Batman Returns (To Wacky Fast Food Promotions)
He is vengeance, he is the night, he is … a big proponent of greasy globs of hastily-prepared food. Yes, The Batman is coming to movie theatres in less than two months, and we're already getting a Dark Knight-themed fast-food tie-in. This time it's with Little Caesars, who have just released a bat-shaped pizza/calzone hybrid guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of anyone who doesn't eat dairy.
Though, to be fair, it apparently looks slightly less magnificently bat-like in person.
It may seem odd that this three-hour emo take on Batman would get its own novelty pizza, but the franchise has a long-standing history of collaborating with fast food companies. Like how, despite the fact that a single bite of their Burrito Supreme would probably undo all his years of rigorous Ninja training, Batman partnered with Taco Bell in 1989. And it was a big deal at the time, essentially kicking off the modern era of fast food movie promotions, as they sold more than 20 million collector cups, and multiple Taco Bell locations even had to contend with rabid fans stealing Batman cardboard cutouts.
When McDonald's tried to get in on the action with a Batman Returns Happy Meal, the film's grotesque content prompted a massive backlash and pretty much ended the Tim Burton Batman era. The series' next installment, Batman Forever, was far more charitable to the fast-food industry, featuring lines of dialogue that even Roger Ebert pointed out were almost certainly created in collaboration with the McDonald's marketing department – specifically the moment in which Bruce tells Alfred that he'll "get drive-thru," which was unsurprisingly used in McDonald's commercials.
McDonald's owned up to the intense participation, acknowledging that after the Batman Returns protests, they had "reviewed the script very closely." And even though Batman Forever didn't feature any horny mutant sewer men, McDonald's opted for a more "adult" promotion – which meant, instead of Happy Meal toys, we got collectible glasses. Not plastic cups, mind you, actual classy as hell glasses featuring depictions of the characters "chiseled in high-quality glass," perfect for holding either 1959 Dom Perignon or room temperature Sprite.
Even the Nolan movies had fast food tie-ins. More than a decade after parents freaked the hell out about the Batman Returns Happy Meal, Hungry Jack's, the Australian version of Burger King, released a Kids Club Meal for The Dark Knight – a movie in which a killer clown rams a pencil into a mobster's skull just for the hell of it.
So weird food promotions have always been a part of this franchise … let's just hope that The Batman doesn't include a conveniently-placed scene in which the Bat-Signal breaks down and Commissioner Gordon has to send the Caped Crusader a sloppy mess of vaguely bat-shaped bread and cheese in order to solicit his help.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter!
Top Image: Warner Bros./Little Caesars