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Batman Returns (1992) Poster

Trivia

Tim Burton and Michael Keaton prefer this film to the first one. Keaton said that the sequel "spoke to me more" and that he greatly enjoyed filming.
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Jump to: Cameo (5)  | Director Cameo (1)  | Director Trademark (2)  | Spoilers (37)
Burgess Meredith, who played the Penguin on Batman (1966) and in Batman (1966), was asked to play the Penguin's father in the opening of the film, but illness prevented him from it.
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At least fifty percent of the Warner Bros. lot was taken up with Gotham City sets.
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Danny DeVito remained in character between takes.
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In an interview for television, Stan Winston told a little anecdote about how his crew were collecting the mechanical penguins after a day's shoot, and found one of the live penguins snuggled up asleep against a mechanical one.
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The production wanted to use King Penguins, but the only tame ones in captivity were at a bird sanctuary in the Cotswolds, deep in the English countryside. So the birds were flown over to the States in the refrigerated hold of a plane. They were given their own refrigerated trailer and swimming pool with half a ton of fresh ice every day, and had fresh fish delivered daily straight from the docks. Even though the temperature outside frequently topped one hundred degrees, the entire set was refrigerated down to thirty-five degrees. The birds also had an around-the-clock bodyguard. The birds clearly enjoyed the experience as, following their stint in Hollywood, most of them had mated and produced eggs, the sure sign of a contented penguin.
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Danny DeVito was advised by friend Jack Nicholson, aware of his own financial success with Batman (1989), to take the role of the Penguin.
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The massive Gotham City sets were all constructed to be mobile, and were often shifted between days of filming. Michelle Pfeiffer routinely got lost on her way to filming each day.
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When asked during a 2007 talk show appearance if she ever felt nostalgic and put on the cat suit to amuse her husband David E. Kelley, Michelle Pfeiffer stated that once filming was over, she never wanted to see the costume again for as long as she lived.
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The first film made in Dolby Digital (then known as Dolby SR-D).
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(at around 1h 30 mins) Danny DeVito refused a stand-in for the scene where the Penguin gets pelted with rotten food by an angry mob.
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(at around 1h 40 mins) The crew had a hard time getting the shot where the monkey delivers the letter from Batman to the Penguin. Evidently, Danny DeVito's make-up terrified the animal.
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Michael Keaton was alleged to have earned $11 million for reprising his role as Batman. The Warner Bros. executives were very uneasy with this. However, director Tim Burton stated that he personally believed Keaton deserved it.
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According to casting director Marion Dougherty, Tim Burton was reportedly uncomfortable with casting Christopher Walken as Max Shreck. When she asked him why, he said, "Because that man scares the hell out of me." However, the decision must have ultimately grown on Burton, as Walken was cast again in Sleepy Hollow (1999). He was also cast to play Brainiac in the aborted Superman Lives project.
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Several modifications were made to the Batsuit, including the color scheme and chestplate logo. At the request of Michael Keaton, a zipper was also added to the pants.
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Batman doesn't wear boots in the movie, they're Air Jordan 6's connected to an upper which give the boot-like feeling.
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On Biography: Catwoman: Her Many Lives (2004), Michelle Pfeiffer said that her Catwoman costume was vacuum sealed once she was fitted into it for scenes, so she actually had only a short amount of time to perform before she would have to have it opened or she could become lightheaded and pass out. She also admitted that when she first was learning to use the whip, she accidentally cut her trainer's face with it, at which he acted as a complete gentleman and continued with their training.
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Warner Bros. had to constantly submit new Catwoman posters for various cities, as many of the bus stop ads were being stolen. It got so bad that police officers had to patrol bus stops in order to catch perpetrators before they could break the Plexiglas containers. The large scale Catwoman bus ads are now worth a great deal of money.
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Danny DeVito, whose make-up as the Penguin took three hours to be applied every morning, removed one of the cabinets in the make-up trailer and put in a LaserDisc machine and a television. While they were putting on the make-up, he brought in his favorite movies and watched them in the mirror.
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Neither Tim Burton nor Michael Keaton had been signed up in advance for a sequel. Burton came on-board only after the script met all of his demands (he hadn't been entirely happy with Batman (1989)'s screenplay), while Keaton only agreed to do the second film after a serious hike in salary, and Burton's assurance that it would be mostly a stand-alone movie rather than a direct sequel.
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Security was so tight on the production that even Kevin Costner was refused permission to visit the set. Warner Bros. employed a private investigator firm when some shots of Danny DeVito in costume made it into the tabloids.
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Annette Bening was cast as Catwoman, but was replaced by Michelle Pfeiffer when she became pregnant. Pfeiffer's $3 million salary was $2 million more than was offered to Bening.
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Michelle Pfeiffer went through sixty catsuits during the six month shoot, at a cost of $1,000 apiece.
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It made $47.7 million in its first three days, a record at the time.
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This was the first of the live-action Batman films to use computer generated visual effects: the shield on the Batmobile, as opposed to the previous film, and the remote controlled Batarang.
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(at around 1h 6 mins) During one scene, Michelle Pfeiffer had to put a live bird in her mouth. They had bird puppets on-set, but Pfeiffer thought they all looked too fake.
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Danny DeVito spent two hours a day in make-up. He was forbidden to describe the Penguin's make-up to anyone, including his family.
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The catsuit was so tight on Michelle Pfeiffer that she often had trouble hearing her own voice. Tim Burton had to tell her to lower her voice register, because she would often shout her dialogue instead of just saying it.
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This is the only sequel to one of his own films that Tim Burton directed himself.
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Danny DeVito said he read in the paper he was being considered for the role of the Penguin over a year before he was even offered the part.
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(at around 1h 40 mins) The note given to the Penguin by the monkey from Batman is in Bob Kane's handwriting. Batman has used notes signed with his logo throughout his entire history.
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A Penguin action figure based on his comic book counterpart was released as part of Kenner's line of figures based on the film, as Danny DeVito's image of the character was deemed too scary for kids. The figure in fact was a repaint of the Penguin action figure released in 1980s Super Powers Collection toy-line by Kenner (the original one had a blue suit, whereas the one released to promote the film has a black suit).
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Sam Hamm's original screenplay draft had the Penguin and Catwoman going after hidden treasure. Dissatisfied with that, Tim Burton brought in Daniel Waters, writer of Heathers (1988), who came up with the concept of an evil business mogul backing a bid for the Mayor's office by the Penguin.
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The Batman costume weighed fifty-five pounds (twenty-five kilograms).
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There are numerous references to Germany's "Weimar Republic" culture, which existed from 1919 to 1933. The outfit and look of the Penguin are based on the title character from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), and much of the scenery and set designs of this movie are inspired by the same movie. A villain is named after Max Schreck, another film star of "Weimar Republic" culture. Schreck suggests to the Penguin to make a "Reichstag fire", the terrorist act which the Nazi Party used as a pretext to seize power (saying they were guarding against terrorists) and disband the Weimar Republic. It is popularly assumed that the Nazis set the fire.
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First Batman adaptation in which the real names of the Penguin and Catwoman, as established in the comics (Oswald Cobblepot and Selina Kyle), are used.
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The first script draft of this movie was intended to be a direct sequel to the previous Batman (1989). As a result, subplots and continuity from the first film that would have been addressed, included gift shops selling fragments of the destroyed Bat-Wing, further revelations into the past of the now deceased Jack Napier (The Joker), and even Bruce Wayne proposing to Vicki Vale by the end of the film. However, Tim Burton was uncomfortable in making a direct sequel, and as a result, the script was re-written, and a new Gotham City was designed. However, several plot elements from the original script did make it into the final draft. This included the Penguin and Catwoman's alliance, their framing of Batman, and The Dark Knight's escape via Bat-Glider. Further elements even made their way into the third film, Batman Forever (1995), most notably an invasion of Wayne Manor and the Batcave.
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This was one of the last major Hollywood films to be done "the old-fashioned way", with indoor sound stages, trompe l'oeil sets, miniatures, and various other vestiges of old-school Hollywood filmmaking.
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Billy Dee Williams was to play Harvey Dent again, and an early draft of this movie's script included the role. That character was later renamed Max Shreck, and all of Dent's lines were given to him, and all Two-Face elements were removed.
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(at around 28 mins) In order to get the cats to surround Selina when she's knocked out, the filmmakers put tuna on a dummy version of Selina, and tuna on Selina's suit.
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Singer David Bowie, who had been previously considered to play the Joker in Batman (1989), was the first choice for the part of Max Shreck before Christopher Walken was cast. Bowie turned down the role in favor of one in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). In addition, the role of Max Zorin in A View to a Kill (1985), also played by Walken, was initially offered to Bowie.
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Set a new record for a film in its opening weekend, until the following year, when Jurassic Park (1993) managed to break that record.
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For the role of Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer trained at the Steeleboxer kick boxing gym two hours a day for six months. She also practiced yoga, weight lifting and karate. Additionally she spent three months training with a 12-foot bullwhip. Pfeiffer called that one of her most "challenging roles" and critics called it one of her most "iconic roles" that is famous forever.
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When Michelle Pfeiffer moved houses in 2004, she found the whip she had used during filming. Feeling nostalgic, she went out to her yard and attempted some whip play, but according to her, she was "a bit rusty".
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(at around 10 mins) One of the photographs in Max Schreck's office depicts him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who later played Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997).
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While on The Graham Norton Show (2007), Danny DeVito talked about the first take with the monkey handing him the note from Batman. Apparently, the monkey was frightened by the make-up and the colored drool of the Penguin, and attacked Danny's family jewels region. Lucky the suit he had to wear was very padded and he was fine. They got the shot after Danny put on a new suit.
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The set for the Penguin's decrepit underground lair, at the abandoned Gotham City Zoo, was filled with 500,000 gallons of water and a simulated ice floe island.
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Michael Keaton (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Michael Gough (Alfred Pennyworth) and Pat Hingle (Commissioner James Gordon) are the only actors to reprise their roles from Batman (1989).
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(at around 1h 8 mins) In the second scene between Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne, when they are talking about the lighting of the tree event, Selina sarcastically says, "It's gonna be a hot time in the cold town tonight." This is a subtle (or maybe not-so-subtle) reference to a line that The Joker said in Batman (1989), when he electrocuted Anton Rotelli.
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The make-up artists who created the Penguin's look decided to move away from previous depictions of the character. Instead of just giving Danny DeVito a pointy nose, they created prosthetic makeup to make his face look more "avian". Additionally, they studied deformities, such as curvature of the spine and syndactyly. Some comic book artists (such as Tim Sale) subsequently drew the Penguin as "deformed" in different Batman comics.
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According to the book "Movie Magic" by Robin Cross, the Penguin's army consisted of real penguins, actors in glass fiber suits, robotic puppets controlled by puppeteers, and computer animation. A technique called flocking was used, where several penguins would imitate a master penguin, allowing control over large numbers.
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It was intended that the character of Robin be introduced in this film. Reportedly, Tim Burton collaborated with DC Comics artist Norm Breyfogle to redesign the Robin costume for the introduction of a new Robin, Tim Drake, so that it would convincingly fit into The Dark Knight's gritty, dangerous world in the film. The winning costume was one designed by Neal Adams, but the new Robin's "R" symbol and bow staff was influenced by Breyfogle's presentation. Kenner Toys even produced a corresponding action figure, but when Robin was eventually written out of the script, Kenner released the toy anyway, as the character newly rendered in the comic books.
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The Penguin's flipper-like hands are suggestive of syndactyly, a condition where two or more digits are fused together.
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Meryl Streep was briefly considered for the role of Catwoman, but Tim Burton rejected her because she was considered too old for the role.
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(at around 26 mins) When Selina is seated at her desk in Shreck's office, the lamp casts a shadow through her eyeglass frames, creating an outline of the pointed "cat's eye" mask that was worn by Catwoman in the original DC Comics series, and had also been featured as part of the costumes donned by Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt in Batman (1966) and Batman (1966), respectively.
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Christopher Walken, remembering a film he'd seen previously, requested from Tim Burton cufflinks made from human molars for his character, Max Shreck. The movie in question is The Great Gatsby (1974), in which an unsavory friend of the title character, who had been involved in the 1919 World Series Black Sox scandal, sports a pair of molar cufflinks.
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(at around 51 mins) When the Penguin is being persuaded to run for Mayor, Josh (Steve Witting), one of Shreck's hired image consultants, places a cigarette holder in his mouth, which he promptly spits out. This not only serves as a reference to previous incarnations of the Penguin from both the Batman (1966) television show and comic book series, but also, with the corresponding line, "Reclaim your birthright.", hints at what is more explicitly revealed in the backstory: that Tucker Cobblepot, the Penguin's birth father, once occupied a high-level political office in Gotham City. Tucker is also seen smoking a cigarette in a holder at the beginning of the film.
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Michelle Pfeiffer shared a video of herself performing several whip tricks on social media, after she posted that she had uncovered the prop.
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In Daniel Waters' original treatment, the initial attack on Gotham Plaza is a lot more elaborate, with the thugs invading before the tree-lighting ceremony begins, and infiltrating Max Shreck's penthouse office, taking Max, Chip, the Mayor, and Selina hostage. Batman has to fight his way up to the penthouse level to save them, in the process, leaving the Batmobile behind in an alley, but forgetting to put the shields up on the car. Even more of the Penguin's thugs then approach the exposed automobile and take photographs of it (thus providing an explanation as to how the Penguin got the blueprints to the Batmobile). The novelization indicates that the Penguin got the plans from a disgruntled engineer who helped design it.
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Michelle Pfeiffer said about her character, "As a young girl, I was completely obsessed with Catwoman." Pfeiffer revealed in a 2017 interview. "When I heard that Tim Burton was making the film and Catwoman had already been cast, I was devastated. At the time, it was Annette Bening. Then she became pregnant. The rest is history."
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This film was considered the breakout role for renowned character actor Doug Jones, who played the role of "Thin Clown".
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Brooke Shields was considered for the role of Catwoman, but Tim Burton turned her down because she was no longer a bankable star.
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(at around 1h 30 mins) Penguin's cry of "I am not a human being! I am an animal!" near the end of the film is a nod to David Lynch's The Elephant Man (1980), whose protagonist John Merrick cries out "I am not an animal! I am a human being!" when overwhelmed by curious city goers.
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The only live-action Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher "Batman" movie to not feature flashbacks of a young Bruce Wayne.
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The character Vicki Vale from Batman (1989) (played by Kim Basinger) was going to return in this film. She was featured in Sam Hamm's early draft of the film when it was intended to be a direct sequel of the previous one, but due to the fact that Tim Burton doesn't like making sequels, it was decided to exclude her. She's only mentioned during the conversation between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, where Bruce mentions that Vicki ended their relationship because ultimately she could not accept his dual life, as well as when Bruce reminds Alfred of him letting her into the Batcave in the first film. According to Entertainment Weekly, Basinger was also a rumored candidate for the role of Catwoman, a role that was also planned for Sean Young, who had been cast as Vicki Vale in Batman (1989) but ultimately replaced by Basinger after Young broke her collarbone during filming. Michelle Pfeiffer was also one of the actresses considered to play Vicki Vale in the previous film.
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To maintain secrecy regarding the Penguin character, Danny DeVito was forbidden to describe the makeup to anyone outside the production, including family members - although, photographs of the actor in his Penguin guise did run in a tabloid publication once production started. Despite the leak, the makeup had its intended effect on audiences, and even on fellow cast members during the shoot. "No one would talk to Danny on the set because he scared everybody," Tim Burton said. "I don't know if that was his usual way of working, but there was a point where he just clicked into it and was completely this character who was totally antisocial, who had been out of the loop a little too long. Danny was 100 percent into the transformation. With the makeup and all, it was a complete creation."
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There was talk of having Jack Nicholson return as The Joker, even though he appeared to die at the end of Batman (1989). All of this was thrown out once Tim Burton agreed to return as director, because he didn't want to make a direct sequel for whatever reason, though the film did still reference the previous film's events by mentioning Vicki Vale.
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Susan Sarandon showed great interest in the role of Catwoman, but eventually opted to take a leading role in Lorenzo's Oil (1992), a role that was vacated by Michelle Pfeiffer.
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During his appearance on the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, Michael Keaton stated that he has never watched the completed movie. He went on to explain that he only took the role because he needed money for a real-estate deal.
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Although superstars like Madonna, Cher and Demi Moore wanted the role of Catwoman, director Tim Burton cast the well-respected but substantially less famous Annette Bening instead. Soon after getting the part Bening found out that she was pregnant by Warren Beatty. The actress decided the best thing to do was to drop out of the film.
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WILHELM SCREAM: (at around 57 mins) Before Batman straps the dynamite to the strongman, he hurls a goon over a bridge. As the goon flies through the air, he screams the famous Wilhelm scream.
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Michael Keaton revealed that his favorite scene was when his character smiles at the Tattooed Strongman after putting the bomb on him.
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The first Batman film in the original franchise in which the actor playing Batman (Michael Keaton) gets top-billing followed by the actor playing the main villain (Danny DeVito as the Penguin). In Batman (1989), Keaton was behind Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker (although during the end credits of that film, Keaton was top-billed over Nicholson).
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Because of the criticism from parents regarding the dark, violent, and sexual overtones of the film, there had been speculation that this movie was about to receive an R-rating from the MPAA, making this the first Batman film to receive a higher rating than PG-13, which was the rating Batman (1989) received, but finally decided to give this movie the same rating as the previous film.
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The film's sole full theatrical trailer debuted in front of prints of Wayne's World (1992) in February 1992, and was attached to subsequent releases that year. An alternate teaser trailer, unavailable on any DVD and Blu-ray releases, appeared on selected Warner Home Video releases prior to its June 19 release date.
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Geena Davis turned down the role of Catwoman in order to star in A League of Their Own (1992).
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In the climax where the army of penguins march on Gotham, twelve King penguins and twenty-four Black-foot penguins were used. The penguins were multiplied optically to make it appear that there were many more. The penguins wore light-weight harnesses with rubber-tipped rockets. The trainers used fish to coax the penguins to move.
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Production designer Anton Furst, who worked on Batman (1989) and won an Oscar, wished to return for this film, but due to contractual obligations with Columbia Pictures was unable to do so. He was replaced with Bo Welch.
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On Prisoners of Gravity: Projects (1991), Bob Kane named Cher and Michael J. Fox as potential candidates for the roles of Catwoman and Robin, respectively.
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The original script had more members of the Red Triangle Gang. These include a duo with razor sharp metal blades stuck into their heads like mohawks, a teenage clown with a neon medallion that read "CIRKUS" (who was the original stun gun clown), and a group of clowns dressed like firefighters who operate a fire-engine that shot napalm.
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Representatives also inspected the housing for the animals prior to production. The penguins had a 24-hour guard and were housed in two forty-foot trailers at night. Each trailer had a swimming pool with a filtration system and were temperature controlled. Outside there was a 2,000 gallon pool, also with a filtration system and netting over it to keep the dust out. When filming, the temperature was kept extremely low on the set, so low that the representatives on the set had to wear winter overcoats in order to be comfortable. A newspaper reported the producers' total refrigeration bill for keeping the penguins comfortable totaled one million dollars! Provisions also were made on set for the comfort of the animals that required warmth.
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The bats which appear on camera were computer-generated, and the dead fish that Max holds up to the Penguin was a fake prop.
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The near casting of Marlon Wayans as Robin, became a point of controversy for some. Many questioned the appropriateness of Robin being African-American, while others were wary of Wayans in the part, as he was known exclusively as a comedic actor, indicating the film would veer to a campy nature.
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Production designer Bo Welch cites Fascist architecture (large, symmetric, pointed designs), general Russian architecture (various designs from different eras), World's Fair architecture (varying designs from different countries), and German expressionism (dark, bizarre, stylized designs) as an influence on Gotham City's look in the film.
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Michelle Pfeiffer originally auditioned for Vicky Vale in Batman (1989).
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In Tom Mankiewicz's script for the first movie which featured the Penguin, he was described as "a tall, proper-looking, thin man".
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Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Keaton as Adrian Toomes (The Vulture) in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018).
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Wesley Strick was primarily brought in to come up with a solution with "Penguin's lack of a master plan" and "normalize" the dialogue. Strick claimed that he was presented with "the usual boring ideas to do with warming the city, or freezing the city" (the latter ended up in Batman & Robin (1997)). Strick pitched an alternative approach, that was inspired by the Moses parallels of Daniel Waters' prologue, in which the infant Oswald Cobblepot was bundled in a basket and thrown in the river where he floated helplessly until he's saved (and subsequently raised) by Gotham's sewer denizens. He then came up with Penguin's "master plan" to kill the firstborn sons of Gotham. Both the studio and Tim Burton were impressed with the idea, though Strick claimed that the toy manufacturers were worried.
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When the Penguin crashes the ballroom party, he pushes the Mayor of Gotham City out of the way. While only on screen for a second, the Mayor's costume seems to just be himself but with a knife in his back. Earlier in the film, he was betrayed by both the Penguin and Max Schreck, hence the phrases "stabbed in the back" or "backstabber".
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Tim Burton used a heavy animal motif throughout the film. There are several scenes involving bats, cats, and penguins which symbolize Batman, Catwoman, and the Penguin, respectively (as evidenced by the film's tagline "The Bat, the Cat, the Penguin"). Also, some of the Penguin's goons have their own pets (Organ Grinder has a monkey, and the Poodle Lady a dog).
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Christopher Walken's character is named for German horror actor Max Schreck, best known for playing Count Orlock in Nosferatu (1922).
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Jodie Foster was in consideration for the role of Catwoman, but dropped out to do Little Man Tate (1991).
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Bruce Wayne remarks sarcastically to Alfred at one point, "Security? Who led Vicki Vale into the Batcave?" This is a reference to an event in the previous Batman (1989) film that many fans criticized as out of character for Alfred.
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During Selina's breakdown where she sprays black paint on her T-shirts, the hangers they're on sport the slogan "Dress Up With Professional Dry Cleaning" accompanied by a picture of two penguins in evening wear. The left one's in a tux, very similar to Cobblepot's motif.
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Oswald Cobblepot (the baby who will grow up to become the Penguin) picks a fight with a cat in one of the film's opening scenes, foreshadowing his later adversarial relationship with Catwoman.
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Stan Winston Studio designed and built thirty full-body mechanical penguin puppets - ten each of three different penguin species - and six mechanical heads and suits, all of which were interspersed with live penguins to create the Penguin's army.
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Max Shreck was created specifically for the film.
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Michelle Pfeiffers stunt double wears boots with a collapsible heel.
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Rowan Atkinson was considered for the role of the Penguin.
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Sigourney Weaver was considered for the role of Catwoman.
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Director Tim Burton, inspired by Lon Chaney in London After Midnight (1927), re-imagined the Penguin not as an eloquent gentleman of crime, but as a physically deformed lunatic with a childhood trauma.
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The masked ball at Shreck's department store features a replica of the "Red Death" costume from The Phantom of the Opera (1925). The wearer is even standing on a staircase, where the Phantom famously descends when he's revealed in the costume.
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(at around 57 mins) When confronting the Penguin's henchmen for the second time, Batman snatches a time bomb off a clown and puts it in the Tattooed Strongman's pants, then throws him down a pipe as an explosion occurs, which killed him. An act which is rarely ever done by Batman.
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(at around 1h 45 mins) As the penguin army closes in on Gotham City at the climax of the movie, the Poodle Lady's accent and monotonous countdown announcements strongly resemble a similar countdown at the end of Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
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Key SWS concept artist Mark 'Crash' McCreery rendered Penguin features over sketches of Danny DeVito; then, working from those drawn concepts, 25-year Stan Winston Studio supervisors and co-founders of Legacy Effects, John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan, experimented with a variety of nose shapes, applying them to a shell made from a lifecast of the actor. Winston sculpted a more complex Penguin look in clay. "The initial concept was just a pointy nose," Winston said, "but I wasn't really happy with that. So I got my hands back in the clay, which I love, and started playing with the look myself. Years ago, for The Wiz, I had created crow characters with enormous beak faces, which involved whole forehead and brow appliances. I'd always loved that design; and, although crows had nothing to do with penguins, I felt that I could use a similar concept for the Penguin. That turned out to be the look that was selected." John Rosengrant and Shane Mahan oversaw the building of the final makeup, which, as with Edward Scissorhands (1990), was applied on set by Ve Neill. The Penguin makeup included a T-shaped nose-lip-and-brow appliance, rotten, crooked teeth, white skin and dark-circled eyes. "I remember the night that Shane, Ve Neill and I first tested the makeup on Danny DeVito," Rosengrant said. "It was such a blast to watch Danny transform into the Penguin. We could just see it happening, right before our eyes."
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The scene with the time bomb and the Strongman was the first Michael Keaton shot in-costume for the movie. The stunts were choreographed by David Lea.
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The Snakewoman was portrayed by a real life circus performer called "Flame" who went uncredited in the final film. The Snake Charmer had a much more important role in the original Daniel Waters script, the first member of the gang shown to the audience. She dramatically turned her head revealing a red triangle drawn over her eye with lipstick, before sending her snakes to attack two police officers. Her role is the most minimal of all the gang hierarchy in the final cut.
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Vincent Schiavelli was cast in the part after being handpicked by longtime friend Danny DeVito, similar to the casting of Tracey Walter as Jack Nicholson's right hand man in the first Batman (1989).
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Batman's body armor in the film is connected to a pair of Air Jordan 6s.
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Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) gets pushed out of the window by Max Schreck (Christopher Walken). Walken's character gets his name from the German actor Max Schreck who played the title vampire in Nosferatu (1922). When Selina lands on the ground, you can see that she has two red dots under her chin, given the impression that she was bitten by a vampire.
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Most of the vehicles in street scenes are imported models from Brazilian Volkswagen, called the VW Fox in the U.S.
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Universal's Stage 12 housed the Penguin's underground lair, an enormous tank that was filled with half-a-million gallons of water and a simulated ice floe island. In order to create Penguin's bird army, a combination of techniques were utilized including men in suits, computer-generated imagery, robotic creatures and real life penguins. Everyone involved was required to sign a document guaranteeing that they would not specifically hold interviews with news sources. About midway through filming, however, a few test shots of Danny DeVito in costume found their way into an American entertainment magazine. Warner Bros. then hired a group of private investigators to track down the source, though the ploy ultimately failed.
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For one of the first times in Stan Winston Studio's history, the Penguin army's mechanical parts were designed entirely on a computer using CAD (computer-aided design) technology. "This was one of our earliest experiences with computer design," J. Alan Scott noted, "which was in its infancy at the time. We had just acquired our first Macintosh computer for that purpose. It was set way in the back of the shop; but it was the really cool thing, and we'd all take turns on it. Now, of course, we've all got laptops at our workstations."
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In the attack on the Plaza, a variety of animals are seen. There are policemen mounted on horses, which are primarily background. A monkey wearing a costume and holding a fake gun, sits on an actor's shoulder. A ratty-looking poodle wearing a sweater was also in this scene. The poodle's fur was made to look unkept with the use of non-toxic make-up. In addition, fake fur was added to the poodle's head and body. Because the set was kept at a very low temperature, the monkey and the dog were comfortable wearing their costumes and, between scenes, were warmed by heating pads, which were kept on the set. A snake which was draped around the neck and shoulders of an actress, was also in the scene of the attack by the circus people. Extra provisions were made to keep the snake warm between scenes. Most of the loud sound effects, including the sound of gunfire, were added in post production.
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During the vichyssoise scene in the Batcave when Bruce is look up the microfilm newspaper footage, the article's words repeat under each story.
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The reason Bruce was keeping a bat in a cage, according to the novelization, it had injured its wing and he was nursing it back to health.
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At Max Shreck's Christmas masquerade, there is a quick reference on the staircase to the Red Death character from Phantom of the Opera (1925). The Red Death is still used in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version of Phantom of the Opera (1986). It could also be a reference to the famous story "The Masque of the Red Death" which they were performing in Phantom of the Opera. The story is about a conclave of nobles who are attempting to avoid a plague called the Red Death that is devastating the countryside and killing many of the common folk, so they seal themselves into a giant abbey and let the commoners die of the illness, all while having a giant masquerade ball. Unfortunately, an unknown guest somehow manages to show up despite the doors being welded shut, dressed in a grotesque costume looking like a plague victim. He goes through each room of the abbey and the guests within each room die of the plague. The survivors of the last room, fearful for their own lives, attempt to kill the man after stripping him of their costume, only to find out the contents within are empty - the stranger was the plague that has ravaged the land, and now they are all doomed to die from it. It's widely seen as an example of a story criticizing the rich and powerful who ignore serious problems until it personally affects them and a cautionary tale of said issues. And sure enough, this scene has the rich and powerful of Gotham partying away while a gang terrorizes the city until the Penguin crashes it.
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If you look real close at Shreck's office you'll notice he has photos with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, And Sammy Davis Jr. (The Rat Pack).
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The skeleton goon on the motorcycle can be spotted in A Cinderella Story (2004) during the costume ball scene.
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The giant rubber-duck boat Penguin uses was actually first seen in the The New Adventures of Batman (1977) episode The New Adventures of Batman: Reading, Writing & Wronging (1977) two decades earlier.
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The Penguin also tried to become the mayor of Gotham City in the TV serial Batman: Hizzonner the Penguin (1966)/Batman: Dizzoner the Penguin (1966).
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(at around 37 mins) When the Penguin is in the Hall of Records searching through birth certificates, the second one seen is that of property master William A. Petrotta.
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Something resembling Felix the Cat is the logo for Max Schreck's department stores.
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Ellen Barkin was considered for the role of Catwoman.
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Stan Winston Studio mechanical effects designers Richard J. Landon and Craig Caton-Largent oversaw the engineering of the cable-operated and radio-controlled mechanical penguins, with J. Alan Scott assisting. Each of the thirty penguin puppets required nearly 200 mechanical parts to achieve head and neck movement, plus movement of the eyes, beaks, and wings.
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In an early version of the script, Max Shreck was discovered to be the Penguin's younger brother. This original idea was going to explain why there was a revenge sub-plot where The Penguin wanted to kidnap the first born sons of Gotham - because he was cast out by his own parents while Max was allowed to live a life of decadence and luxury. This would also explain why the Penguin wanted to take Max's adult son, Chip, even though his plans only focused on children.
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(at around 1h 2 mins) The Penguin may have made a very quick passing reference to The Joker in his speech to his campaign staff. Though by "crazed clowns", he may have also been referring to his Red Triangle Circus gang.
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The Penguin wears his signature monocle in three brief scenes, and in one scene, somebody sticks a cigarette holder in his mouth (although he immediately spits it out a second later). The film's promotional material and in-universe political campaign posters do, however, show him with his top hat, monocle, and cigarette holder in the classic Penguin style.
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At the time of filming, Danny DeVito was 46 playing the 33 year old Penguin.
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The Batman film franchise has attracted the longest list of actors and actresses who have Oscar and Golden Globe wins or nominations. Twenty Oscars and thirty-four Golden Globes.
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When Batman knocks Catwoman off the roof into the van of kitty litter during their first encounter, the single-second shot of her falling downwards shows her drop past a pair of Gotham citizens sitting on the patio of their apartment, with one getting up to look at her as she falls past them.
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There is nice black and white symbolism with the baby carriages when Penguin's parents go to toss their unwanted child in the black carriage in the river and they pass the happy parents with the white carriage.
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In the comic books, the Penguin's name is traditionally Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. In the movie, Oswald Cobblepot is mentioned several times, but the middle name is left out.
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Batman deploys a variety of weapons during his fights against the Red Triangle Gang. The grapple gun was a gadget that was invented specifically for Batman (1989). By time Batman Returns was in production, it had made numerous appearances in the comics.

Some new gadgets were introduced in Batman Returns that were also later adapted into the comics, including the double grapple gun/line launcher and the programmable batarang.
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Catwoman's costume in the movie is similar to the one she was wearing in the comics at the time the film was in production. It consists of a skin-tight suit, gloves, high heel boots and a cat-eared cowl. According to Batman: Year One and Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper, Selina had seen Batman in action and was inspired by him to make her own costume. The movie Selina also saw Batman in action and made her costume following his example.
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In 2015, a comic book series titled Batman '89 was pitched by Kate Leth and Joe Quinones. It would have continued off this movie and Batman (1989). The series would have brought back Catwoman, and turned Harvey Dent in Two-Face, with the likeness of Billy Dee Williams. Other characters to be introduced with Tim Burton style uniqueness included Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Robin and Batgirl. The pitch was turned down for unknown reasons. However, in 2021, the series greenlit, with Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) writer Sam Hamm as the main writer.
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"Our mechanical puppets were slightly larger than real penguins," explained Stan Winston Studio team member Chris Swift, who sculpted the suit-and-head version. "There were 3 sizes of penguin puppets for the film;" added fellow team member Andy Schoneberg, "18-inch black-footed, 32-inch king, and 36-inch emperor penguins." "Then we had even larger versions," said Swift, "which were little people in suits, with mechanical heads. The heads and the flapping wings were puppeteered, but the walking was done by the little people in the suits."
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For the scene that took place between Max and the Penguin in the Penguin's lair, 30 penguins were used. Each day that the penguins worked, a path was cleared for them to walk from their holding area to the set. Four handlers were in care of the penguins in order to insure their safety. The crew and actors were asked to refrain from touching or crowding the penguins and special ramps were built for the penguins that had a non-slip surface. Two trainers remained in the water, out of camera range, with the penguins. In addition to the real penguins, fifty fake mechanical penguins were used in numerous scenes. In order to get the penguins to follow an actor around, the penguins were fed fish rewards.
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Vincent Schiavelli (Organ Grinder) also starred in Batman: The Animated Series: Zatanna (1993) as John Zatara.
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Originally classified "12" for the UK cinema, the film was upgraded to the "15" certificate for video cassette release because the "12" certificate was not used for video cassettes until 1994.
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Lorraine Bracco was considered for the role of Catwoman/Selina Kyle but turned the role down to do Medicine Man (1992).
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When Bruce and Selina are dancing together during the masquerade ball Selina suggests they find a more private spot. Bruce's response is "You mean take off our costumes?" Selina's reply is "I guess I'm tried of wearing masks." At this masquerade ball everyone else is actually wearing masks and costumes. Bruce and Selina are not. They look like a typical couple dressed for a high society function. This touches on how they view themselves and everyone else.
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In Wesley Strick's shooting script, the Knifethrower Dame (played by Erika Andersch) threw a knife directly into Batman's chest emblem while he programmed his Batarang. In the final film, she is not shown at all during that segment, even in the assorted heists directly proceeding.
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Michael Keaton (Batman/Bruce Wayne) and Vincent Schiavelli (Organ Grinder) had both appeared in Night Shift (1982), although they shared no scenes together.
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The Terrifying Clown was the first boss in the video game Batman Returns (1993), under the name "Stun Gun Clown".
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Producer Michael E. Uslan has stated that Tim Burton drew much of his inspiration for Batman Returns (1992) from the comics of the early 1990s. Many Batman comics of the early nineties displayed a common preoccupation with dark, supernatural narratives that blurred the line between mystery stories and full-on horror.

Stories like Grant Morrison's Batman: Gothic (1990) and Peter Milligan's Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City (1990) displayed gothic sensibilities in common with those in Burton's movie. Meanwhile, the early nineties also saw the publication of several gothic horror themed Elseworld stories, such as Doug Moench's Batman and Dracula: Red Rain (1991).

Screenwriter Daniel Waters has cited Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (1986) as having left a strong impression on him
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A UK trailer for the film credited the screenplay to Daniel Waters and Wesley Strick.
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Vincent Schiavelli played Bond villain Dr. Kaufman in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), just like co-star Christopher Walken was in A View to a Kill (1985).
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Vincent Schiavelli later co-starred with Danny DeVito again in Man on the Moon (1999), which starred Jim Carrey, who portrayed the Riddler in Batman Forever (1995). DeVito and Schiavelli also costarred in Death to Smoochy (2002) with Robin Williams, who had been considered for the Riddler before Carrey was cast. Previously, Schiavelli and DeVito worked together with Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
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In this film, Christopher Walken is the aggressor whereas Michelle Pfeiffer is the submissive. The two also appear together in Hairspray (2007), the 2007 movie-musical, where Pfeiffer is now the aggressor and Walken is the submissive.
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(at around 45 mins) Shreck's line about going "fifteen rounds with Muhammad Shreck" is a reference to world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
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There is a scene in which the ratty poodle carries a grenade into a building and then exits without the grenade and shortly thereafter the building explodes. The dog ran A to B with a fake grenade in his mouth. He dropped the grenade and ran from B to A. This was accomplished with the use of two trainers. One released the dog at Point A to go to another trainer at Point B. The trainers used both hand and voice commands. The scene was shot in cuts and the dog was not present during any explosion.
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In a show of true commitment to character, Danny Devito ate a raw fish for the scene where Shreck convinces him to run for mayor.
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Christopher Walken's character is named Max Schrek, which is also the name of the actor portreing Nosferatu ine the 1922 movie. In 1998, a comic book named Batman: Nosferatu came out.
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Danny Devito said on a interview that Michael Keaton had tease his character multiple times about using it as a mascot on hockey, although Keaton is a Pittsburgh native and he a has been a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan for a very long period of time.
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Danny DeVito explains in an interview that filming went horribly wrong in a scene with the monkey when the monkey was supposed to hand over the note to The Penguin about the children they had captured but was so scared of The Penguin Costume it bit Danny DeVito in his crotch who was fortunately unaffected by lots of padding around his crotch so Danny DeVito requested they put a metal shield in that part of his costume incase the monkey tried to bite him again.
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Included in "The A to Z of Superhero Movies: From Abar to ZsaZsa via the MCU", written by Rob Hill.
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In the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman franchise, each villain got their revenge on their boss. In this Batman, Joker gets revenge on his boss Carl Grissom. In this film, Catwoman gets revenge on her boss Max Schreck. In Batman Forever, Riddler gets revenge on Fred Stickley. In Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy gets revenge on Jason Woodrue.
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In Daniel Water's draft of the script from May 1991, Batman turns to a young mechanic to undo the Penguin's control of the Batmobile and in the third act, Batman calls upon him again to descramble the signal that controls the army of missile-armed penguins. When formal introductions are made afterwards, the mechanic says his name is Robin. It is also implied his parents have already died by this point.
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According to Tim Burton, Michael Keaton was already set to do Batman Forever, but he decided to turned down the role, because Michael Keaton dislike Joel Schumacher ideas and refused to Star in it.
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Lisa Guerrero's debut.
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Madonna turned down the role of Catwoman.
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Nick Park based the character of Feathers McGraw around one of the pall bearer penguins at Oswald's funeral. He has stated in interviews that 'The Wrong Trousers' is very much an unofficial sequel to Batman Returns.
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More than two decades later, Paul Reubens would reprise his role as Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot's biological father in the TV series Gotham, albeit under a new character name, Elijah Van Dahl. Van Dahl was a sharp contrast to Reubens' previous role as Tucker Cobblepot, this time being warm, affectionate and understanding of Oswald.
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Michael Keaton never did any film work with Val Kilmer after he replaced him.
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Cameo 

Elizabeth Sanders: (at around 43 mins) The wife of Batman co-creator Bob Kane says "He's like a frog that became a prince" when the paper boy sells newspapers about the Penguin forgiving his parents.
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Paul Reubens, Diane Salinger: Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) stars reunite briefly at the beginning of the film as the Penguin's parents, Tucker and Esther.
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Danny Elfman: (at around 1h 30 mins) As one of the off-screen tomato and lettuce throwers during the Penguin's botched speech.
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Benny Urquidez: One of the clowns slapping the man on the head before Batman grabs him is Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, legendary karate pioneer and kickboxing champion. He helped train the eight other clowns who battle Batman hand to hand in the street.
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Anthony De Longis: famed Hollywood weapons consultant not only taught Michelle Pfeiffer to wield Catwoman's whip, but appeared uncredited as another one of the Penguin's clowns.
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Director Cameo 

Tim Burton: (at around 24 mins) When Selina comes home to her apartment and turns on the answering machine, that's Burton's voice on the second call.
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Director Trademark 

Tim Burton: [music] Music by Danny Elfman.
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Tim Burton: [title sequence] The opening credits "follow" the baby carrier down the river.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The final shot of the film, in which Catwoman is seen looking at the Bat-signal, was added as an afterthought, literally a few weeks before the film opened. The shot had to be filmed on a weekend, less than a day after conception, with a double for Michelle Pfeiffer. That single shot cost $250,000.
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The character of Max Shreck was a re-write of District Attorney Harvey Dent. Accordingly, most of his plot points would have perhaps made more sense if Shreck were District Attorney instead of a corrupt businessman. The explosion at the end of the film was a means to injure Dent, and produce the scars that would lead to his transformation into Two-Face for the third movie in the franchise. Reportedly, Billy Dee Williams took the role of Harvey Dent in Batman (1989), because he knew that the character would eventually become Two-Face. Williams' contract to appear in the sequel is rumored to have been bought out by Warner Bros. at a heavy price. Tommy Lee Jones played Harvey Dent (Two-Face) in Batman Forever (1995). Williams wouldn't get the chance to play Two-Face until The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
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The final Christmas ball scene is quite symbolic: since it is a masquerade party all the guests are in disguise. The only two guests there who actually aren't wearing masks are Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. This implies that their real personalities are Batman and Catwoman respectively, and that their public appearance without a costume is just a disguise for society.
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The film originally included a montage of the boys being kidnapped by the Penguin's gang, with one of them screaming. Tim Burton, knowing that many children would see the movie, decided not to take any unnecessary risks, and just showed the boys after their kidnappings, being locked in circus train cages and reacting sedately.
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Daniel Waters' original script originally had the Bat-Signal blinking on and off at the end of the film, as a sign that Selina's electrocution of Max had disrupted the power supply of the city. Tim Burton instead opted to end the film with Catwoman looking out at the signal over a snowy sky, hinting at her survival and possible appearance in a future film.
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In one version of the script, Max Shreck was discovered to be the Penguin's older brother.
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Originally, the script had many plot points to set up for the unmade third Tim Burton Batman film. One of these was an introduction to Dick Grayson/Robin. Marlon Wayans had even signed on to play the role, and had gone through a costume test. When the character was cut from the script, it was decided that Wayans would make his first appearance in the third film. However, when Joel Schumacher took over as director, he bought out Wayans' contract, and hired Chris O'Donnell to play the role. The original script also didn't include Max Schreck, and had Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent in his place. At the end of the film, when kissed by Catwoman, Dent would have become Two-Face rather than dying, setting him up to be the third film's villain. However, this was cut, and Tommy Lee Jones was cast as the role for the third film.
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Daniel Waters is credited as the main screenwriter of the film and he is considered to be responsible for the excessively dark atmosphere and violent themes of the film. Although the main plot was written by Daniel Waters, Tim Burton commissioned Wesley Strick to make a hasty re-write before production began. Wesley Strick was uncredited, but he changed the bulk of the dialogue, and made slight alterations to the plot. He excised the Robin subplot, as well as the final revelation that Max Shreck was the Penguin's elder brother. He also narrowed down the references to the character of Vicki Vale. Although Daniel Waters is held accountable for some scary scenes such as the kidnapping of the first born sons, or the bite at the nose of Josh by the Penguin, and the final scene where a fatally wounded Penguin spews bile, they are actually additions by Wesley Strick. However, other violent sequences such as the death of the Ice Princess and the climactic showdown between the unmasked Catwoman and Max Shreck were elements of the screenplay that Daniel Waters wrote.
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To accomplish the scene with the bird in Catwoman's mouth, the bird was gradually and carefully prepped for the scene, starting with teaching the bird to fly out of closed, cupped hands and then fly from the hands to his cage. Gradually the bird was placed into the open mouth of the trainer. Eventually the trainer closed his lips for a second, then opened his mouth and the bird flew to his cage. The trainer did not close his lips tightly but kept them open slightly. When the scene was done with Michelle Pfeiffer, the scene was shot in cuts. With the cameras rolling, the trainers backed the bird into the actress' mouth. The bird was in her mouth for one or two seconds, then she opened her mouth and the bird flew to his cage. The bird had been well-trained by this point and the action did not bother him. The bird that was used was a finch. A fake bird had also been used in part of the scene prior to the point where Catwoman places the bird in her mouth. When Catwoman first reaches into the cage to take out the bird, a fake bird was used. She pulled out the fake bird and popped it into her mouth. Then the camera cut to the part where the real bird was placed in the actress' mouth. The cat that was present laying on the bed during this scene was tethered to the bed by a soft cotton string that was tied like a belt around the lower waist of the cat. This was not seen by the camera. The cat was also filmed separately without any tether. The Penguin pressed a button on his umbrella and a knife came out of the point. This was a fake knife which he held to the cat. The cat was not released until after the bird was safely in it's cage.
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Paul Reubens reprised his role as Oswald's (Penguin's) biological father on Gotham (2014). In this movie, the credits list Reubens only as "Penguin's Father", though his grave stone reads Tucker Cobblepot. On the TV show, his name is Elijah Van Dahl, and his back story is wholly different.
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In an early script, the taser would have originally been used to electrocute and scar Harvey Dent.
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Catwoman popping up at the end of the movie wasn't in the screenplay and was added in to hint at a possible return for the character like in her own spin-off movie which instead eventually became Catwoman (2004) starring Halle Berry.
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The Penguin crashes Max Schreck's party to personally kill Max's own son. Max protects Chip by pointing out to the Penguin that he was the one who played the Penguin for a sap, and that he's the one the Penguin should logically kill. The Penguin grudgingly admits Max has a point, and takes him instead of Chip. It's covered deeper in the novelization, where Max repeatedly reflects on how much he loves his son and is proud of him - in the novel of the movie, Chip Shreck actually saw his father push Selina out of the window and helpfully suggested that she'd jumped.
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Singer Vance Joy names this as the film best showcasing Michelle Pfeiffer's talents, inspiring a line in his song "Riptide": "I swear she's destined for the screen, Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen." He has said he's especially impressed by the scene where Selina vandalizes her own apartment after surviving a murder attempt.
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1992 was a year with a unifying theme for Steve Witting, that of getting assaulted and removed from scenes by characters played by Danny DeVito. First, in Hoffa (1992), he appears in a single scene as a representative of the federal government investigating in Jimmy Hoffa's office, where he is promptly shoved and kicked out by Danny Devito's Bobby Ciaro. Then, in his only other movie that year, he has the unfortunate distinction of a slightly meatier role, in which his nose is nearly bitten off by DeVito's Penguin in a more memorable scene of this movie.
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In the unmade sequel of Batman & Robin (1997), named Batman Unchained, the Penguin would have reappeared as a hallucination by Scarecrow's fear gas.
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In Batman (1989) and this film, characters are electrocuted beyond recognition: Anton Rotelli in Batman (1989) and Max Shreck in this movie.
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At the end of the opening credits, Oswald's crib lands at a ramp in the pool of the zoo's penguin exhibit. When Oswald dies, the penguins perform his "funeral march" by dropping him into the water via the same ramp, and the story's epilogue begins immediately afterward.
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Max Shreck is similar to another Christopher Walken character, Max Zorin the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985). Like Shreck, Zorin sought to make colossal wealth through a monopoly, in that case the destruction of Silicon Valley, which gave his electronics firm a monopoly on the world market for a long time. Also, like Shreck, Zorin resorted to defenestration after someone refused to go along with his plans; an investor was thrown out of a blimp after he refused to endorse Zorin's plans to destroy Silicon Valley. (Unlike Selina, who considered it unethical, the investor said the investment amount was too expensive.)
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The six Emperor penguins that act as pallbearers for the Penguin's body at the end of the film, were little people dressed as Emperor penguins. Monkeys and poodles also appeared in the climactic scenes. At one point Max, who is locked in a cage, calls to a monkey who has the key to his cage and the money goes to the cage with the keys. The keys were actually tied to the monkey and the monkey was tossed by one trainer to another trainer a distance of about one half foot. Where the monkey carries a note down a flight of stairs to the Penguin, the monkey was simply coached by his trainer with verbal cues.
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At the Batcave, Batman asks Alfred to bring him some antiseptic ointment to treat his injuries. In the comics, Alfred is an experienced field surgeon and often helps patch up Bruce's wounds.
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Bruce and Selina discover each other's alter egos. Tim Burton credited the theme of duality as drawing him into the Batman franchise.
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The beginning of the film depicts young Oswald snatching his family's cat into his "crib" and killing it. By the end of the film, Catwoman leaves her pet Miss Kitty in Bruce's care, to make him aware that she's survived.
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(at around 1h 55 mins) Before killing him, Selina calls Shreck "Anti Claus", in a nod to how the Mayor introduced him at the tree lighting.
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An early idea was to have the very large penguin birds who carry the Penguin to his watery grave at the end of the movie be 'The Elders', H.P. Lovecraftian beings whom the Penguin and the circus group worshiped like gods.
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Max Shreck foreshadows two things: one that turns out to be especially ominous ("I wish I could hand out world peace, and unconditional love... wrapped up in a big bow") and one that foreshadows his own death ("I am the light of this city...").
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The scene where Selina destroys her stuffed toys might have been influenced by a scene in 'Ebon Masquery' (Batman #387, September 1985), where Roman Sionis destroys his own collection of stuffed toys. In both stories, the act symbolizes the death of the character's former self and the beginning of their new life as a masked villain.
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Batman and the Penguin's final fight scene plays out pretty much the way all their fights in the comics do: the Penguin attacks Batman with his blade umbrella, only for Batman to casually disarm and defeat him without breaking a sweat.

The fight ends when bats emerge from the wreckage of the Batskiboat and swarm around the Penguin. The Penguin in the Golden Age comics exhibited a fear of bats on more than one occasion and would become similarly flustered whenever they swarmed around him.
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At the masquerade ball, when Selina is dancing with Bruce, the gun she pulls out is an American Derringer Model 1. Later, the revolver which Max Shreck uses to shoot Selina Kyle at the end is a Smith & Wesson Model 66.
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The opening scene flashback to when the Penguin was a baby shows a pet cat walking past a darkened cage, which supposedly houses the infant Penguin. The cat walks from A to B and stands by the cage, suddenly it disappears as if it's been sucked through the bars and into the cage. (Supposedly the cat has been killed by the infant Penguin.) The cat merely walked A to B, then the film cut to a fake cat which was pulled through the cage.
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Catwoman attributes her good luck to her feline totem, counting down how many lives she has left each time she escapes death. On Page 16 of Michael Singer's Batman Returns: The Official Movie, writer Bob Kane cites the nine lives myth as a primary reason for choosing the cat motif. The idea of her having nine lives was frequently referenced in the comics.
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Tim Burton has cited Alan Moore's The Killing Joke (1988) as his all-time favorite Batman comic. In this story the Joker employs a group of sideshow performers to do his evil bidding. The scene in Batman Returns where Shreck awakens after being kidnapped, only to find himself surrounded by circus performers, is likely a nod to the scene in The Killing Joke where Gordon awakens to find himself in an equally nightmarish situation.

Members of the False Face Society have also been known to wear masks resembling clowns, devils, skeletons and other carnival-themed designs. So while the Red Triangle Gang may have been an original creation, they are nevertheless fairly typical of the type of gangs populating Batman's world.
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After the riot, the attention shifts to an abandoned zoo where the Penguin's lair is situated. The idea of the villain setting up their base in an abandoned amusement park may have been inspired by The Killing Joke. Alternatively, it could be a reference to Alan Grant's 'The Killing Peck' (Secret Origins Special #1, 1989), in which the Penguin holes up in an empty enclosure within Gotham Zoo. The plot of 'The Killing Peck' sees Cobblepot kidnapping a bully who'd tormented him as child and taking him back to his hideout in the zoo to torture him. Shreck is subjected to a similar abduction in the film.
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In the movie Batman punches Catwoman off a ledge, only for her to land in a truck full of kitty litter. The exact same thing happened in 'The Mad Hatter Goes Straight!' (Batman #297, March 1978), when Batman punched a criminal off a cliff, only for him to land in a truck full of sand and be carried safely away.
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The story Penguin: Pain and Prejudice features Cobblepot hatching a plan very similar to the one in Batman Returns. In this story, Cobblepot blames the people of Gotham for the mistreatment he's suffered throughout his life and sets out to avenge himself by killing all the children in the city.

To this end, he dispatches penguin-shaped rockets that emit sonic signals to incite flocks of birds to attack the people. In the movie, Cobblepot tries something similar using real penguins armed with rockets and guided by control signals. In both stories, his plans are foiled when Batman disrupts the source of the signal.
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Sam Hamm's original screenplay to the sequel was to introduce Det. Harvey Bullock as Commissioner Gordon's companion, with Brian Dennehy in mind to play Bullock following his past acting performances as characters similar to Bullock in First Blood (1982) and F/X (1986). Bullock would be completely removed, however, when Tim Burton agreed to return at the director.
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The Penguin's age of death - 33 years - is the same as the traditionally given age of Jesus' death.
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