Friday, September 26, 2014

Special Feature:
The Batman Returns Production Still Gallery
Part 2- Gotham City

Note- Part 1 of the Batman Returns Production Still Gallery was simply a re-posting of the design artwork previously included in the Batman '89 galleries. You did not miss a post if you previously viewed the other installments! :)

Fellow fan Thorsten Lehmann and I recently acquired a rather large collection of fantastic imagery created during the filming of Batman '89 & Batman Returns. Much of this imagery consists of still photography created for publicizing the film. These images appeared in trade articles, merchandise like the Topps card set & movie souvenir magazine, and in video packages like the Warner Preview video. Some images from the collection you may have seen before (perhaps not with such clarity), while others appear to be unpublished up to this point. :)

Since there are a LARGE number of images, I thought it best to break them down into related sections. Today's Batman Returns gallery post features pictures of the Bo Welch-designed Gotham City in various states- From early construction to the final version seen in the film.

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One of the most interesting finds amongst these pics is a piece of the set never seen in the film! Looking back at the original Daniel Waters script, a shop stocked with Batman merchandise was originally going to be used in the opening sequence of the film. Here is the scene from the script:

FROM OUT OF THE DARKNESS OF THE OPENING CREDITS WE GO TO...

EXT. A STORE--EARLY EVENING OF THE CURRENT ERA

Where the Batman logo fills the frame with a portentous soundtrack boom. A playful salvo of snowballs reverberates against this image as the logo is revealed to be a hanging centerpiece in the window of a Batman merchandising store, along with Batman sleds, lunch boxes, T-shirts, and ticking clocks...

The shop is later destroyer by the Fire-breather in the script, which was changed to a standard department store in the film (though it appears that the Batman store set was simply re-dressed as evidenced by the production stills featuring the Fire-breather above):

EXT. THE PLAZA--NIGHT

A FIRE BREATHER smashes open a big hole in the Batman Store display window with his Fire-rod. He sticks his rod in his mouth, then bellows a cloud of flame onto the Batman merchandise.

Shown here for the very first time is that Batman store set piece- Fully completed as part of Gotham City! The store is even stocked with real Batman merchandise, including the arcade game with a picture of Bruce Wayne clearly visible! Good thing Penguin never stopped in this shop... The secret would have been out for sure. :)

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Note the Batman sleds hanging in the window of that last shot. They are mentioned twice in the Daniel Waters script. First in a sequence that was originally part of the opening segment:

Meeting up before a bustling department store called SHRECK'S, an AGGRESSIVELY ALL-AMERICAN DAD holds up a bowed Batman sled to an ALL-AMERICAN MOM. An ALL-AMERICAN SON rushes up causing All-American Dad to exaggeratedly hide the present behind his back to the sweetly hooting delight of All-American Mom.

...and again later when the Strong-man tosses it into the windshield of Gordon's police car:

EXT. THE PLAZA--NIGHT

The Batman sled slams against a police car windshield. A disgruntled COMMISSIONER GORDON sputters out into his radio...

The sequence with the Strong-man tossing a sled still appears in the film, but in the final version it is just a regular sled.

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With the Batman-store set fully built & stocked, it would be interesting to find out how many sequences were filmed with it before the Batman-merchandising segment of the script was removed & it was altered to the version destroyed by the Fire-breather in the final film!

11 comments:

  1. You are amazing! Thanks so much for posting all of this wonderful content!

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  2. Now we know where he gets those wonderful toys.

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  3. That's how penguin got his flippers on the mini Batmobile

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  4. wait what??? there's an ROBIN action figure in that shot!!!!!
    he wasnt even introduced till the NEXT movie!!!!

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    1. Marlon Wayans was originally cast as Robin. They made changes to the script because they felt his introduction was convoluted. The big top scenes were moved from the BR script and re-used in Batman Forever almost verbatim. The shop was omitted from the final cut because, while it was funny, splintered the action sequence. Also, even if Robin had been kept in the film, the toy in that shop would have been before his character had even been introduced. Note that both Marlon Wayans and Billy Dee Williams were under a pay-or-play contract, both earning millions to essentially, not be in the film. Marlon Wayans had gone through costuming for his Robin suit though I am not sure prototype images have surfaced. From what I understand that's the farthest the Robin character got in pre-production, was the costume fitting.

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  5. That would explain how the Penguin got the blueprints to the Batmobile and figured out how to get around the Bat-shields.
    I have ALWAYS wondered about that!!!!!!!!

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    ReplyDelete