How WB’s 1989 Batman Tricks Completely Changed Movie Marketing Forever

1989 Tim Burton movie Batman was not only a turning point for Batman’s intellectual property, but also for the way blockbuster movies are marketed. Batman is a deservedly iconic superhero movie, but the story behind and the ramifications of its aggressive promotional campaign, dubbed “Batmaniais closely tied to the film itself. Changing forever the methods of promoting films made Batman the biggest DC Comics property for Warner Bros., with influence even felt in modern Marvel properties, such as the MCU franchise. from batman gargantuan marketing campaign was the result of a changing American communications industry in the 1980s and a subsequent merger that allowed WB to market its next film on an unprecedented scale – meaning Batman succeeded both as a film and as a brand and shaped the modern blockbuster film, regardless of genre.


Batman was one of DC Comics’ most common intellectual properties, with the Dark Knight and his iconic cast of supporting characters and villains second only to perhaps Superman, whose popularity and cultural significance transcended his origins from comic. from batman Mainstream popularity was bolstered by the 1960s TV show starring Adam West as the titular Batman. While the series was successful, lasting three seasons and encompassing a theatrical film, it led to a general perception of the Batman mythos as campy, despite its dark tales of surreal murders and organized crime. The Neal Adams and Denny O’Neal era Batman 1970s comics took the character into even darker territory, much like Frank Miller’s Return of the Dark Knightbut, in spite of these changes of tone, Batman was still largely defined by its lighter ’60s adaptation.

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Understanding that the image of the Caped Crusader needed to be changed, Warner Bros. worked hard to reframe Batman as a dark and serious property, drawing inspiration from The killer joke and from batman first year of publications (before the introduction of Robin). With new resources at its disposal, WB has put from batman iconic yellow oval logo in as many places as possible, merged their marketing with the film itself and made public awareness of the film unmissable. The result was one of WB’s biggest superhero hits, influencing all Batman films (irrespective of continuity), creating the DC Animated Universe and influencing the studios’ major event film marketing strategies, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Batmania” was a cultural phenomenon

Michael Keaton Batman 1989

In the months preceding from batman out, his iconic black and yellow symbol was plastered everywhere, with Batman posters on billboards, bus stops and, of course, almost every conceivable form of merchandise. In addition to a plethora of toys and t-shirts, the Batman The logo has found its way into bookstores (via the film’s novelization), video games on multiple platforms, and even breakfast cereals. The Batman merchandising craze became known as Batmania, and it succeeded with flying colors. It was impossible to ignore Batman in 1989, even for those uninterested in superhero comic books and their film adaptations, and the ubiquitous presence of the Batman logo skyrocketed public interest in the film. That way, even if the film itself had failed, mere merchandise revenue could have made up for it. from batman marketing was similar to the original star wars trilogy anyway from batman was much more aggressive due to several key factors.

How WB Marketed Batman 1989

Batman and Vicki Vale approach the Batmobile in Batman 1989

The media deregulation of the 1980s unfortunately removed safeguards against monopolies, but it also resulted in the merger of Warner Bros and Time to become Time-Warner. Time-Warner has used every possible means at its disposal to announce the next Batman film in 1989, from magazines to television stations, which only supplemented the public notoriety of the film. from batman unprecedented marketing even seeped into the film itself, with the studio demanding that Batman’s Batmobile not be damaged or destroyed and forcing Prince’s soundtrack to feature throughout the film. from batman marketing style had its downsides, however, like its sequel, Return of Batmandemonstrated.

Hoping to Reproduce 1989 from batman success, WB not only repeated its aggressive promotional campaign, but also convinced Tim Burton to return by giving him much more creative freedom. Return’ A darker, more violent, and sexually suggestive story and dialogue caused an uproar among concerned parents who thought the film would remain appropriate for younger viewers. Next Batman’s Return villain backlash, WB opted to take a more family-friendly approach moving forward Batman films, replacing Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher, whose well-meaning films were considered too campy by many viewers and critics, ultimately leading to the franchise being rebooted by Christopher Nolan in 2005 with batman begins. The two Schumacher films, which were intended to inhabit the same continuity as Burton’s, were eventually relegated to their own continuity, with 2021 Batman ’89 DCEU comics and movie the flash finally continue where Return of Batman leave behind.

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Influence of Batman 1989 on DC and the film industry

Close up of Michael Keaton's Batman symbol in Batman 1989

from batman success instantly transformed the Dark Knight into DC and WB’s most lucrative superhero property, with WB never going too long without releasing a Batman film, regardless of continuity. In one case, from batman auxiliary equipment took on a life of its own, with Batman: The Animated Series be part of Batman’s Return promotional campaign and become one of the most iconic adaptations of Batman. In all, Batman: The Animated Series ran for four seasons and gradually led to the DC Animated Universe via Superman: The Animated Series and cross shows like Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. from batman the gratuitous use of its yellow and black logo has also been emulated by other films, exemplified by the marketing efforts of both Dick Tracy and jurassic park.

The Effect of Batman 1989 on Marvel

Batman watches Joker from a helicopter in Batman 1989

from batman An aggressive promotional campaign has also been emulated by Marvel’s superhero movies, especially Sony’s. Spider Man movies and early MCU installments. While the MCU eventually left its own influence on blockbuster movies, popularizing the concept of comic book-style shared universes, Sony Spider Man Sam Raimi and Marc Webb films capitalized on the widespread appeal and commercialization of the web-slinger with merchandising campaigns that made Spider-Man as ubiquitous as Batman. Marketing for the Raimi and Webb films went beyond mere promotion in some cases, with spin-off video games and novelizations adding new content to their respective universes and, in Spider Man 2 case, becoming a beloved video game regardless of its ties to the movie continuity. Since Tim Burton’s first Batman film, WB also marketed their Batman films using the winning formula that made the 1989 film so successful.

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