Initially, Tim Burton was to return behind the camera to direct a third “Batman” film. But the producers backed down. Find out the reasons for this unexpected change.
Batman: two cult films
In 1989, Tim Burton, crowned with his success on Beetlejuice, is hired by Warner to stage a new film Batman. The first since that worn by Adam West released in 1966. The filmmaker takes over Michael Keaton, and offers him the role of the Dark Knight. To oppose him, he hires the great Jack Nicholson, who plays an unforgettable Joker. For the rest of the cast, he picks Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, and Billy Dee Williams. The footage is a huge hit, wins the Oscar for Best Sets and bring back more than $ 411 million at the box office, for a budget of 35 million. He set several box office records and was very well received by viewers and professional critics who emphasized the dark and gothic aspect used by Tim Burton.
Obviously, faced with this triumph, Tim Burton signs for a second film: Batman, the challenge. Released in 1992, the feature film features Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin. It is thanks to the success of the first film that Warner gives the director more creative freedom which pushes him to re-pile. Burton changes the original screenplay, make it darker, more satirical, and transforms the big bad of the story. The Penguin then becomes an ostracized stranger who comes closer to the horrific vision of a Frankenstein than to the character in the comics. Unfortunately, this sequel works a little less well. For a raised budget of $ 80 million, Batman, the challenge grosses $ 266 million at the box office. A disappointing score compared to the performance of the first. And while the press reviews are rave, the general public is less enthusiastic.
what about Batman 3 ?
Tim Burton was originally scheduled to return behind the camera to direct a third episode. But the cautious financial result, and the controversies over the film’s black humor push restaurants McDonald’s has broken their commercial contract with Warner Bros. The food firm had an agreement with the studio to promote Batman, the Challenge, but refuses to do the same for the rest. Faced with this retraction, So Warner Bros asked Tim Burton to step down from the project, despite his involvement in the script, which was already halfway through its development …
Apparently the project even already had a name: Batman Continues. This third film would have taken again the tone and the scriptwriting threads of the two previous opus. The story included some elements reused by Joel Schumacher in Batman Forever. For example, Burton planned to turn Harvey Dent into Double Face. For the occasion, he would have recalled Billy Dee Williams who played the influential lawyer in the first film. Finally, in 1995, Joel Schumacher casts Tommy Lee Jones to play the famous antagonist.
Batman Continues was also to introduce Robin and The Mystery Man. Here again Batman Forever presents Jim Carrey in the role of the latter. Due to this cancellation, Warner Bros. has also stopped the project of a spin-off on Catwoman with Michelle Pfeiffer.
Warner Bros. has therefore preferred to turn its back on the vision of Tim Burton to offer a general public approach, less dark and more oriented towards humor and the cartoon side of comics. They therefore hire Joel Schumacher who directs two episodes in 1995 and 1997: Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Looking back, they might have done better to let Tim Burton do his film …