Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty

Continue Shopping

35 Years Of Batman ‘89

When Batman opened in theaters in 1989 it changed the industry. The hype machine that was put behind the movie was legendary. The Batman logo was everywhere leading up to the film’s release. It changed the way a summer blockbuster could be marketed. It turned a movie’s release into an event, you had to see Batman during the summer of 1989. In honor of the film’s 35 Anniversary today, read more about Batman below.

The Bat

Leading up to Batman 1989, superhero films were not consistently being made like they are today. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was a long way away from dominating the industry. For Batman specifically, besides the comic books, where he was a fan favorite since his first appearance in 1939, the character was used mostly in animation and cartoons.

Batman 1989


When filmmakers started crafting the 1989 film, the last major appearance of Batman in popular culture was the 1966 TV Series. The series was popular but was also very campy. It did not take Batman seriously, as evidenced by its bright colors and over-the-top characterizations of its heroes and villains. The show, which was still a favorite in reruns, defined Batman for much of the public. Before Batman 1989 opened in theaters, many viewed Batman as a comedic franchise that was more silly than thrilling.


The Batman comic books were much different than the 1966 series. When the filmmakers decided to bring Batman to the big screen, something more aligned with the comic books is what they were aiming for. Director Tim Burton wanted to create a darker and edgier live action Caped Crusader. Hardcore fans of the character were excited for a take on the Dark Knight that was not a farce.

Batman 1966

Controversial Casting  

Fans were onboard with the more adult toned Batman film, but many were confused when Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as his Dark Knight. Keaton up until that point was mostly a comedic actor. So, many felt this new take on their hero was going to be a retread of the series that starred Adam West. People were so outraged about Keaton that they flooded the studio with hate mail demanding the actor be fired. Today, Keaton is widely considered to be the best actor to portray Batman.

Batman Michael Keaton


While the Batman casting was controversial, the Joker casting was universally praised. Jack Nicholson was already an icon when he was chosen to bring the Joker to life for the film. It was perfect casting in many people’s minds since Nicholson was known for his charismatic and often unhinged performances. For many years, Nicholson would stand as the definitive performance of the Joker.

joker Jack Nicholson

Smash Hit

1989’s Batman would make over $400 million at the box office. It made a whole lot more in merchandise sales. Including tees and toys. It would spark a Batman franchise of films and turn the Caped Crusader into the world’s number one comic book character. It showed the world that you could take comic book characters seriously, and it solidified the Joker and Batman as iconic characters. Many Batman projects would follow, but none were more impactful than the 1989 classic.


- Adam C. Better