Tim Burton, after bringing Batman and Gotham City to life in the 1989 Michael Keaton-led film, was once contacted to direct an origin superhero movie, but not under the same banner.
As we know, Burton didn’t come back for a threequel, and neither did Keaton. In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Burton revealed what had exactly happened, that he decided to leave the franchise.
Prior to the release of Batman Returns in 1992, fast food chain McDonald’s entered into a deal with Warner Bros. to promote the film. Burton said that they didn’t enjoy the violence and darkness of the film, which led the studios to evict him eventually.
Later down the road, according to a Variety report, Sony Pictures had approached Burton to establish a character that had been in development for a decade and a half. It was the $825 million Spider-Man (2002) which, ultimately went to Sam Raimi.
Tim Burton Turned Down Spider-Man
To mark the 20th anniversary of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man last year, Variety sat down with the studio and collaborative execs to discuss the foundation of Marvel films without which, as the publication noted, the studio wouldn’t have been this big.
David Koepp, who wrote Spider-Man’s screenplay, revealed that the studios went to discuss the possibility with Tim Burton.
“I remember Amy [Pascal] telling me that they’d met with Tim Burton, who in the meeting said, ‘I guess I’m just a DC guy,’ which seems like someone who’s not really trying hard to get the job.”
Raimi, on the other hand, was given only an hour to pitch his idea. Had Burton signed the deal, Raimi would have had an entirely different career path.
Warner Bros. And McDonald’s Humiliated Tim Burton
McDonald’s, according to Burton, looked to woo the kids with their Happy Meal toys. After the brand execs watched the film, they started receiving letters from parents accusing them of having “no conscience.”
Burton weighed in on what really happened —
“I think I upset McDonald’s. 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,” he told Yahoo.
Keaton and Tim Burton are reuniting for the second installment of his comedy hit – Beetlejuice (1988).