Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1989 Batman Film's 20th Birthday!

I just wanted to take a moment to recognize the 20th birthday of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film. The film was released in theaters 20 years ago, today.... June 23, 1989.

Most older Bat-fans remember the summer of 1989 like it was only a couple of years ago. "Batmania" swept the USA (and the world) like almost never before (the "Bat Craze" of the late 1960's was huge, as well) and we are still riding the wave of Batman fandom that was started that year. For example, in the time leading up to the first 1989 Batman film, Batman toys and collectibles were fairly scarce. Mego had produced figures in the 1970s and Kenner produced a Batman figure as part of their Super Powers toy line. That was about it.

Since 1989 and the release of the first Batman film, there have been hundreds and hundreds of different Batman figures, toys, and collectibles produced. The Batman license has remained very strong and has benefited from many other films and animated versions of Batman. That's 20 years of an almost constant flow of Batman toys and merchandise.

The marketing for the Batman film in 1989 was a bit haphazard in comparison to the well-orchestrated movie marketing campaigns of today. The Batman collectibles of 1989 most often rode the fence between depicting Batman as he looked in comics of the time and also as he looked in the film with his new all-black Bat suit. At times, Batman was depicted as an odd amalgamation of the two looks. 1989 was definitely a big transition year for the Dark Knight and what fans would come to tolerate in updating and changing Batman's costume.

For the next week or so, I'll be posting mostly Batman items to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of this now-classic film.


  1. That means I was sleepy 20 years ago today because my wife and I went to the midnight release the night before or same day, something.

    It was fun to be with other true fans. To hear them cheer when the camera pulled back to show the Bat-logo. Yeah I cheered with them! Yeah!!!!

    Wow, time sure flies.

  2. I'm with you on that. I DO remember it like it was yesterday. The theater I saw it at opening day has now been turned into an Irish pub called The Shannon Rose. I actually liked Batman's costume when they made it black, but I have more of a hard time getting used to Bale's realistic, armored bat-suit and helmet. Don't get me wrong, I still love the new films but 1989 will always hold a major place for me. I just throw on Prince's bat-soundtrack on my ipod and it brings me right back. It was such a great, exciting time to be a Bat-fan. I bought up all the cool bat-stuff since it was EVERYWHERE!!! can't wait for your future posts here so I can celebrate the week with you!

  3. Twenty years flew by, to celebrate I broke out the DVD and watched it with my wife, we went to the opening night here all those years ago. One of my favorite and most memorable movie nights we shared. I remember all the details of the day.

    The Batman you have pictured, is that the foreign "mego like" release from 89? I always meant to get one for my collection, your picture makes it look much cooler than the ones on ebay : )

  4. Hey, Everybody....sorry to drop the ball this past week. It's been a busy week and I've been out-of-town with my family. I'll try to get some vintage Batman toy posts up in the next day or so.

    Chunky B...Yep! That is the foreign release from 89. You're right, it does look much sillier without the more dramatic camera angle. I'll do a post on him as he's definitely a "nod" to the old Mego figures.

  5. Brian, thanks for the reply I can't wait to see more 89' Batman and that foreign release in it's own post. I still have to hunt me one down, no matter how silly it is.