DC and Warner Bros.’ The Flash, directed by Andy Muschietti, generated significant buzz, largely driven by its multitude of cameo appearances featuring well-known actors who have previously starred in DC superhero films throughout the years. DC fans were beyond delighted to witness Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, and George Clooney portray their respective versions of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the same film, alongside the appearance of Nicolas Cage as Superman. However, director Tim Burton expressed in a recent interview that he did not share the same enthusiasm for these cameos.
Tim Burton is upset that The Flash used his versions of DC classic characters, including Michael Keaton’s Batman and Nicolas Cage’s Superman.
After the success of Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman, which starred Michael Keaton as the iconic character, Warner Bros. enlisted the director for another project a few years later called Superman Lives. This film, intended to feature Nicolas Cage as the Kryptonian hero, unfortunately never materialized due to creative differences between Burton and Warner Bros.
During a conversation with the British Film Institute, the director said he doesn’t harbor any regrets regarding the experience. However, memories of the experience resurfaced when his versions of Batman and Superman made appearances in The Flash.
During the same interview, Tim Burton drew unfavorable comparisons to the current practice of reimagining films and characters using AI technology. He expressed his strong disapproval of the decision to “misappropriate” his portrayals of the two characters, especially criticizing Nicolas Cage’s Superman, which was primarily a CGI creation that felt overly synthetic and plasticky.
Furthermore, he voiced his defiance against such practices, emphasizing that even though one may be “a slave of Disney or Warner Brothers,” these studios possess the freedom to do as they please, leading him to quietly rebel against it all in his later years of life.
The CGI used to produce Nicolas Cage’s Superman was, to Tim Burton, especially egregious due to how fake it looked on the screen.
Considering Tim Burton’s remarks during his interview with the British Film Institute, it wouldn’t be surprising if he felt a sense of satisfaction when The Flash underperformed at the box office over the summer. With a staggering production budget of $300 million, the film struggled to reach $268 million in global earnings. Moreover, it left theaters with the unfortunate distinction of being the biggest flop in superhero cinema history.
In contrast, Tim Burton’s Batman made a monumental impact when it hit theaters more than three decades ago, becoming a massive box office success. Despite its modest budget of $35 million, the film raked in an impressive $411.5 million worldwide. Up until the release of Spider-Man in 2002, Batman held the record for being the highest-grossing superhero film of all time.
Tim Burton will ultimately get the last laugh, as his 1989 Batman movie made $411 million at the box office, even without considering inflation; that’s more than what The Flash earned in 2023.
Despite Batman Returns, also directed by Tim Burton and released in 1992, not achieving the same level of box office success as its predecessor, it still managed to deliver profitability for Warner Bros.
Having been produced with a budget of $80 million, the film went on to amass approximately $267 million in global box office earnings, solidifying its position as a financial triumph, even though it fell short of the first film’s numbers. The substantial profits amassed by both Batman films clearly justified Warner Bros.’s decision to approach Burton for a new Superman project, despite the unfortunate fact that the endeavor never materialized.