How Tim Burton's BATMAN RETURNS Upset McDonalds

Big Eyes director Tim Burton chatted with Yahoo about casting Michael Keaton ("Desperate Measures") to be his Caped Crusader and why he wasn't asked to direct the sequel to Batman Returns. Hit the jump to check it out.


Tim Burton is currently promoting his latest movie Big Eyes and during interview-after-interview he has been fielding a lot of questions about his previous films like Batman and Batman Returns. In a recent interview with Yahoo Movies, Burton discussed the reasons he chose Michael Keaton ("Mr. Mom") to play Bruce Wayne/Batman, and how the Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito) death scene in Batman Returns upset McDonalds.

On walking away from Gotham City following 1992’s sequel, Batman Returns:
I think I upset McDonalds. [They asked] ‘What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth. We can’t sell Happy Meals with that!’ It was a weird reaction to Batman Returns, because half the people thought it was lighter than the first one and half the people thought it was darker. I think the studio just thought it was too weird — they wanted to go with something more child- or family- friendly. In other words, they didn’t want me to do another one.”


Once Burton was out of the picture Joel Schumacher ("The Lost Boys") took over as director of the Warner Bros. Batman franchise. The dark, gothic aesthetics of Burton's Batman films were replaced with bright neon colors. Even the tone and dialogue of the Schumacher's Batman films reverted back to the campy and silly elements of Adam West's '60s television series.

On why Michael Keaton seemed crazy enough for 1989’s Batman:
"It got a lot of criticism for being too dark, and there was a lot of criticism for casting Michael Keaton. They thought it was going to be a comedy or whatever, but it felt very special. We met these big tough guys, but what it came down was that, you look at someone like Michael and you think, ‘Here’s a guy you can see dressing up like a bat.’ He’s got the eyes and the kind of crazy quality and the kind of internal life, but he’s not Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So, here’s somebody who needed to create a persona to frighten people and intimidate people, and Michael just seemed like the perfect person to be that. The studio was quite supportive. Thank God, the Internet wasn’t as big then, because we would have been really murdered. But even without the Internet, there was a lot of negativity and alarm.”

In the second of the blockbuster Batman films, the physically deformed criminal genius The Penguin threatens Gotham City--and, helpless, the entire city can only pray that Batman Returns. Only Batman (Michael Keaton) can defend the city from total chaos as The Penguin (Danny DeVito) lays twisted waste to a great metropolis. Meanwhile, the Dark Knight may have met his equal in the lethally lithe Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer)--only he doesn't know if she is feline friend ... or foe.

Starring: Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Danny DeVito as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck Directed by Tim Burton * Screenplay by Daniel Waters
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