Dark Facts About The Batman Films

February 17, 2017 | Miles Brucker

Dark Facts About The Batman Films

Batman is without a doubt one of the world's most iconic superheroes. Created in 1939, the character has been around even longer than the likes of Spider-Man, The Avengers and the X-Men. With such a long and storied history, there's a lot of strange stuff which has happened to Batman over the years. Throughout the decades, he has changed and evolved considerably. Now he remains one of the most unique superheroes in the DC Universe, and the following facts about Batman are sure to make you look at him in a whole new light. Enjoy these facts about the Batman films.

Batman Films Facts

1. Batman: An American Hero

Batman first appeared in theatres in a 1943 black-and-white serial film, simply called Batman. The plot revolved around Batman’s efforts to sabotage the nefarious activities of a Japanese Agent operating in Gotham city. The film was launched at the height of the Second World War, making this Batman film a powerful piece of American war propaganda.

Screenshot from the TV series Batman (1943)Columbia, Batman (1943)

2. Leonardo Da Batman

Bob Kane, co-creator of Batman, based Batman’s wings off of Leonardo Da Vinci’s invention, ‘The Ornithopter.’ However, the comparison’s do not stop there. Like Batman, Da Vinci lost his father at a young age. He even endured a similar traumatic, and well documented, ‘cave experience’ when he was a boy.

Screenshot from the TV series Batman (1943)

3. Anatomically Incorrect

The 1997 film Batman and Robin was subject to significant controversy because the costumes of both Batman and Robin featured enlarged nipples and groins. Many speculated that this was intended to serve as homoerotic innuendo. The director of the film denied these claims, saying that the costumes were simply based on ancient Greek statutes.

Original Batman costume worn by George Clooney in Batman and Robin (1997)Dan Jamieson, Shutterstock

4. Batman can’t be no Joker!

Michael Keaton starred in two iterations of Batman: 1989 Batman and 1992 Batman Returns. Although both films were well received, Keaton’s initial casting caused quite a stir among comic book fans. Warner Bros. received over 50 000 protest letters from people concerned that Keaton would be too “funny” in the role.

Actor Michael Keaton attends the premiere of the Weinstein Company's 'The Founder'Emma McIntyre, Getty Images


5. And thank goodness he did…

Before being cast as Joker in The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger told director Christopher Nolan that he would never play a superhero because he would “feel stupid.” Ledger eventually changed his mind. He pursued the role of Joker so vigorously that he was cast in the role before the script was finished.

Christopher Nolan attends the screening of 'Sink Or Swim (Le Grand Bain)' during the 71st annual Cannes Film FestivalDenis Makarenko, Shutterstock

6. Some men just want to watch the world burn

Heath Ledger improvised when he started clapping inside his jail cell in a mocking and sardonic capacity as Gordon is promoted. The clapping was not scripted but Nolan immediately encouraged the crew to continue filming and the sequence was included in the film.

Screenshot from the movie The Dark Knight (2008)Warner, The Dark Knight (2008)

7. Bringing home the bacon for Batman

There have been 10 Batman films produced since 1989. In total, these films have raked in just under 1.2 Billion dollars. This whopping sum, however, is pocket change to Bruce Wayne himself. Forbes Magazine once listed Wayne on their list of the Richest “Fictional Fifteen” with a net worth of 6.5 billion dollars.

MORGAN FREEMAN as Lucius Fox and CHRISTIAN BALE as Bruce Waynecharlieanders2, Flickr

8. Who's laughing now?

When Jack Nicholson accepted the role of Joker in the 1989 film Batman, he accepted a pay cut on his salary in exchange for a share of merchandise sales. He pocketed 6 million dollars in salary for his acting. He pocketed an astounding 411 million dollars from merchandise sales.

Portrait Photo of the actor Jack Nicholson as The Joker Atom.D, Flickr

9. Bane’s Napoleon syndrome

The villain Bane is supposed to be 7 feet tall. Tom Hardy, who played Bane in the 2012 film Dark Knight Rises, is only 5’9. Hardy had to wear special boots just to see eye to eye with Christian Bale’s Batman. The boots had heel inserts that forced Hardy to stand on his tip toes.

Screenshot from the movie The Dark Knight Rises (2012)Warner, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)


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10. Been spending most he’s life, living in a Batman Paradise

Rapper Coolio (real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr.) is most famous for his hit Gangsta’s Paradise. However, he has also made numerous appearances in television and film. He had a brief cameo in the 1997 film Batman & Robin. Although it never happened, it was also rumoured that he was slated to play the villain Scarecrow in a subsequent film.

Photo of the Musician Coolio at The Great GoogaMooga FestivalTimothy Krause, Flickr


11. Batman the Welchman

Christian Bale is well known for his immersive method acting techniques. Bale, a Welchman, became so immersed in the Batman character for the Dark Knight Trilogy that he maintained his American accent while not on set. He even spoke like Bruce Wayne during promotional interviews.

Actor Christian Bale attends "The Dark Knight" Press Conference at Grand Hyatt TokyoAkihiro I, Getty Images

12. Solitary Confinement

Heath Ledger’s brilliant portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight required significant preparation, and Ledger went to great lengths to rehearse. In order to get into character Heath spent 6 weeks isolated in a motel room perfecting every aspect of the Joker’s character.

Film goers watch The Dark Knight featuring Heath Ledger during a public tribute outdoor movie night to the late actor at Burswood ParkPaul Kane, Getty Images

13. You don’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs

During a car chase scene in The Dark Knight, a mishap caused an IMAX camera to be destroyed. It was only one of four IMAX cameras of that type in the world. The cost of repairing that one camera was almost $500 000.

An IMAX camera that flew aboard a space shuttle is seen at the Moving Beyond Earth Gallery at the Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumNASA, Wikimedia Commons

14. You win some, you lose some, and then you REALLY lose some.

The film Batman and Robin was the first original Batman film to not receive a single academy award nomination. In fact, it was such a bad film that it as nominated for 11 Razzie awards, and prompted the director to issue an apology to fans. Part of the reason the film was so bad is because studio executives prioritized toy sales over film quality.

Overview of Oscar statues on display at "Meet the Oscars" at the Time Warner CenterAndrew H. Walker, Getty Images

15. Don’t drink and drive

The Batmobile was put to the test when filming Batman Begins. In between shooting scenes on the streets of Chicago a drunk, unlicensed driver crashed into the vehicle. Luckily, the car was not damaged.

Photography of the Batmobile at The Dark Knight European PremiereCristiano Betta, Flickr

16. Excuses, excuses

In 2011 a man was arrested for attempting to carjack an unmarked police cruiser. Since the crime took place in the same city that A Dark Knight Rises was being filmed, the clever criminal claimed that he was an actor. The police did not buy the excuse, and the man was arrested.

Photo of a man being arrested and packed into a patrol cargrendelkhan, Flickr


17. A bad omen

During the opening scene of Dark Knight Rises, a real plane was chartered to film the scene. That exact plane, an Embraer 110-P1 registered as ZS-NVB, crashed two years later in Botswana. There were no survivors.

Plane crash, crashed airplane, air accidentNomad_Soul, Shutterstock

18. Winning beyond the grave

Heath Ledger died shortly after completion of The Dark Knight. His performance earned him a total of 32 posthumous awards including an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

A screenshot of nominee actor Heath Ledger for the Male Actor in a Supporting Role award during the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild AwardsKevin Winter, Getty Images

19. Don’t be punny, it was for the money!

Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid 25 million dollars for his role as Mr. Freeze. Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mr. Freeze was famous for his bad jokes about the cold. He told a total of 27 puns during the film. That’s almost 1 million dollars per pun.

Screenshot from the movie Batman & Robin (1997)Warner, Batman & Robin (1997)

20. Mr. Popper would be proud!

The 1992 film Batman Returns featured a dozens of King Penguins. It cost over one million dollars to keep the penguins healthy and comfortable. The penguins also enjoyed the protection of 24/7 security service.

Photography of for King penguinsPollyDot, Pixabay

21. Don’t forget the doughnuts!

The Dark Knight featured actual off-duty police officers as extras. The film required so many extras that officers were recruited from all across the states to join the production.

Screenshot from the movie the Dark Knight (2008) Warner, The Dark Knight

22. Welcome, Wonder Woman!

The 2016 film Batman vs. Superman was the first time that Wonder Woman has been featured in a movie. The character was first created in 1941.

Screenshot from the movie Wonder Woman(2017)Warner, Wonder Woman(2017)


23. Stack ‘em up!

There have been more than 20 animated Batman films, but in 2017 the Batman franchise ventured into a bold new arena- Lego. The voice of Batman was played by Will Arnett, who is reprising his role from the original Lego Movie.

Lego Batman minifigure on Lego gray baseplate backgroundEkaterina_Minaeva, Shutterstock

24. The devil is in the details

The Dark Knight was filmed in Chicago. The Gotham City licence plates used in the film were directly modeled off of Illinois plates. This ensured that any licence plates that were inadvertently filmed would look like they belong.

Car with a Gotham license plate on the set of Suicide SquadRama Fayaz, Flickr

25. He wasn’t really missed.

The 1989 film Batman, directed by Tim Burton, ultimately did not feature Batman’s sidekick, Robin. However, before the decision to nix Robin was made, Eddie Murphy, Marlon Wayans, and Michael J. Fox were all considered for the role.

Tim Burton attends the world premiere of Netflix's "Wednesday" at Hollywood Legion TheaterLeon Bennett, Getty Images

26. Kevin who?

The role of Batman is most commonly associated with actors such as Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and Val Kilmer. However, the most frequent portrayal of Batman by any actor is actually Kevin Conroy. Conroy was the voice of Batman in 11 films.

Kevin Conroy speaking at the 2017 Phoenix ComiconGage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

27. Ground control to Major Joker

David Bowie was once considered to play Joker in the 1989 film Batman. Ultimately, the role went to Jack Nicholson.

Portrait Drawing of the musician and actor David BowieSCAPIN, Pixabay

28. Don’t be scared, he’s trying to be funny

Michael Caine played Bruce Wayne’s loyal ally Alfred in the Dark Knight Trilogy. The first time that Caine met Heath Ledger’s Joker was during one of the first days of rehearsal. Ledger’s acting was so scary that Caine forgot all his lines.

CHRISTIAN BALE as Bruce Wayne and MICHAEL CAINE as Alfred in “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES"charlieanders2, flickr

29. “Trust me, I’m just fine without him…”

Christian Bale is not a fan of Robin. Bale considered Robin to be such a lame character, that in 2008 he promised that he would never make another Dark Knight film if Robin was featured.

Christian Bale at the Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock

30. Grrrrr

The infamous growl performed by Christian Bale was much rougher in the Dark Knight film than Batman Begins (2005) and has been parodied countless times due to its extreme nature. However the common misconception is that Christian Bale was fully responsible for this voice. The real voice during filming was more toned down and then heightened to a rougher, grittier vibe during post-production under the decision of director Christopher Nolan.

Actor CHRISTIAN BALE at the Los Angeles premiere of his new movie Reign of Fire.Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock

31. Numba 1

The Dark Knight was the  first film to be ranked #1 on the IMDb within two days of its theatrical release.

Profile picture of Batman from the Batman: Arkham KnightStefans02, Flickr

32. I cant move

In the film, Bruce asks Lucius Fox for a new Batman suit with a head piece that is 'easier to look around in'. This is a comical reference to older Batman films in which the actors playing Batman wore a suit that had a solid head piece covering the head, neck and shoulders. This made it impossible for the actors to turn their heads and instead had to turn their entire torso to look at their targets.

A Batman costume from the 2005 Batman Begins film worn by Christian Bale and designed by Lindy Hemming is on display at the DC Comics Exhibition: Dawn Of Super HeroesJack Taylor, Getty Images

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14


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