1989's Batman turns 25 today, and it's obvious by now that it laid the groundwork for the comic book movie boom of the last two decades. However, back in its day, the movie was very much a hard sell, and there was no guarantee that it would even reach theaters. So in 1988, the studio had to create a 20-minute behind-the-scenes introspective to demonstrate to investors that this then-new take on the Caped Crusader could prove its worth in the market.
In an interview with fansite 1989Batman.com, the short's director Andrew Gillman admits that Warner Bros. found itself in a "difficult situation" after taking on the new Batman project. That situation originated with Adam West:
Warner Brothers had found themselves in a very difficult situation at the time. The marketing director at Warner told me that Adam West had been going to various media outlets stating that he should be Batman, that his Batman was the only true Batman, and that this dark thing that Warner was doing had nothing to do with Batman at all. This caused a problem for Warner Brothers because it created doubts in the minds of the film distributors and merchandisers around the world.
Thus, the studio had to go out of its way to prove that Tim Burton's vision — a grim, gothic take inspired by the darker Batman stories of the day — would prevail. Today's viewers are well aware that they succeeded, but this film gives a fascinating look at the care that went into making everything from Gotham City's overal design to the Batmobile seem as cool as possible. They even enlisted the likes of series creator Bob Kane himself to help sell the movie. Take a look.