This Day in Movie History – June 23rd, 1989 – Batman Debuts

After decades in comics and the previous TV and movies of a more campy, light-hearted variety, a darker theatrical take on Batman was released on this day in history.

Directed by Tim Burton, the film simply called Batman was released on June 23rd, 1989. The film starred Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Jack Nicholson played his nemesis, The Joker. The film also starred Kim Basinger, Jack Palance and Billy Dee Williams.

In contrast to the campy tone of the Adam West series, Burton's Batman featured a darker, more gothic tone that some fans was more true to the spirit of the comics. The PG-13 rated film was a massive success at the box office, making over $400 million on a nearly $50 million budget.

The success of the film not only led to more live-action Batman sequels, but also Batman: The Animated series, a critically-acclaimed series that led to over a decade of connected DC universe shows.


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