidman also co-starred, and the character of Robin was introduced, played by Chris O'Donnell.


I don’t recall any 70 MM engagements of “Batman Returns”. In fact, I was surprised to find none in the LA area. I saw it at the Chinese on a weekday afternoon, and we had the theatre practically to ourselves.


carolgrau on July 11, 2009 at 9:07 pm

We ran Batman 2 at the uptown in DC.it was in 35 mm. not 70mm.

Mark_L on July 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

BATMAN RETURNS marked the beginning of the end of large scale 70mm releases. With BATMAN RETURNS came Dolby Digital, putting high quality 5.1 sound on 35mm film. Since many of the producers released in 70mm primarily for the sound, this gave them a way to get great sound at a much lower cost per print. JURASSIC PARK with DTS came along and really delivered the knock out blow.

Mark_L on July 12, 2009 at 7:46 am

One of my favorite film shots of all time is at the end of BATMAN where BATMAN stands on top of a building looking out onto the BAT Signal. I pulled that shot off the DVD and I use it as the wallpaper on my main monitor.

In the movie BATMAN, who is crazier…the Joker or Batman?

Coate on July 12, 2009 at 10:50 am

“Batman Returns” was indeed the first (official) release that used the Dolby Digital sound format (AKA: “SR-D,” “AC-3,” “Dolby Stereo Digital”).

The film opened in June 1992 in about 2,600 North American theaters, and my research has found that Dolby Labs and Warner Bros. were successful in getting the system installed in eleven of those theaters. (Unlike DTS, which started off with over 800 installations, Dolby Digital started out slowly, taking several years to get its installation base into the hundreds and thousands.)

For those who may be curious, those first eleven venues to install Dolby’s digital sound system and which featured a digital presentation of “Batman Returns” were:

Bellevue, WA – Act III Crossroads
Dallas, TX – GCC Northpark I & II
Lakewood, CA – Pacific Lakewood Center
Los Angeles, CA – Mann Chinese
Los Angeles, CA – Mann Village
New York, NY – Loews Village
New York, NY – UA Criterion
New York, NY – UA Gemini Twin
Newport Beach, CA – Edwards Newport
Orange, CA – Century Cinedome
San Francisco, CA – UA Coronet

JSA on July 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm


In the long run, the Joker is crazier. He is incorregible, and was already a demented criminal before his transformation. Batman/Bruce Wayne eventually accepts his role as the Caped Crusader with as much dignity as the circumstances allow.


MPol on July 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Ah, okay. Thanks, JSA

moviebuff82 on July 19, 2009 at 8:10 am

What I liked about the Batman movie was the music by Danny Elfman, the cinematography (which was brightened up for the VHS/laserdisc release), and the action scenes. Burton knew how to put the dark in the Dark Knight, and even asked Prince to do some songs for the album, which became a smash. That marriage between pop music and Batman would continue until Batman Begins, which lacked any pop music but had a memorable score, as was its successor, The Dark Knight, both of which ditched the campiness of the Schumacher series with the suspense and thrills that Christopher Nolan brought.

Coate on July 19, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I, too, liked Elfman’s music in the ‘89 “Batman,” and thought he was robbed of an Oscar nomination. I especially enjoyed the cinematography and art direction, though I think it ought to have been shot in scope.

As for the action scenes, I thought they were poorly staged and lacked energy. Burton’s just not an “action director,” in my opinion. Imagine if Spielberg or Cameron, in their prime, had directed the film…

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment