Batman Movie Shut Down By Warner Bros. Discovery Because Of Michael Keaton

Kevin Smith says that Warner Bros. Discovery recently blocked his screening of Batman Returns, presumably to build hype for his upcoming appearance in The Flash.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

michael keaton batman

Kevin Smith recently scheduled a screening of 1992’s Batman Returns starring Michael Keaton at his theater Smodcastle Cinemas in New Jersey, but Warner Bros Discovery blocked the screening. It’s a bit strange, considering the movie is widely available, but it seems like the blocked screening is to build up hype for seeing Keaton in the upcoming The Flash movie. Geekosity reported on Smith’s explanation of the situation, where he said “because of the Flash movie coming up…Warner Bros. put a cease, not a cease-and-desist, you can’t do Michael Keaton Batman,” adding “They’re saving it for like June, I guess.”

While this technically makes sense, it is a bit weird to block one screening at one theater in the entire country. If you really wanted to see Batman Returns, you could watch the Michael Keaton-led film at home right now. The Tim Burton classic is available to watch on Warner Bros Discovery’s own HBO Max streaming service.

It seems like they want to preserve the magic of seeing Michael Keaton return as Batman on the big screen by making sure his character doesn’t show up on any big screens this year at all. It’s certainly an odd choice, but Warner Bros Discovery has made plenty of odd choices lately. We would have seen his Batman again in the Batgirl movie, but that was completely scrapped, preventing yet another appearance from Michael Keaton in the new DCU.

However, we do know for sure that Batman will appear in the upcoming The Flash movie, so it seems like fans will just have to wait until then to see Michael Keaton in the role. The movie will actually give us a double dose of Batman since Ben Affleck will also be reprising his role in the film. Still, The Flash isn’t coming until June so that’s a long time to wait.

batman michael keaton
Michael Keaton in the upcoming Flash movie

Perhaps Warner Bros Discovery is planning on doing a theatrical re-release of Batman Returns of their own to drum up hype for seeing Michael Keaton again. And maybe they just blocked Kevin Smith’s screening since he’s jumping the gun on their plans. In either case, it seems like Smith is just going to have to hold off on screening the film.

The Flash is set to come out in June of this year and it is reportedly going to be a big reset for the DCU. With James Gunn and Peter Safran taking over, it seems like they’ll be using the film to kick off their grand plans and do a hard reboot of the ongoing DC storyline. Batman has been a part of the film since before Gunn came on board, and Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck were always a big part of the movie, so it’s unclear how much Gunn has changed to fit his plans.

One thing we do know for sure is that a major cameo for Henry Cavill’s Superman was cut since Cavill was exited from the DCU. It appears that the film remains largely the same otherwise, but we’ll just have to wait and see. You can see Batman, both the Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck versions, along with Ezra Miller, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Kiersey Clemons, and more when The Flash hits theaters on June 16.