Batman Returns’ Darker Gotham Ruined a McDonald’s Tie

Many fans saw the Batman franchise go dark and gritty with Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy. However, things got dark much sooner than that, thanks to Tim Burton. After a successful first Batman film with Michael Keaton as Caped Crusader, Burton followed with Return of Batman, a film that made the entire franchise as dark as night. It wasn’t dark like in the realist Black Knight, yet. This film was dark in the fantasy definition of the term, and it got so bad it created trouble with its advertising sponsor McDonald’s.


When Return of Batman came out, it took a lot of people by surprise. The film was much darker than the first film. And while Joker killed several people before Batman stopped him in the 1989 film, the violence in the second film was greater. Penguin murdered a woman in cold blood by throwing her off a roof and Batman couldn’t save her. Catwoman also gave Max Shreck a big kiss before electrocuting him, frying him in a disgusting moment. However, some black goops caused McDonald’s to stop promoting the film.

RELATED: Batman Returns Aged Worse Than Batman & Robin


Batman Returns Disgusted McDonald’s

Fans have often wondered why Tim Burton quit after Return of Batman. But for those wondering what the movies would have looked like had Burton stayed on board, the answer is probably underwhelming. Everything would have changed, and Burton left because he knew it. He fought with producers and Warner Bros. because he wanted to make an even better movie than the first one, and they wanted something that could help them sell toys and endorsement deals. One of the sponsors was McDonald’s, and when that company complained about Return of Batmanthis allowed Burton to leave the franchise.

But the biggest complaint wasn’t Penguin killing the woman or Catwoman’s sexualized actions with Batman. While the Dove Foundation sent letters to McDonald’s accusing them of promoting violence to sell Return of Batman Happy Meals, the restaurant had another problem with the film. At one point, black slime began to come out of Penguin’s mouth in a visually disgusting moment. Burton said yahoo in 2014“I think I upset McDonald’s. [They asked] ‘What’s that black stuff coming out of the Penguin’s mouth. You can’t sell Happy Meals with that!'” McDonald’s walked away from the film, but continued to sell Happy Meals and toys.

RELATED: Why Batman Returns Is Still the Most Iconic Comic Book Movie 30 Years Later

Batman Returns’ Backlash helped create Batman & Robin

The backlash had an unexpected response. Most fans see batman and robin as the worst Batman movie ever made. Although it had its supporters, the film was a bit over the top and comedic for those who fell in love with the two Tim Burton films. It all started with batman forever, which wasn’t quite as crazy and colorful as the fourth film, but still added plenty of lighthearted action as Warner Bros. moved decisively away from Burton’s dark storylines and atmosphere. While Two-Face killed with a laugh, it was all done comedically, with Tommy Lee Jones pounding it.

Warner Bros. realized the importance of Happy Meals and action figure sales and did not want to alienate business partners or parent groups. Selling movie tickets wasn’t as important as selling toys anymore, so Batman became more family-friendly after the Return of Batman controversial. In preparation for a special broadcast on batman and robinChris O’Donnell said he felt like he was doing a big toy commercial, and that’s pretty much what it was, thanks to Penguin’s black slime.

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