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Batman In The Movies

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Batman A History of the Dark Knight

There have been seven movies so far in the Batman movie franchise. To date Batman has been portrayed by Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale.

The first Batman movie was known (appropriately enough) as Batman: The Movie and was a theatrical spin-off from the 1966 tv-series which starred Adam West.

It wasn't until 1989 until Batman returned to movie theaters in the Warner Brothers movie Batman which was directed by Tim Burton. This is generally considered the first serious attempt at Batman on the big screen and it defined the look of the character for the next decade.

Burton directed the sequel Batman Returns in 1992 and the series continued with Batman Forever in 1995 and Batman & Robin in 1997 directed by Joel Schumacher. The franchise was then re-booted for 2005's Batman Begins and a sequel titled The Dark Knight is due for release in 2008.
Gotham City's skyline, as it appears in the 1989 Batman movie.Image via Wikipedia
Batman (1989)
Director: Tim Burton
Batman: Michael Keaton
The Joker: Jack Nicholson
Vicki Vale: Kim Basinger
Alfred: Michael Gough

Gotham is controlled by mob boss Carl Grissom. Reporter Vicki Vale investigates the mysterious Batman and in the process becomes taken by Bruce Wayne's charms. When Jack Napier, Grissom's right hand mand is transformed into the psychotic Joker he starts a deadly crusade against the citizens of Gotham.

With a budget of $45 million, Batman grossed an estimated $411 million in revenue and was a critical success.

Batman Returns (1992)
Director: Tim Burton
Batman: Michael Keaton
The Penguin: Danny DeVito
Catwoman: Michelle Pfeiffer
Max Schreck: Christopher Walken
Alfred: Michael Gough

A strange penguin-like man emerges from the sewers of Gotham and coerces Max Schreck into helping him become mayor and they both attempt to frame Batman. When Selina Kyle, Max's secretary is thrown from the top of a building, she is transformed into Catwoman. Batman must attempt to clear his name.

Batman Returns had a budget of $80 million and achieved $282 million in revenue, considerably less than the previous movie, but still a success.

Batman Forever (1995)
Director: Joel Schumacher
Batman: Val Kilmer
Two Face: Tommy Lee Jones
The Riddler: Jim Carrey
Dr Chase Meridian: Nicole Kidman
Robin: Chris O'Donnell
Alfred: Michael Gough

When Harvey Dent is disfigured in a courtroom accident, he blames Batman and with the assistance of Edward Nygma, a former Wayne Enterprises employee he unleashes a reign of terror. The Riddler invents a device for draining information from all the brains in Gotham and Batman must stop him with the help of his new sidekick Robin and psychologist Dr. Chase Meridian.

Batman Forever had a budget of approximately $100 million and was still considered successful enough to merit a sequel, taking in $336 million in revenue.

Batman & Robin (1997)
Director: Joel Schumacher
Batman: George Clooney
Mr Freeze: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Poison Ivy: Uma Thurman
Batgirl: Alicia Silverstone
Robin: Chris O'Donnell
Alfred: Michael Gough

Victor Fries, nickname Mr. Freeze threatens Gotham City but is captured by Batman and Robin. When Pamela Isley dies and is ressurected she aids Mr. Freeze in his escape. Meanwhile Alfred is dying and the due receiving help from Batgirl.

Batman & Robin had a budget of $125 million and was considered an expensive failure both critically and financially, effectively ending the Batman franchise. The movie only made $238 million worldwide.

Batman Begins (2005)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Batman: Christian Bale
Ra's al Ghul: Liam Neeson
Rachel Dawes: Katie Holmes
Scarecrow: Cillian Murphy
James Gordon: Gary Oldman
Lucius Fox: Morgan Freeman
Alfred: Michael Cane

When Bruce Wayne's parents are killed in a robbery, Bruce blames himself. He travels the world and is taken in by a mysterious insructor named Ducard who urges him to become a ninja in the League of Shadows. Instead Bruce returns to Gotham City and takes on the mantle of the Batman determined to end the mob role that is strangling the city.

Batman Begins was a fresh start for the Batman franchise. With a budget of $150 million, the movie grossed over $370 million in revenue making it the most successful movie since Batman.

The Dark Knight (2008)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Batman: Christian Bale
The Joker: Heath Ledger
Harvey Dent: Aaron Eckhart
Rachel Dawes: Maggie Gyllenhaal
James Gordon: Gary Oldman
Lucius Fox: Morgan Freeman
Alfred: Michael Cane

Lt. Jim Gordon, DA Harvey Dent and Batman ally to fight organized crime in Gotham City and take on the threat of a homicidal criminal known only as the Joker.

The Dark Knight has an estimated budget of $180 million, making it the most expensive Batman movie to date.

Eoghann Irving is amongst other things the creator and Editor of Solar Flare. He has a life long interest in all forms of science fiction and fantasy and a pressing need to share this interest with anyone who will listen. Find out more at his his website

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