How McDonald’s Ruined Tim Burton’s Third Batman Movie

The Michael Keaton-directed Batman films are landmark entries into the cinematic superhero genre, paving the way for a resurgence of the concept before the genre’s wholehearted endorsement in the 21st century. But things almost turned out differently, with Burton and Keaton initially intending to continue their streak. Tim Burton originally wanted to follow up Return of Batman with another chapter in the life of the Dark Knight, only for financial problems with the film, some of which the main ones from McDonald’sto derail everyone’s plans.

Burton Directed 1989s Batman and 1992 Return of Batman, both starring Michael Keaton in the title role. The first film was a financial juggernaut that quickly became a cultural touchstone. Fusing the classic comic book character with Burton’s gothic sensibilities and style, the film’s sequel was quickly put into production. And as part of the preparation for the release of the sequel, Warner Bros. struck a deal with fast food giant McDonald’s to produce Happy Meal Toys to coincide with the film.

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However, this plan backfired on Warner Bros. and McDonald’s when Return of Batman created. Although the dark version of Batman, Catwoman and Penguin was considered a commercial and critical success, it ultimately earned $150 million less than its predecessor at the box office, as negative word of mouth slowed the film’s success. And to make matters worse, the toy deals – especially with McDonald’s – had sparked controversy among the general public. Parents across America have objectified sex openly Return of Batman marketed primarily for children. In fact, the situation reached such fervor that McDonald’s ordered a recall of their Happy Meal tie-in, which had painted a much more cheerful and colorful version of the film.

Not wanting to lose their deals with companies like McDonald’s, Warner Bros. fired Burton from the series’ next installment, which would eventually become batman forever. In the process, many of his ideas for the film, including the return of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, Harvey Dent’s dark descent from Billy Dee William in Two-Face, and the introduction of Robin Williams as Riddler and Marlon Wayans as Robin, were discontinued. Instead, a more cartoonish storyline was produced, which saw Catwoman dropped from the story, Dent reimagined as an over-the-top villain played by Tommy Lee Jones, and Riddler and Robin with different performers.

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The film’s story was severely toned down, and Joel Schumacher came on as Burton’s replacement and infused the film with a more campy line of inspiration from the Adam West-directed film. Batman TV shows. Unhappy with the direction the series was taking, Keaton also quit the role of Batman, leaving the door open for Val Kilmer’s portrayal of the Dark Knight. And while it may seem ridiculous that a fast food company’s displeasure with its toy deal could derail one of the world’s biggest movie franchises, it makes sense given McDonald’s cultural impact. in the early 1990s and the fury of part of the public. complete fiasco.

As reported by Weekly entertainment, parents were mostly unhappy that the McDonald’s movie targeted a younger audience through Happy Meal Toys and that the limited-edition Batman-branded mugs weren’t aimed at children. But the fallout from the dispute would see McDonald’s and Warner Bros. emboldened by the massive financial success and commercial appeal of the campiest batman forever, only for the critical and cultural beating of batman and robin to pull the character out of theaters for nearly a decade. Fortunately, many Burton concepts come to life in the Batman ’89 comedy series, but the controversy remains an interesting window into what could have been.

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