New Batman Movie Previewed in 20 Minute Video

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OK, to be fair, it was the then-new first Batman movie starring Michael Keaton, which was previewed in a 1988 video, which as the sci-fi themed Website i09 notes, Warner Brothers released “to Prove Tim Burton’s Batman Wouldn’t Suck:”


Holy crap. Has it really been 25 years since Tim Burton’s first Batman film came out and proved superhero movies could be serious? People forget this seemed impossible at the time, which is why WB made this fascinating behind-the-scenes promo video in 1988.

According to the special’s director, Andrew Gillman, the video was made to reassure distributors and merchandisers the movie wasn’t going to be a campy update of the 1966 Batman TV series. The entire video is fascinating, not just for taking a look at the making of the movie, but also revealing how people generally thought of comic book-based entertainment back in 1988 — and how much people had to be convinced the now seminal film wasn’t going to be a disaster.

Warner Brothers was riding a very curious wave in the late 1980s — Full Metal Jacket, released in 1987 was pretty awesome late-period Kubrick, even more so in retrospect, and Lee Ermey and Adam Baldwin continue to receive plenty of well-deserved goodwill from the film. Batman turned out to be far better than anyone expected, with Michael Keaton as brilliant example of stunt-casting that actually worked.


And then came Bonfire of the Vanities, in which Warner purchased the rights to the definitive novel of the 1980s — and did everything they could to make its adaptation a politically correct unwatchable mess.

Well, two out of three isn’t bad — and compared to today’s cinematic culture, it’s fun to look back at an era when Hollywood hadn’t quite yet exhausted itself.


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