As part of the year-long celebration of Batman’s 80th anniversary, Fathom Events and Warner Brothers are bringing the classic 1989-97 ‘Batman’ movies back to theaters.  Fans will be able to experience ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns’, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton, and ‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Batman & Robin’ directed by Joel Schumacher.


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Fans will have two opportunities to see each movie.  ‘Batman’ will be screened on Saturday, May 4 at 1 pm and 4 pm.  ‘Batman Returns’ will screen on Monday, May 6 at 4 pm and 7 pm.  ‘Batman Forever’ will be available on Sunday, May 12 at 1 pm and 4 pm.  And finally, ‘Batman & Robin’ screenings will take place on Tuesday, May 14 at 4 pm and 7 pm.  All times are local.

The first ‘Batman’ was released in 1989, and co-starred Jack Nicholson as The Joker, and Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale.  This movie was a massive hit, grossing over $400 million, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time at that point.  It also won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

‘Batman Returns’ featured Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman, Danny DeVito as The Penguin, and Christopher Walken as a third villain, Max Shreck.  This sequel made $266.8 million at the box office, quite a bit less than the first, partly because of a more mixed response.

Because the second movie underperformed, Warner Brothers decided to take the franchise in a different direction.  Both Keaton and Burton walked away, with Joel Schumacher replacing Burton, and Val Kilmer stepping in as the new Dark Knight.  Chris O’Donnell joined as Robin/Dick Grayson, with Nicole Kidman as love interest Dr. Chase Meridian, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face.

This sequel outperformed ‘Batman Forever’, making $350 million.

Since ‘Batman Forever’ had done well at the box office, Schumacher was encouraged to make the next film even splashier and to pack it with many characters, costumes, and vehicles that could be made into toys.  Sadly, that resulted in ‘Batman & Robin’ which killed the franchise for several years.

Kilmer chose to make ‘The Saint’ instead, so George Clooney replaced him as Batman.  O’Donnell returned, with Alicia Silverstone joining as Batgirl.  Arnold Schwarzenegger portrayed Mr. Freeze, while Uma Thurman played Poison Ivy.

‘Batman & Robin’ earned $238.2 million on a budget of $125M.  Warner Brothers killed a planned fifth movie, ‘Batman Unchained’, and the Dark Knight wouldn’t return to the big screen until ‘Batman Begins’ in 2005.

While I can easily imagine wanting to see the Burton movies on the big screen again, I’m not sure anyone is going to pay to see the Schumacher films.  While ‘Batman Forever’ is not as bad as ‘Batman & Robin’, it’s still not good.  And while it may not seem fair to compare them, the sophistication and advanced technology of modern comic book movies make those ’90s flicks practically unwatchable.

Will you be checking out the old school ‘Batman’ movies on the big screen?


Source: Entertainment Weekly