The Best Batman Movie Is Finally Getting The Love It Deserves

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Your angel of death awaits… In 4K! The animated classic Batman: Mask of the Phantasm will be available September 12, 2023 in high fidelity thanks to a new 4K Ultra HD disc release. The film comes in a stunning package that updates its iconic artwork with a moody splash of the film’s key characters.

The updated release comes just ahead of the 30th anniversary of Mask of the Phantasm, which was released in theaters on Christmas Day, 1993. Its initial home release was on LaserDisc and VHS, with DVD following a few years after, and a Blu-Ray release in 2017. With the 4K treatment, the film will look better than ever.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was the first movie based on the classic Batman: The Animated Series, featuring Kevin Conroy as Batman.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm exists in the world of Batman: The Animated Series, the acclaimed take on the Caped Crusader that ran from 1992-1995. The show’s success led to Warner Bros. commissioning a film, which was unexpectedly shifted to a theatrical release at the start of production. The entire project was completed in only eight months on a $6 million budget.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Mask of the Phantasm follows Batman as he is framed for the murders of several key mob members. The actual killer is a vigilante assassin called the Phantasm, a grim reaper-like character who appears to materialize and vanish out of smoke.

As Batman tries to track down the Phantasm, he also contends with the arrival of his ex-fiancé, Andrea Beaumont, who has returned to Gotham. A series of flashbacks unravel Bruce Wayne’s doomed love affair with Andrea, her late father’s connection to the mob, and his own transformation into the Dark Knight.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the only animated Batman film to get a full theaterical release, earning nearly $6 million at the box office.

Mask of the Phantasm stars Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, and Dana Delaney as Andrea. The film was written by Batman: The Animated Series writers Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, and Michael Reaves. It was directed by BTAS co-creators Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm.

When it hit theaters, Mask of the Phantasm flopped with a $5.8 million total. The filmmakers blamed the failure on Warner Bros.’ late decision to push the movie theatrically. When it was released to the home video market, the film finally turned a profit.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Mask of the Phantasm has cemented itself as a cult classic. The film continued to push the boundary of how deep a story aimed at kids could be. Many fans and critics regard it as one of the best Batman films ever made, with many placing only The Dark Knight ahead of it.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was the first of three highly successful animated films, including Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Its dark, psychologically rich story is told with stylish animation, brilliant performances, and an epic score from BTAS composer Shirley Walker. The score also features Hans Zimmer, the composer of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, playing the synthesizer.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was followed by animated Batman films like Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. The early animated Batman films paved the way for a massive catalog of DC animated movies, many of which continue to rival their live action counterparts.

The Batman of yesterday meets the world of the future with the 4K UHD release of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm this September. The animated classic is available for pre-order online at DC Shop and is streaming now on Max.