The Evolution of the Summer Blockbuster

The Superhero Invasion: Part I

Superheroes have long been fodder for filmmakers, with one easily able to argue that Christopher Reeves’ first turn as Superman remains one of the best superhero films of all time—and certainly the best of the Superman restarts. (Nice try, Man of Steel.) But it was Tim Burton’s decidedly darker take on Batman in 1989 that sparked a renewed interest in capes and tights. The film’s $411 million worldwide box office take didn’t hurt interest in other comic book heroes who could make the leap to the big screen, The Rocketeer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Phantom among them.

Burton parted ways with the Caped Crusader after just two outings, passing the reins to Joel Schumacher, who made the franchise's lowest-grossing film: Batman & Robin. Criticized for being campy (and not in a good way) Schumacher’s cinematic disaster signaled an end to the run on superhero movies. At least for the moment.

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