Batman '89: How Warner Bros Were Forced To Release A Bad Trailer

There's no pleasing some fans...

Batman 89 Trailer
Warner Bros.

Despite the fact that Tim Burton's Batman 1989 launched one of the most successful movie brands of all time - which continues to promise hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office despite the well-publicised issues around The Batman's production so far - it didn't get off to the best start.

Infamously decades in the making, Batman '89 went through numerous rewrites and lived in the shadow of the 1960s Adam West-led TV show that had actually almost killed the character entirely (not just on screen, but on the page too). It was a true labour of love that almost fell at the first hurdle when Warner Bros handed control to Tim Burton, who had previously made Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice and wasn't exactly known as a film-maker and then his decision to cast Michael Keaton.

If you think Heath Ledger's casting as The Joker was controversial, it was nothing on the response to Keaton's as Batman. The Wall Street Journal ran a response from a fan (in actuality comic book write Beau Smith) who bemoaned his "receding hairline and a less-than-heroic chin" and said "if you saw him in an alley wearing a bat suit, you would laugh, not run in fear."

Fans, writers, critics and even the film's own producer Michael Uslan went crazy about the idea of a predominantly comic actor taking on the role and that bred concerns that fans were going to end up seeing something more in line with the 60s Batman. In turn, the studio started to pick up on those concerns and realised that something had to be done during filming to change perceptions of the movie. Their choice was a hastily cut trailer that was spirited into cinemas far sooner than it was ever intended.

And it really, really shows. You won't remember the teaser - perhaps partly because it doesn't fit the romantic narrative (though it arguably ENHANCES that narrative really, given that the film survived this diabolical marketing faux-pas), but here it is in all its... glory?

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