Robin Williams was offered the role of The Joker when Jack Nicholson hesitated. He had even accepted the role, when producers approached Nicholson again and told him Williams would take the part if he didn't. Nicholson took the role, and Williams was released. Williams resented being used as bait, and not only refused to play The Riddler in Batman Forever (1995) but also refused to be involved in any Warner Brothers productions until the studio apologized.
Jack Nicholson received a percentage of the gross on the film, and due to its massive box-office take, he took home around sixty million dollars. As of 2003, it is still the single-movie record for an actor's salary.
Michael Keaton was unable to hear while wearing the Batsuit. He said that his claustrophobia helped get him in the proper mood to play Batman. "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn," he said.
Jack Nicholson had a strict schedule stipulated into his contract that his casting call was to be later than most actors and actresses on the set. Jack was known for having late evenings up to 3:00 a.m. before he would get home, as he dined out every night, or attended small parties. Michael Keaton would arrive early in the mornings, and Jack would come in around 10:00 a.m. at the earliest and greet Michael, then sit on his chair. He would then tilt his head back and fall asleep immediately as the Make-up Artists worked on his prosthetics.
Shortly after completing the film, Tim Burton said "I liked parts of it, but the whole movie is mainly boring to me. It's okay, but it was more of a cultural phenomenon than a great movie." He also wasn't enthusiastic about how Prince's songs were used in the film. As time has distanced him from the stressful production of the film, he has become more favorable of it.
In order to combat negative rumors about the production, a theatrical trailer was hastily assembled to be distributed to theaters. To test its effectiveness, Warner Brothers executives showed it at a theater in Westwood, California to an unsuspecting audience. The ninety-second trailer received a standing ovation. Later, it would become a popular bootleg at comic book conventions, and theater owners would report patrons paying full price for movie tickets just to have an opportunity to see the trailer, and leaving before the feature began.
Before The Joker enters the Gotham City Cathedral with Vicki, he requests over the walkie-talkie for "transportation for two" to arrive in ten minutes. Between entering the cathedral and the arrival of the Joker's helicopter, the action inside the cathedral unfolds in real-time.
While Kim Basinger has blonde hair, Vicki Vale was a redhead in the comics. According to Batman Creator Bob Kane, Vale was supposed to be blonde in the comics, and her hair came out red, due to a coloring error in her first appearance.
Neither Tim Burton nor Michael Keaton had any previous exposure to the Batman comic books. Executive Producer Michael E. Uslan provided them with reference material for the film. Burton was given every issue of Batman's first year in comics before Robin was introduced, Detective Comics #27 (May 1939) through #37 (March 1940), while Keaton was given the graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns".
According to Michael Keaton, his background in comedy proved useful in playing Batman, because it gave him instincts in how to shape scenes and build dimension into his character. For example, in the scene when Vicki and Bruce are having dinner, Keaton suggested that they be seated far apart at a very long table and his line of dialogue, "I don't think I've been in this room before." In another example, he contributed the idea of Bruce hanging like a bat after sleeping with Vicki. "It makes all the other stuff even weirder and darker because you're thinking, 'This guy's off,'" Keaton said.
Jack Nicholson revealed in an interview that the strange dance The Joker does when he exits Vicki Vale's apartment (when he raises his arms, pretends to fart, and runs off) was something called the "bird dance" which he improvised during the take. He took it from a friend of his, Clegg Hoyt.
Michael Keaton casting as Bruce Wayne (Batman) caused a controversy amongst comic book fans, with fifty thousand protest letters sent to Warner Brothers offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm, and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.
Michael Keaton, who calls himself a "logic freak", was concerned that Batman's secret identity would, in reality, be fairly easy to uncover, and discussed ideas with Tim Burton to better disguise the character, including the use of contact lenses. Ultimately, Keaton decided to perform Batman's voice at a lower register than when he was portraying Bruce Wayne. This technique became a staple of future portrayals of Batman in film, television, and video games, especially those of Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale.
Kim Basinger was the original choice to play Vicki Vale, but her agents wouldn't let Producer Jon Peters meet with her, unless he made her an offer, and then she ended up being busy, so Sean Young was cast instead. But then Young broke her collarbone while practicing horseback riding for a scene set on the grounds of Wayne Manor and had to drop out of the movie. Basinger received an emergency call one week before the commencement of filming, and accepted the part.
At the beginning of the film, Knox enters the press room and is handed a cartoon sketch of a "batman", which is a bat in pin stripe suit. It is signed by Bob Kane, who is the original creator of the Batman comic book.
A scene was written, but never filmed, in which The Joker took over a public ceremony, held Mayor Borg hostage (causing Borg to experience a breakdown), unveiled a statue of himself, and laced the Gotham City Police Department's coffee with a non-lethal poison, which would have explained why there are no police in the parade scene.
Batman Creator Bob Kane was to make a cameo in the film, but became ill, and shooting of his scene was not re-scheduled. Kane had drawn and signed the "Batman" sketch used by reporters to tease Knox, and Kane was to be the cartoonist who presented it. Kane cameoed in Batman Forever (1995).
The Batmobile was built on the chassis of a Chevy Impala, and incorporated the engine of an Impala, the tail lights of a Ferrari, the fuel caps of a London bus, and jet engine parts from a Harrier Jump Jet. The sliding cockpit was also inspired by that of a Harrier, with the slim windows of a gun emplacement. Art Director Terry Ackland-Snow added the headlights of a Honda Civic to the vehicle after noticing them on his wife's car.
The continued re-writes of the script, late into production, meant that Tim Burton wasn't sure how the film was going to climax, when shooting the cathedral scenes, "Here were Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger walking up this cathedral, and halfway up Jack turns around and says, 'Why am I walking up all these stairs? Where am I going?' 'We'll talk about it when you get to the top!' I had to tell him that I didn't know."
When discussing the central theme of Batman, Director Tim Burton explained, "the whole film and mythology of the character is a complete duel of the freaks. It's a fight between two disturbed people", adding that "The Joker is such a great character, because there's a complete freedom to him. Any character who operates on the outside of society and is deemed a freak and an outcast, then has the freedom to do what they want. They are the darker sides of freedom. Insanity is in some scary way the most freedom you can have, because you're not bound by the laws of society."
Jack Nicholson has said that what made The Joker one of his favorite roles of his own, was that it allowed him so much creative freedom. In Nicholson's view, while most character roles have specific traits, to which an actor has to stay true, The Joker's specific trait is that he's unpredictable, meaning that he was able to do whatever he wanted, and still stay true to the character.
During filming, Tim Burton was having trouble shooting a scene with Jack Palance. When filming a scene with Palance, Burton called out "Action!", and a few minutes later, Palance didn't show up in his shot. Burton later cut the take and walked on the set, only to find out that Jack had a hearing problem. The deaf, but irritated Palance asked Burton, "I've made more than a hundred films, how many have you made?" Burton said, years later, that it was a "whiteout" experience he would never forget. Despite this incident, Burton was happy to have him involved with the film.
The name of The Joker's alter ego, Jack Napier, was created by the filmmakers. In the comics, The Joker was never given a real name (and his anonymous status is often crucial to the plot), and whatever real name he has, is yet to be definitively revealed. The name Jack Napier is intended to be a play on the word "jackanapes" (a medieval English term for a foolish fellow who resembles an ape) as well as a reference to Alan Napier, who played Alfred in the television show Batman (1966).
In the film, The Joker has to mask his chalk-white face by painting himself flesh-colored. In the script, it was specified that The Joker would have to take the flesh-colored make-up off to reveal the white skin underneath, meaning that the Make-up Effects team had to find a way to take one layer of make-up off, and leave another intact. Make-up Designer Nick Dudman came up with the solution: they painted Jack Nicholson with the white PAX paint that they always used, and then put a thin layer of food-grade silicon oil, which nothing sticks to, on top of it. They then took flesh-colored greasepaint and painstakingly painted it to where it was literally sitting on top of the oils. They then airbrushed and faded it in to make it look natural. After soaking The Joker's handkerchief in isopropyl alcohol, Jack Nicholson was able to wipe at his face and it would strip off the greasepaint, but leave the white PAX paint intact.
It took two hours for the Make-up Artists to change Jack Nicholson into The Joker. 355 silicone adhesive had to be used, due to Nicholson's allergy to spirit gum. Prosthetic Make-up Designer Nick Dudman used acrylic-based make-up paint, called "PAX", for Nicholson's chalk-white face. It was tricky finding the right shade of white, in contrast to the dark sets, and Batman's black suit, since a pure white would blur out Nicholson's face.
A scene was cut from the parade sequence (but made it in the comic book version of the script) where the crowd discovered that all the money that The Joker was handing out was counterfeit. In a follow-up to The Joker's earlier line that he wanted "My face on the one-dollar bill", all the dollar bills that were thrown to the crowd had The Joker's picture in place of George Washington's.
Mel Gibson was the first choice for the role of Bruce Wayne (Batman), but had to turn it down, because he was already committed to Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). He was eventually considered to play Harvey Dent (Two-Face) in Batman Forever (1995).
In the original script with Robin included, the Flying Graysons (John, Mary, and Dick) are introduced at the parade scene. The Joker shoots the trapeze artists, sending John and Mary to their deaths, and leaving Dick to survive. Dick later becomes Robin in full costume at the end. The special edition version of the DVD release of this movie features an animated storyboard sequence of The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence (2005), where Dick Grayson was voiced by Jason Hillhouse, and Batman and The Joker were voiced by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, respectively.
Michael Keaton stated that the crew would tape basketball games for Jack Nicholson, as he would come in and watch them the next day while his make-up was added. One day, when by his own admission, Jack was so frustrated that no game was on, he turned on the only thing available, a dart game. The next day as he passed Michael on the set, he looked at him and said "How about that dart game?", to which both he and Michael burst out laughing.
Several years after the film's release, tension arose between Tim Burton and Kevin Smith regarding the film's accuracy to the comic books. After the release of Planet of the Apes (2001), Burton denied plagiarizing a plot point of the film from one of Smith's comics, admitted he never tended to read many comic books, and said he "certainly would never read anything by Kevin Smith." This prompted Smith to half-jokingly retort, "Which, to me, explains f*cking Batman" in a comedy routine. Smith later apologized to Burton for the remark, as Burton meant to also mention the reason behind this was due to his dyslexia, which made it very difficult for him to read comic books. Though he did occasionally look at the images and became enamored with the iconography of the Batman and The Joker mythology, it was Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke" which helped him understand the mythology the most, Burton often said of the story, that it was the only comic book he never felt was hindered reading due to his dyslexia.
George Michael and Michael Jackson were originally both considered for contributions to the film's soundtrack, in addition to Prince, with the latter being considered for the film's love theme, while Prince wrote songs for The Joker. Jackson turned the opportunity down, due to his concert commitments.
Adam West, who played Batman in Batman (1966), admitted that he was disappointed that he was not asked to reprise the role in the movie (he was sixty-one-years-old in 1989). Also, in his 1994 autobiography, he stated that, despite belief to the contrary, he was never asked to make a cameo appearance as Thomas Wayne, adding that he would have declined the role if it were offered to him.
The hooker in the opening scene was originally meant to be fourteen-years-old. She was also going to be shown chatting casually with a couple of cops, showing us how corrupt the Gotham police are, even before we meet Lieutenant Eckhart.
A later draft written by Sam Hamm, had a large part of the film concentrating on Bruce travelling abroad, and training with Henri Ducard, whom Bruce would later discover to be a criminal. This became Batman Begins (2005).
Lieutenant Eckhardt's surname was not new to the Batman universe. In the original Detective Comics, the name of Harvey Dent's (Two-Face's) (failed) plastic surgeon was Dr. Eckhart. Coincidentally, the actor who played Harvey Dent (Two-Face) in The Dark Knight (2008), was Aaron Eckhart.
The Batmobile was twenty feet (six meters) long, had an eight foot (2.4 meters) wheelbase, and weighed one and a half tons (1.36 metric tons). Two prototypes were built for filming. The flames that shoot from the rear were created using paraffin. As a special promotion around the film's release date, MTV held a "Steal the Batmobile" contest, where the winner would be awarded one of the prototypes that had the engine removed.
Batman was released during a time when action films were all but ignored at the Oscars, Warner Brothers made a valiant effort in getting Batman recognized during awards time, and had launched a "For Your Consideration" pushing this movie for Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Basinger), Best Director (Tim Burton), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound, and Best Make-up. The film did get one nomination: Best Art Direction, which it won.
When the Production Design team arrived at Pinewood Studios in England to build the sets, they discovered the atmosphere processor set from Aliens (1986) in one of the soundstages, with most of the Aliens' nest and eggs still intact.
Costume Designer Bob Ringwood found it difficult designing the Batsuit, because "the image of Batman in the comics is this huge, big six-foot-four hunk with a dimpled chin. Michael Keaton is a guy with average build", he stated.
The Joker's real name in the film is Jack Napier. In the original comic books, The Joker's real name is always a carefully guarded secret, accomplished by narrative tricks such as having characters in "past" scenes (before he had his transformation) address him only as "hey you!", or some other noncommittal appellation, or having him about to say his name, but being suddenly interrupted, or having him sign a form which remains tantalizingly out of the reader's vision or "off panel". In the "present", other characters often try to learn The Joker's real name, but always just barely miss finding out. "Jack Napier" was used for The Joker in at least one comic book after this, but it was determined within the story that this name was just another alias, as was Johnny Japes in another story. Sometimes he facetiously says his name is Joe Kerr, a homonym for Joker. His origin stories, while presented with some degree of consistency, have many deliberate Rashômon (1950)-like contradictions to reinforce the idea that the character is an enigma.
The Joker's line "Take thy beak from out my heart" (said at Vale's apartment) is from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". The full line is 'Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!' (the "beak" being of the raven).
Before signing his contract, Jack Nicholson demanded approval over the Make-up Designer and his designs. The designer of The Joker's make-up turned out to be Nick Dudman. He sculpted six Joker designs, two of which were chosen by him and Tim Burton, and sent to Nicholson. After approving one design, Nicholson signed the contract.
Ray Liotta was offered the roles of Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne (Batman), and Jack Napier (The Joker), but turned them down to film Goodfellas (1990). Liotta would later regrets the decision he miss out on.
Sylvester Stallone has cited this film as what led to the decline of muscle-bound action stars from the 1980s, and a change in how action films were made. In an interview he said, "It was the beginning of a new era. The visuals took over. The special effects became more important than the single person. I wish I had thought of Velcro muscles myself. I didn't have to go to the gym all those years, all those hours wedded to the iron game, as we call it."
After seeing an early screening of Clean and Sober (1988), Jon Peters was inspired to cast Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne (Batman) because of his brooding, against-type performance. Burton's recent success with Keaton on Beetlejuice (1988) made him eager to cast Michael in the role, since he could envision Keaton as someone who would dress up like a bat for effect, and believed his eyes lent him an intensity that would shine through the Batman cowl. Beetlejuice (1988)'s box-office and critical success and Clean and Sober (1988)'s good word of mouth made Keaton's standing with Warner Brothers a preferred choice for the role. Michael E. Uslan had to be convinced by Burton that casting Keaton wasn't going to be a step back towards the camp comedy of the 1966 television show, but Burton and Peters won the casting struggle when Keaton was cast in June 1988.
Among the props there is a royal throne chair, used by The Joker. This throne was originally made for the MGM production Queen Christina (1933) with Greta Garbo. It is a true replica of the Swedish Queen Kristina's Silver throne, a gift from the Councillor Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie for her coronation in 1650, and used until 1975 at the annual commencement of Swedish Parliament sessions.
The first draft of this movie was written in 1980 by Superman (1978) co-writer Tom Mankiewicz, and told the story of Batman's and Robin's origins. The villains were The Joker and The Penguin, and Rupert Thorne and Barbara Gordon were also to appear. Some elements were taken from a 1978 comic book serial, "Strange Apparitions", written by Steve Englehart. At the end, Robin was to appear in costume (much like Batman Forever (1995)). It was going to be released in 1985, with a budget of twenty million dollars, but with Producers Michael E. Uslan and Benjamin Melniker booted off the production, the project was shelved until Jon Peters and Peter Guber picked it up. In 1985, after the surprise success of Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), the studio offered the job to Tim Burton. Unsatisfied with the Mankiewicz script, Burton and his girlfriend Julie Hickson wrote a thirty-page treatment of the project. This treatment was approved by the producers and studio. In 1986, Burton met Sam Hamm, who had just received a two-year contract with Warner Brothers, and gave him the job of writing a screenplay based on Burton's and Hickson's treatment. However, the writing process stretched too long, and Hamm couldn't write further drafts of the script, because of the writers' strike. In his place, Burton got Beetlejuice (1988) co-writer Warren Skaaren to continue writing. Nearly three years after working on the project, Burton didn't get the film green-lit until the box-office result of Beetlejuice (1988). This movie began filming in October, and it only took twelve weeks to shoot.
Two separate soundtracks of the movie were released, one featuring the songs by Prince, and the other of Danny Elfman's score. The Prince CD included songs not used in the movie, and other unused songs were released as B-sides on the singles released from the album.
Robin Williams was considered for the role of The Joker. He would later be considered for The Riddler as well. Jack Nicholson got the role of The Joker, but demanded top-billing and a lucrative deal that gave him royalties on all merchandise.
Jack Nicholson received top billing on the opening credits, a fact that wouldn't be repeated until the release of Batman & Robin (1997), when Arnold Schwarzenegger (Mr. Freeze) would be billed over the actor playing Batman (however, during the ending credits of Batman (1989), Michael Keaton, who plays Batman, is top-billed followed by Nicholson). Both Nicholson and Schwarzenegger played the primary villains in each film.
Patsy Kensit auditioned for the role of Alicia Hunt, but she was considered too young for Jack Nicholson. Instead, Kensit opted to star in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). Jerry Hall was eventually cast after having been spotted by a crew member at Pinewood Studios during one of her breaks from filming a chocolate commercial.
Early drafts of the script featured Batman's sidekick, Robin. The role was offered to Kiefer Sutherland, who was nineteen at the time. Sutherland turned down the role, saying he imagined himself wearing yellow tights on the big screen, and didn't realize that Tim Burton planned to make the film much darker than Batman (1966). Eventually, the role was reduced to a small cameo by Robin's alter ego, Dick Grayson, and was eventually cut from the film completely.
When the Tom Mankiewicz script was in development, the directors associated with the project included Joe Dante and Ivan Reitman. Producers wanted an unknown to play Batman and the cast wish-list included William Holden as Commissioner Gordon and David Niven as Alfred, Bruce Wayne's faithful butler.
Costume Designer Bob Ringwood studied over two hundred comic book issues for inspiration. Twenty-eight sculpted latex designs were created. Twenty-five different cape looks, and six different heads were made, accumulating a total cost of two hundred fifty thousand dollars.
Joe Dante was offered the chance to direct, and his version would have had John Lithgow as The Joker. He eventually declined, because he was more interested in The Joker than Batman, and felt it shouldn't be that way.
According to a 2009 interview with MTV, Willem Dafoe said he had been in "very early" talks for the role of Bruce Wayne (Batman). Whether he or the studio passed is unknown. Dafoe later got a chance at starring in a live-action DC Comics film, playing Nuidis Vulko in Justice League (2017) and Aquaman (2018). He also played Norman Osborn (The Green Goblin) in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.
The designers of the Batmobile hadn't taken into account the additional four inches that Batman's cowl added to Michael Keaton's height, and as such, the cowl got stuck in the sliding cockpit the first time that it was tested. Since the cockpit seat was already positioned as low as possible, an alternate cowl with shorter ears had to be made for scenes with the Batmobile.
Upon seeing the initial life-size polystyrene model of the Batmobile, Tim Burton turned to Terry Ackland-Snow and said "Great. Where's the door?". The design team suddenly realized that the design lacked any doors, and, inspired by the cockpit of a Harrier Jump Jet, Terry came up with the idea of the sliding cockpit.
Bill Murray was rumored to have been attached to a comedic iteration of the film directed by Ivan Reitman. However, while promoting Quick Change (1990) on an episode of The Arsenio Hall Show (1989), he denied ever being considered for the role, rendering this alleged idea of a Batman film nonexistent.
Anton Furst's designs for Gotham City were incorporated into the comics during the early 1990s. The design was removed during the "No Man's Land" story theme where most of the buildings in Gotham City were destroyed by natural disasters and terrorist acts.
Jack Nicholson was initially hesitant to take the role of The Joker after clashing with Jon Peters during the making of The Witches of Eastwick (1987). During pre-production, Peters flew Nicholson to London to show him the set work and have a few nights on the town. The olive branch impressed Nicholson, and he promptly accepted the role.
The theatrical trailer for Batman includes not only sequences presented without music, but there are also some alternate takes used in the trailer that were not used in the movie. Specifically: (1) The Joker shoots his television after saying "I have given a name to my pain." Nicholson loads his gun while speaking this line, in the film, he reveals the gun after speaking the line, and the explosion is also a different take. A wide shot was used in the finished film, but in the trailer, a close-up is used for Nicholson's line. (2) Michael Keaton's line "My life is really...complex" is shown here as a close-up which is a different take than the one used in the film. Additionally, in the movie, the take used is from a different camera position. (3) Robert Wuhl is seen asking the question, "Lieutenant, is there a six foot bat in Gotham City?" In the movie, a different take was used, with different things occurring in the background. Regarding this trailer, on the Special Edition DVD, Warner Brothers has removed the final screen card which originally indicated the film's release date in North America: June 23 (1989).
The painting one of The Joker's henchmen vandalizes by making red hand prints, and then splashing green paint on it, is a self-portrait made in 1669 (same year of his death) by The Netherlands artist Rembrandt van Rijn.
The first film to be released in the UK under the 12 age rating certificate. For years, 12-rated films wouldn't be released as such on home video formats (they would either be bumped up to a 15 or lowered to a PG), explaining why Batman was (and still is) rated 15 on home video.
It was producer Jon Popick who came up with the idea of casting Michael Keaton in the titular role after the release of "Beetlejuice". Burton was unsure, but offered Keaton the role and gave him a copy of the script. Keaton was intending to say "no" as he never read the comics as a child and never really was a fan. He read it only out of "politeness". But after becoming engaged with the character, he finally accepted.
The design of Gotham City is based on the work of architects Antoni Gaudi, Otto Wagner, Shia Takamatsu, and Louis H. Sullivan. In particular, the Gotham cathedral mirrored the works of Gaudi, and the Flugelheim Museum exterior was directly based upon Nishina dental clinic, which Takamatsu designed.
Corto Maltese is also an island country in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, one of Tim Burton's inspirations for Batman. It is named for a man from Hugo Pratt's Italian series of comic books, of which Frank Miller is a fan.
In interviews given at the time of "Batman"'s release, Jack Nicholson said he had particularly enjoyed playing The Joker because it was a throwback to the psycho roles he'd played in his first film, "The Cry-Baby Killer" (1958, and some of his other early films for American International.
This movie had three actors from the Star Wars trilogy present. District Attorney Harvey Dent was played by Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) in Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Lieutenant Max Eckhardt was played by William Hootkins, the X-Wing pilot Tono Porkins in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Tourist Dad in the first scene was played by Garrick Hagon, the X-Wing pilot and childhood friend of Luke Skywalker, Biggs, in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
In a 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jon Peters recalled that Michael Keaton was romantically interested in Kim Basinger during filming, while he was in the midst of a divorce from wife Caroline McWilliams. Keaton resented Peters when he successfully courted Basinger, who left her first husband, Ron Snyder, for the relationship.
The first scene involved the mugging of a couple and their young son upon their leaving a movie theatre. This was a nod to Batman's origin story as Bruce witnessed his parents murder while returning home from a movie, which was depicted later in the film in a flashback. Some viewers when first seeing the movie first believed the family seen in the opening scene to be Bruce and his parents, thus establishing the beginning of Batman's origin story.
In 1989, Patrick McLynn, a college student from Richmond, Virginia, won the engine-free prop offered in MTV's promotional "Steal the Batmobile" contest. He intended to loan the prop to local conventions and museums, but he had signed a contract preventing him from profiting off of its exhibition. At one museum, the shift lever was stolen. The car was also taxable, and led to an I.R.S. audit. Eventually, due to mounting expenses from a motorcycle accident, and the prize's ten thousand dollar insurance premium, McLynn was forced to sell the Batmobile at a paltry sum.
Warner Brothers considered Bruce Payne to play Batman, to have "Bruce Payne as Bruce Wayne" on their "one liner" press marketing PR campaign for the film. Payne has said that "they drew up a very short shortlist and there I was on it. Obviously, I lost out in the end to Michael Keaton."
The sets occupied a huge chunk of Pinewood Studios' 85 acres, and were kept standing for almost two years, in the hope that the sequel would be shot there. By the time Warner Brothers decided instead to film Batman Returns (1992) on their Burbank backlot, the UK sets were in a terrible state of disrepair, and had to be torn down. The third and fourth sequels were also filmed on the Warner Brothers soundstages, and it would be another fifteen years before a Batman movie would lense again in Britain, Batman Begins (2005).
Promotional material included Alfred's last name (Pennyworth) and Gordon's first name (James). Neither of which were mentioned in the movie. However, the name "James Gordon" does appear on the table at the press conference early in the film.
Some of the music from this film bears a resemblance to that in The Wolf Man (1941). The scene where Lawrence Talbot throws rocks at Gwen Conliffe's bedroom window to get her attention is particularly noticeable.
Back when studios wanted to do a comedy Batman (a'la the 1966 series), studios considered Chevy Chase or Bill Murray as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Michael J. Fox or Tom Cruise as Robin, Molly Ringwald as Batgirl, Tim Curry as the Joker, John Candy as The Penguin, Steve Martin as The Riddler, and Sigourney Weaver as Catwoman.
The Batman film franchise has attracted the longest list of actors who have Oscar and Golden Globe wins or nominations. Twenty Oscars, and thirty-nine Golden Globes. The franchise has won three Oscars. Jack Nicholson Three Oscars, nine nominations Seven Golden Globes, ten nominations George Clooney Two Oscars, four nominations Four Golden Globes, seven nominations Michael Caine Two Oscars, four nominations Three Golden Globes, eight nominations Tommy Lee Jones One Oscar, three nominations One Golden Globe, three nominations Christian Bale One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, one nomination Halle Berry One Oscar One Golden Globe, three nominations Heath Ledger - (only actor to win an Oscar or Golden Globe for a Batman character performance) One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, one nomination Kim Basinger One Oscar One Golden Globe, one nomination Nicole Kidman One Oscar, two nomination Three Golden Globes, six Nominations Ben Affleck Two Oscars, two nominations Two Golden Globes, one nomination Morgan Freeman One Oscar, three nominations Two Golden Globes, four nominations Anne Hathaway One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, two nominations Marion Cotillard One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, two nominations Christopher Walken One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe nomination Jack Palance One Oscar, two nominations One Golden Globe Michelle Pfeiffer Three Oscar Nominations One Golden Globe, five nominations Tom Wilkinson Two Oscar nominations One Golden Globe, three nominations Uma Thurman One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, three nominations Liam Neeson One Oscar nomination Three Golden Globe nominations Michael Keaton One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, one nomination Gary Oldman One Oscar nomination Jim Carrey Two Golden Globe, four nominations. Danny DeVito One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, five nominations Maggie Gyllenhaal One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, twi nominations Drew Barrymore One Golden Globe, two nominations. Chris O'Donnell One Golden Globe nomination. Tom Conti One Oscar nomination Two Golden Globe nominations Matthew Modine Two Golden Globe nominations Eric Roberts One Oscar nomination Three Golden Globe nominations Ken Watanabe One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe nomination Joseph Gordon-Levitt Two Golden Globe nominations Arnold Schwarzenegger One Golden Globe, one nomination Alicia Silverstone One Golden Globe nomination.
Sam Raimi was in contention to direct, but was ultimately overlooked as he was not a big enough name. His name was brought up again as potential replacement for Tim Burton on Batman Forever (1995), but was overlooked again in favor of Joel Schumacher.
Ford bid to take part in the Batmobile's development early in production, but they weren't able to commit to the restrictive time frame. Terry Ackland-Snow's team completed the vehicle in just fourteen weeks.
The film had been in development for at least ten years before its release. Initial proposals and announcements of a Batman movie project was largely rooted in the success of the 1978 Superman movie and its 1981 sequel.
From the start of the movie's development, filmmakers made it clear the movie would be dramatic and seriously minded. In addition, when confirming a Batman film project in the early 1980's a DC Comics Ask The Answer Man column noted it wouldn't be campy like the 1960's TV series.
Contrary to popular belief, the film was never considered to be comedic in tone, as an intention of producers was trying to distance Batman from the camp portrayal of the 1960s TV Series. Nevertheless, many media outlets, particularly tabloids, made random speculations on traditionally comedic or non-dramatic actors for the film's cast. Even near the time of release, fans who only knew Batman from the camp era were surprised by the movie's dark and dramatic tone, which was more in line with the Batman comics.
Rotelli's first name in the original script was Carmine. However, on the day of shooting the boardroom scene, Production Designer Anton Furst was under a particularly high level of stress, thus Jack Nicholson improvised the line "Anton got a little hot under the collar."
This is the first Batman film to appeal to mature audiences, due to the PG-13 rating. The animated television spin-off Batman: The Animated Series (1992) then appealed to children, who are between the ages seven and twelve.
During the first appearance of the Batmobile, The Joker's hitmen drive a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu and a Dodge 3700. Two Dodge 3700s were procured by Christian Wolf-La'Moy when travelling to Spain, and he and his brother drove the car from Spain to the UK. One of the 3700s was damaged in a stunt, while the other is still in storage. The 3700 was based on the U.S. market Mopar A platform automobiles (Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant, including the first generation Barracuda and Duster/Dart Sport coupes) when the Chrysler Corporation marketed the A platform in a few international markets (Europe, Australia, and Latin America), the 3700 seen in the film were manufactured by Barrieros in Spain from 1971 to 1978, with a sheetmetal design unique to Spain (it was also assembled in Argentina, where a two-door hardtop coupe was also marketed). The 3700 nameplate was in reference to the engine displacement in metric (3.7 liter), which is, in this case, the Chrysler Slant Six, first introduced in the 1960 Valiant (first as a low deck 2.8 liter (one hundred seventy cubic inches) and later as a tall deck 3.7 liter (two hundred twenty-five cubic inches), it was produced until 1991 for industrial use (automotive use ended in 1983 with passenger cars, and 1987 with the truck and van line. Later production was shifted to Mexico during the late 1970s).
Contrary to such information, it would seem neither Ben Affleck or Matt Damon were considered to play Robin in the movie. Both were not established or "name" actors at the time of the film's production.
Michelle Pfeiffer who was dating Michael Keaton at that time was ask to audition for Vicky Valed but Keaton was against it saying it would be awkward. Pfeiffer would later be cast as Seline Kyle/Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992) alongside with Keaton.
Jon Peters and Peter Guber wanted Prince to write music for the Joker and Michael Jackson to do the romance songs. Elfman would then combine the style of Prince and Jackson's songs together for the entire film score.
Tim Burton stated in an interview that he had initially wanted Adam West and Julie Newmar, from the 1960s series, to play Thomas and Martha Wayne in the flashback. Audiences would recognize West and Newmar from the series and see them get shot, symbolizing the "death" of the old Batman. Script rewrites caused this to be scrapped, and West later said he wasn't even offered the role (and even if he was, he wouldn't have taken it). West and Newmar would respectively voice Thomas and Martha in one episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
According to actor Pat Hingle (Commisioner Gordon) in his Special Edition DVD interview, there was a flashback scene shot, but not used, that reveals that after Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered, Bruce was watched over that night by Gordon, who was then a young street patrolman. The still photo of the young Bruce Wayne being held by an unseen policeman in the newspaper story that Vicki Vale and Alex Knox reads, is from that scene. Although discarded, the idea was re-used for Batman Begins (2005), with Gary Oldman as Gordon. The same idea has been incorporated into some comic book reiterations to further explain the alliance between Gordon and Batman.
The Joker falls to his death during the climactic battle with Batman. In the comics, it had become a long standing trademark for The Joker to appear to be killed at the end of a story, only to return in a later one.
Originally in the climax, The Joker was to kill Vicki Vale, sending Batman into a vengeful fury. Jon Peters re-worked the climax without telling Burton, and commissioned Production Designer Anton Furst to create a thirty-eight-foot (twelve meter) model of the cathedral. This cost one hundred thousand dollars when the film was already over budget.
The climax of the film; with Batman, The Joker, and Vicki on the roof of a cathedral, is inspired by the climax of Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Appropriately, there is a second influence from Hugo: The Joker is inspired by Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt) from The Man Who Laughs (1928).
Sam Hamm has absolved himself from the sequence where Alfred leads Vicki to the Batcave, a move that didn't sit well with a lot of fans. Hamm said the scene didn't come from him, and that the day Alfred let someone in the Batcave would be his last day of employment.
The revelation of the Joker having killed Bruce Wayne's parents became a point of controversy for some, as it conflicted with the long established Batman origin story in which Joe Chill was the killer. However, Batman Creator Bob Kane approved of the twist in the origin story, saying that if the story had been planned out ahead of time, he would have likely made The Joker the killer also. A popular fan theory is that The Joker isn't the actual killer, but that Batman projects this on all of his enemies.
In the original draft by Sam Hamm, the age of Jack Napier was specified as being thirty-two, meaning that The Joker would be young. After several re-writes by Warren Skaaren and others, and the casting of Jack Nicholson, the age of Jack Napier had to be changed to suit a middle aged man. The final revelation about Napier killing Thomas and Martha Wayne was a last minute addition by Tim Burton and Warren Skaaren in order to raise the stakes between Batman and The Joker.
Though the murderer of the Waynes is shown here to be Jack Napier, who eventually becomes The Joker, in the comics, the name of the killer is Joe Chill. The method of the killing, and the effect and consequence it had on young Bruce Wayne is the same in both comics and movie. The Joe Chill scenario would later be used in Batman Begins (2005).
When The Joker is shouting at Batman from the helicopter after Batman destroys Axis Chemicals, Michael Keaton couldn't turn his head to look up, so he had to move his entire body up to look at the Joker, which has been dubbed "The Hero Turn".
In the film, Jack Napier, The Joker, is the murderer of Batman's parents. One of the facts not addressed in the film that has its roots in the comic, is that Batman would dream whichever villain he was chasing at the time was the one who murdered his parents. In addition, although this change bothered many fans, it was approved by Bob Kane, who served as a consultant to the film. He said he would have done it in the comics if he had introduced The Joker at around the same time he had created Batman.
In Sam Hamm's original script, the effect of Smilex (called Smylenol in the script) is first seen on the two female models, who are only represented in the film as cardboard cut-outs in The Joker's commercial. The original scene has them in a bikini photo session with a photographer who is urging them to smile more as he snaps away. The girls begin to giggle, which at first pleases the photographer, then their giggles become laughter, then uncontrollable helpless hysterics, which has the photographer going from mild annoyance to complete horror as the exhausted girls die from forced hilarity, with the ghastly Joker-like grins frozen on their faces. As it was originally intended, the death scene is much more protracted than the one that remains in the film with Becky the newscaster, depicting death by Smilex as a particularly agonizing, if mirthful, way to go. This kind of death scene was a running gimmick from The Joker's original story in 1940, and was revived in comic books from 1973 onwards.
Vicki Vale is the only character in the original four film franchise to get inside the Batmobile as a co-passenger. Dick Grayson in Batman Forever (1995) hijacked the vehicle without Batman's consent. However, the rescue from the Flugelheim Museum and the subsequent descent to the Batcave marks the only time that Batman willingly let another character enter his car while he was driving it.
Alicia Hunt bears a resemblance to an obscure Batman comics character named Circe, created by Doug Moench. This ex-girlfriend and hanger-on of a criminal named Roman Sionis, a.k.a. The Black Mask, was scarred by her lover and boss, and reportedly (according to him) subsequently committed suicide.
Sam Hamm's ending had The Joker attempting escape via helicopter, the helicopter rouses a swarm of bats that had been sleeping in the rafters, and the bats engulf The Joker, who falls to his death. But Warren Skaaren scrapped it and re-wrote the third act. A similar fate would be re-used for the Penguin in Batman Returns (1992).
The name of the song The Joker is singing when he's electrocuting Rotelli with the hand buzzer is "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight". It was composed in 1896 by Theodore A. Metz, with lyrics by Joe Hayden.
The character of Alexander Knox appears nowhere in old Batman comic books. He was a character created for the movie. In the script, the character was to be killed by poisonous gas during the parade scene. In an interview with Starlog Magazine done at the time, Robert Wuhl joked that his character should become Robin in a sequel.
After Grissom tells Jack he wants him to go to Axis chemicals, Jack says "Me?" and holds up a Joker card. There's a hole on the cheek of the Joker on the card, the same place where Jack gets shot at Axis chemicals.
Fans complained about The Joker being revealed as the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents, and Vicki Vale being let in the Batcave, as Alfred would never let anyone enter the Batcave without Bruce's permission.
When Joker (Jack Nicholson) takes Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) to the roof of the cathedral, he forces her to dance with him. She drags her feet and dances limply, in 'ragdoll' fashion. She later recreates this scene in the 1993 music video for the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' song, 'Mary Jane's Last Dance.' In the video, Tom Petty is an assistant medical examiner who absconds with Kim Basinger's corpse, has a private wedding ceremony, and enjoys their first dance together.
In the flashback scene when Bruce is repressing memories from when his parents were killed, the beginning of this flashback shows a movie poster of Footlight Frenzy encased in glass on the wall of the Monarch Theater. A closer look towards the bottom revealed that it was directed by Ron House. There was a Footlight Frenzy made but only five years earlier in 1984 in the UK, though this flashback was suppose to be roughly thirty years earlier. Ron House played one of the characters, Tony Langdon, credited as Ronald E. House. This is easily viewable on the Blu-ray edition of this movie, but may be easily missed in earlier formats.