Who is your favorite Batman? For the better part of three decades, many fans have picked Kevin Conroy’s incomparable Dark Knight from Batman: The Animated Series. That show redefined Batman for a generation and led to what may be his greatest animated film: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. In less than a year, the team behind Batman: The Animated Series was able to bring Mask of the Phantasm to the big screen. Unfortunately, their hard work was rewarded with a Christmas Day release in 1993 with little promotion.
Mask of the Phantasm may have been a box-office bomb, but it found its audience on home video and quickly became a classic. Famed movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert even apologized for not catching it in theaters before singing the praises of Mask of the Phantasm. Now, in SYFY WIRE’s latest Batman at 80 video, screenwriters Paul Dini and Alan Burnett and co-director Eric Radomski share the story behind Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
In some ways, the Batman team were victims of their own success. Their work on the TV show and the early development of the film gave someone at Warner Bros. the idea to upgrade the project from a direct-to-video movie into a theatrical release.
“Suddenly, the heat is on Batman, in a very good way,” recalled Dini. “We started work on the story that would become Mask of the Phantasm, and we got into it, [but] the crew was kind of stretched to its limits.”
The creative team also spoke about their story choices in the film, which included introducing a lost love for Bruce Wayne, and a new villain whose quest for vengeance mirrored the Batman's himself.
For all of those details, check out the entire video!