Trivia / Batman Returns

  • Actor Allusion: Christopher Walken plays a light-haired Corrupt Corporate Executive named Max. His full name is also a reference to Max Schreck, who played Count Orlok in the classic silent movie Nosferatu. (Also the name Schreck, itself is actually the German word for 'fear'.)
  • Dawson Casting: Forty-seven-year-old Danny DeVito as 33-year-old Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin.
  • End of an Era: This was one of the last major Hollywood films to be done "the old-fashioned way", with indoor soundstages, tromphe l'oeil sets, miniatures, and various other vestiges of old-school Hollywood filmmaking; the very next year, Jurassic Park came along and nothing was the same after that. Later viewers have even criticized the film for its "cramped staging"...which is a little unfair, because Burton deliberately had the sets constructed that way as a tribute to the German expressionist melodramas of the early 1920s (where the cramped mise-en-scene was also deliberate). Not that Batman Returns wasn't also a gateway to the future: it was the very first film recorded with Dolby digitalized sound, the first to be released in more than 2,000 movie theaters across America simultaneously, and one of the first to integrate computer-animated graphics seamlessly into a (semi-)realistic story.
  • Executive Meddling: See below — What Could Have Been.
  • Production Posse: Danny Elfman doing the score, Bo Welch for production design and Denise De Novi assists in production
  • Shout-Out / Fountain of Memes:
    • The Simpsons episode "Sideshow Bob Roberts" has a plot that (unintentionally) closely parallels this movie's, with a seemingly reformed criminal running for mayor and a visit to a Hall of Records (albeit by a sympathetic character note  rather than a villain).
    • Sideshow Bob again in "Day of the Jackanapes", where he uses a spiraling design (in this case an archery target) to hypnotize and brainwash Bart.
    • In her music video for "Since U Been Gone", Kelly Clarkson systematically destroys some of the clothes in her closet while sporting a Slasher Smile. Sound familiar?
  • Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: Kenner's tie-in toy line did have a number of odd gimmick figures and vehicles that weren't in the movie, which is par for many tie-in toy cash-ins. That's not the example here- no, when Kenner made their line, for some reason instead of making a new Penguin figure that looked like the character in the film, they simply used the old "Super Powers" comic-based Penguin tooling they'd made years before.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Annette Bening of all people was Burton's original choice to play Selina/Catwoman, but she turned it down due to her pregnancy at the time. Sean Young, still bitter over losing the role of Vicki Vale in 1989's Batman, lobbied hard to secure the role as Catwoman, even going as far as to confront Burton at the Warner Bros. studios, wearing a homemade Catwoman costume... with disastrous results that permanently damaged her career.
    • The character of Max Shreck was originally written for Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams), thus explaining the character's political ambitions. The film would have ended on a cliffhanger, with the explosion at the end only scarring him.
    • In addition, Dick Grayson was going to have a cameo; he was going to be played by... Marlon Wayans.
    • The original script had many, many more members of the Red Triangle Gang. Notable members of the circus in the original script included a ringmaster with poison-tipped gauntlets, included a duo with razor sharp metal blades encrusted into their heads like mohawks, a teenage clown with a neon medallion that read "CIRKUS" who was the original stun gun clown, and a group of clowns dressed like firefighters who operate a fire-engine that happed to shoot napalm (in a possible dark twist on the clown scene from Dumbo).
    • Sam Hamm's original script for "Batman 2" included a few Continuity Nods to the first film, such as Bruce proposing to Vicki Vale, a souvenir store selling scraps of the wrecked Batplane and more insights to the deceased Joker. Catwoman and the non-deformed Penguin were featured, but neither had an origin story, and the Penguin was given the alias "Mr. Boniface" in a Mythology Gag (his original alias in the comics; "Oswald Cobblepot" is nowhere to be found). The Penguin enters the film when he is released from prison for previous offenses, Catwoman comes in when he hires her for her burglary skills, and both go off searching for buried treasure.
    • There was talk of having Jack Nicholson return as the Joker, despite his fate at the end of the previous film. All of this was thrown out once Tim Burton agreed to return as director because he didn't want to make a direct sequel for whatever reason, though the film did still reference the previous film's events by mentioning Vicki Vale.
    • A later script draft revealed Max Shreck to be Penguin's older brother, the "golden boy" of the Cobblepot family, whereas the Penguin was the deformed outsider. He was supposedly ashamed of his father, after he threw his baby brother into the sewer, and he emancipated himself from the Cobblepot family as soon as he became of age.
    • Dustin Hoffman was reportedly interested in playing the Penguin. It was actually Jack Nicholson who suggested to Tim Burton that he cast Danny DeVito (whom Nicholson had recently worked with in Hoffa).
    • Burgess Meredith (who played Penguin in the 60's Batman series) was considered to play Penguin's father; however, he was unable to appear due to complications resulting from lung cancer.
  • Working Title: Batman Return's working title was "Dictel".
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