Warner Archive Celebrates 'Batman: Mask of the Phantasm'26 Jul, 2017 By: John Latchem
The filmmakers behind Batman: Mask of the Phantasm gathered at San Diego Comic-Con International July 20 to celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the animated film.
The Warner Archive Collection July 25 released the film on Blu-ray for the first time.
The film, a spinoff of “Batman: The Animated Series,” was released in cinemas on Christmas 1993. “Batman: The Animated Series,” which began in 1992, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
According to producer Bruce Timm, the film was originally storyboarded with the intent of it being a direct-to-video release in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The decision to make it a theatrical feature caused some challenges but the animators were able to change gears to make it widescreen.
The film tells the story of Batman dealing with a new threat to Gotham City, and how it relates to an incident in his past when Bruce Wayne was on the verge of first becoming Batman, and almost gave up his vow to fight crime because he was falling in love.
Timm recalled that some studio executives found the flashback structure to be confusing and requested a version told in chronological order. When the filmmakers complied, the studio realized the request made no sense.
Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman, called Batman: Mask of the Phantasm “the best Batman movie.”
Timm lamented that Warner didn’t advertise the film’s release, resulting in a box office tally of just $5.6 million. In fact, when the film came out on home video film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert finally reviewed it on their TV show and apologized for missing it in theaters. They gave it two thumbs up.