Today marks the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman. This movie was so awesome, and I personally think it still holds up today. I watched this movie again a couple months ago and was entertained from beginning to end. It was a true comic book movie. I got a chance to see the movie on opening day at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. It was actually my first time seeing a movie in the legendary theater, and I still remember the experience of walking in and being wowed by how big it was, and there was a huge Batman symbol projecting on the curtains of the screen. It was a great day, and an amazing movie. Christopher Nolan himself called it "...a brilliant film, visionary and extraordinarily idiosyncratic...".
As a way to pay tribute to the film, I've come up with 10 fun bits of trivia that you might not know about it.
- 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 refused not only to play The Riddler in Batman Forever (1995) but to be involved in any Warner Bros. productions until the studio apologized.
- The Batmobile was built on the chassis of a Chevy Impala. It was 20 ft long, had an 8 ft wheelbase and weighed 1 and 1/2 tons.
- The casting of Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman caused a controversy amongst comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters sent to Warner Bros. offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.
- 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 Bros. 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.
- 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 "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn," he said.
- 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 Batman (1989) 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.
- Kiefer Sutherland was offered the role of Dick Grayson and turned it down before the character was subsequently written out of the script.
- Michael Jackson was asked to write and perform the songs for the movie, but he had to turn it down due to his concert commitments. 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.
- The surgical tools used to "reconstruct" the Joker's face are the same props as the dental tools used by Steve Martin on Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors (1986). Coincidentally, Jack Nicholson appeared in Murray's role in the original The Little Shop of Horrors (1960).
- Below you'll find the sketch pitch for the Joker that producer Michael Uslan's created from a newspaper clipping of Nicholson's The Shining.
Thanks to IMDb for the information!