Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki


Batman Returns (Trailer)

Batman Returns is a 1992 feature film directed and produced by Tim Burton, and the first sequel to the 1989 film Batman, starring Michael Keaton reprising his role as the titular superhero. Christmas is involved in several major plot points in the film, such as the lighting of the Christmas Tree, the Penguin's challenge, and the significance of mistletoe in Batman and Catwoman's relationship. It won the 1993 Saturn Award for Best Make-Up.


SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.

The film opens on the mansion of the wealthy Cobblepots during Christmastime. Esther Cobblepot gives birth to a deformed child. They regarded him as a monster, and locked the child in a cage until finally, on Christmas Eve, they took him to a park and threw the his bassinet into the river to be swept away and flushed down into the sewers. The sewer exit finally leads underneath the Gotham Zoo's penguin exhibit, where he is found by a flock of penguins.

Gotham celebrating Christmas.

33 years later, it is revealed that the child was raised by the penguins and lived in the sewer, and was now existing as a sort of crypid beast to the inhabitants of Gotham City. As the Mayor and his assistants light the Christmas tree in Gotham Square, businessman Max Shreck proposes his ideas for a new power plant to his board of directors, while verbally abusing his clumsy secretary, Selina Kyle. He goes down to join in the tree lighting ceremony, only for the Penguin to send in a crime syndicate known as the Red Triangle Circus gang to cause anarchy. Batman is summoned, and Bruce Wayne suits up and rides out.

Batman arrives and fights off the gang. However, Shreck is whisked to the sewer, where he meets the Penguin and the Red Triangle Circus Gang. The Penguin requests that Shreck help reintroduce him into society. He refuses at first, but the Penguin blackmails him with knowledge of his criminal actions.

Shreck returns to his office to find Selina Kyle discovering the secret to his proposed power plant: that it will suck energy away from the city instead of providing it, raising costs and putting the city under Shreck's control. Shreck pushes Selina out of a window to kill and silence her. She survives, but finally snaps. She returns to her apartment and destroys the remains of her past self, swearing justice and revenge on Shreck by becoming the violent criminal vigilante Catwoman.

The Penguin finally makes his presence known by "saving" the Mayor's baby in a staged kidnapping attempt, and requests access to the Hall of Records to find out who his birth parents are. However, Bruce Wayne suspects that the Penguin is up to no good. He also meets Selina, and they feel an immediate attraction to each other.

Catwoman and Batman under the mistletoe.

Shreck convinces the Penguin to use his gang to wreck havoc across the city, discrediting the Mayor and running for mayor himself. Penguin agrees, but all of his gang's violence is put to an end by Batman's intervention. During one attempt, the Penguin finally comes face-to-face with Batman, and the two realize that the other is bigger threat than previously thought. During this time, Catwoman attacks and destroys one of Shreck's department stores, causing Batman to go after her. They fight, with Batman noting the mistletoe hanging above them. He says that mistletoe can be deadly if eaten, to which Catwoman responds that a kiss can be deadlier. They finish the fight and Catwoman loses, though she gets away.

Catwoman, knowing of Penguin's criminal actions and wanting revenge on Batman, suggests they team up to defame and discredit Batman so that the Mayor will not be able to rely on him anymore. The Penguin challenges the Mayor to relight the Christmas tree, but kidnaps the "Ice Princess" who was set to flip the switch. As Batman searches for her, the Penguin kills her and frames Batman for it. Meanwhile, the Circus Gang hack into the Batmobile, putting it under the Penguin's control. As Batman flees from the scene of the crime, the Penguin forces his Batmobile to wreck havoc across the city. Batman fixes the issue and escapes, recording some of Penguin's taunts about the people of Gotham. However, the Penguin meets with Catwoman and romantically advances on her. When she denies him, he betrays and tries to kill her, though both escape.

The next day, Batman sabotages one of Penguin's mayoral campaign speeches by playing the villain's incriminating thoughts on the cityfolk over the loudspeakers. With his public image now destroyed, the Penguin fires on the citizens and flees to his lair in the sewers. He then instructs his gang to engage in their new mission that he planned from the beginning: kidnap all the first born male sons of Gotham and bring them back to the sewer for him to kill, exacting his revenge for his abandonment as a child.

At one of Shreck's Christmas balls, Bruce and Selina end up under mistletoe. Selina notes that it can be deadly if eaten, and Bruce responds that a kiss can be deadlier. Realizing each other's secret identities, they attempt to leave, but the Penguin arrives to kidnap Shreck's son. Shreck offers himself in his son's place, and the Penguin agrees and takes him instead.

Bruce changes to Batman and stops all of the Circus Gang's kidnappings. Enraged, the Penguin attempts one last attack, where weaponized penguins will attack Gotham with missiles and destroy the city. Batman manages to reach the sewers and jam the signal controlling the penguins, causing them to turn back. Batman confronts the Penguin, and the ensuing fight throws the Penguin into the sewer's toxic water. Shreck is confronted by Catwoman, who intends to kill him. Batman tries to talk her out of it, but she denies him and electrocutes both herself and Shreck with a live wire and a taser. Batman finds Shreck's remains, but is unable to find Selina's. The Penguin tries to kill Batman again, but succumbs to his injuries and the toxic water and dies.


Following the fight, Bruce is driven home by his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, when he thinks he sees Catwoman's silhouette. However, he only finds her cat, whom he adopts. Alfred wishes his master a Merry Christmas right before the Bat-Signal flashes in the sky, and a still-alive Catwoman looks on.

Spoilers end here.


The poster for the film's theatrical release.

After the success of Batman, Warner Bros. was hoping for a sequel to start filming in May 1990 at Pinewood Studios, and spent $250,000 storing the sets from the first film. Tim Burton originally did not want to direct another Batman film, saying "I will return if the sequel offers something new and exciting. Otherwise it's a most-dumbfounded idea." Burton decided to direct Edward Scissorhands for 20th Century Fox. Meanwhile, Sam Hamm delivered the first two drafts of the script, while Bob Kane was brought back as a creative consultant. Hamm's script had the Penguin and Catwoman going after hidden treasure.

Burton was impressed with Daniel Waters' work on Heathers; Burton originally brought Waters aboard on a sequel to Beetlejuice. Warner Bros. then granted Burton a large amount of creative control. Denise Di Novi and Burton became the film's producers. The first film's producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber became executive producers, joining Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan. Dissatisfied with the Hamm script, Burton commissioned a rewrite from Waters. Waters "came up with a social satire that had an evil mogul backing a bid for the Mayor's office by the Penguin", Waters reported. "I wanted to show that the true villains of our world don't necessarily wear costumes." The subplot of the Penguin running for Mayor came from the 1960s Batman TV series episodes "Hizzoner the Penguin" and "Dizzoner the Penguin". Waters wrote a total of five drafts.

On the characterization of Catwoman, Waters explained "Sam Hamm went back to the way comic books in general treat women, like fetishy sexual fantasy. I wanted to start off just at the lowest point in society, a very beaten down secretary." Harvey Dent appeared in early drafts of the script, but was deleted; his becoming Two-Face would have appeared in the climax when Catwoman kisses him with a taser to the face, which was replaced with Max Shreck. Waters quoted, "Sam Hamm definitely planned that. I flirted with it, having Harvey start to come back and have one scene of him where he flips a coin and it's the good side of the coin, deciding not to do anything, so you had to wait for the next movie." In early scripts Max Shreck was the "golden boy" of the Cobblepot family, while the Penguin was the deformed outsider, and Shreck would be revealed as the Penguin's long-lost brother. Shreck was named after actor Max Schreck, known for his role as Count Orlok in Nosferatu.


The film was released in America on June 19, 1992, earning $45.69 million in 2,644 theaters on its opening weekend. This was the highest opening weekend in 1992 and the highest opening weekend of any film up to that point. It went on to gross $162.83 million in North America, and $104 million in foreign countries, coming to a worldwide total of $266.83 million. It was the third highest-grossing film in America of 1992, and sixth highest in worldwide totals.

Home video releases


Score album

The film's soundtrack contained two discs and a total of 17 tracks consisting of the original score composed by Danny Elfman, who won the 1993 BMI Film Music Award, and songs used in promotional material for the film.

  1. "Birth of a Penguin/Main Title" – 5:38
  2. "Penguin Spies" – 1:09
  3. "Shadow of Doom/Clown Attack/Introducing the Bat" – 5:01
  4. "Intro/The Zoo/The Lair" – 6:00
  5. "Caught in the Act/Uh-Oh Max" – 1:58
  6. "Kitty Party/Selina Transforms" – 5:30
  7. "Penguin's Grand Deed" – 1:50
  8. "The List Begins" – 0:45
  9. "The Cemetery" – 2:56
  10. "Catwoman Saves Joan/The New Woman" – 2:03
  11. "Penguin's Surprise" – 1:43
  12. "Bad, Bad Dog/Batman vs. Circus/Selina's Shopping Spree" – 5:42
  13. "Cat Chase" – 2:12
  14. "Candidate Cobblepot" – 0:58
  15. "The Plan/Kidnapping" – 2:32)
  16. "Sore Spots/Batman's Closet" – 3:22
  17. "The Plot Unfolds" – 1:15
  18. "Roof Top Encounters" – 4:49
  19. "Batman's Wild Ride" – 4:19
  20. "Fall from Grace" – 4:17
  21. "Revealed/Party Crasher" – 3:18
  22. "Umbrella Source/The Children's Hour/War" – 7:53
  23. "Final Confrontation/Finale" – 9:15
  24. "A Shadow of Doubt/End Credits" – 6:15
  25. "Face to Face" by Siouxsie and the Banshees – 4:18
  26. "Super Freak" – 3:23


  • The film was listed in Time magazine's "11 Christmas Movies You Didn't Know Were Christmas Movies" article (alongside Die Hard, Gremlins, and Edward Scissorhands), explaining how many audiences miss the heavy ties to Christmas under the film's dark and brooding mood.
  • Michael Keaton earned $11 million for reprising his role as Batman, as director Tim Burton figured that he deserved it.


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Actor/actress Character(s)
Michael Keaton Batman/Bruce Wayne
Danny DeVito The Penguin
Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman/Selina
Christopher Walken Max Shreck
Michael Gough Alfred
Michael Murphy Mayor
Cristi Conaway Ice Princess
Andrew Bryniarski Chip
Pat Hingle Commissioner Gordon
Vincent Schiavelli Organ Grinder
Steve Witting Josh
Jan Hooks Jen
John Strong Sword Swallower
Rick Zumwalt Tattooed Strongman
Anna Katarina Poodle Lady
Gregory Cummins Acrobat Thug #1
Erika Andersch Knifethrower Dame
Travis McKenna Fat Clown
Doug Jones Thin Clown
Branscombe Richmond
Anthony De Longis (uncredited)
Terrifying Clowns
Paul Reubens Penguin's Father
Diane Salinger Penguin's Mother
Stuart Lancaster Penguin's Doctor
Cal Hoffman Happy Man
Joan Jurige Happy Woman
Rosie O'Connor Adorable Little Girl
Sean M. Whalen Paperboy
Erik Oñate Aggressive Reporter
Joey DePinto Shreck Security Guard
Steven Brill
Neal Lerner
Ashley Tillman
Elizabeth Sanders
Henry Kingi Mugger
Joan Giammarco Female Victim
Lisa Coles Volunteer Bimbo
Frank DiElsi
Biff Yeager
Robert Gossett TV Anchorman
Adam Drescher Crowd Member
Robert N. Bell
Susan Rossitto
Margarita Fernandez
Denise Killpack
Felix Silla
Debbie Carrington
Emperor Penguins
Niki Botelho Emperor Penguin
Baby Penguin
Uncredited actors
Cheryl Chambers Reporter
Darla (Dog; uncredited) Ratty Poodle
Flame Snake Woman
Sverre Holmbakken Skumlepetter
Mr. Peter McFrightening
Tyler House Kidnapped Boy
Jeff Langton Clown
Richard Lawrence Shreck Shopper
Robert McPhalen Gotham Photographer
Mindi Miller Penguin Crony
Jeff Mulvin Red Triangle Circus Gang Clown
Kristine Rose Cobblepot Groupie
Steffanie Siebrand Campaign Worker
Desi Singh Clown with Flaming Crossbow
Michael Sutherland Campaigner
Body Guard
Mark Taormino Gotham Reporter

See also

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed
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Christmas Specials Based on Comic Books
DC Comics "Cool, Cruel Christmas Caper" • Batman Returns • "Christmas With the Joker" • "Season's Greedings" • "Home is Where the Hurt is" • "Twas the Night Before Mxymas" • "Holiday Knights" • "Frozen Out" • "Comfort and Joy" • "Lexmas" • "Gemini" • "Storybook Holiday" • "Invasion of the Secret Santas!" • "Second Christmas" • "The True Meaning of Christmas" • "Halloween v Christmas" • "Teen Titans Save Christmas" • "It's a Superful Life" • "Fortress of Solidarity" • "Super Gift Swap" • Shazam!Beebo Saves ChristmasA Holiday Story
Marvel "Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas" • "Reinforcement" • Iron Man 3 • "Nightmare on Christmas" • "It's a Wonderful Smash" • Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight! • "Jingle Bell Rock" • "The Moon Knight Before Christmas" • "The Present" • "A Very Spidey Christmas" • Spider-Man: No Way Home
Archie "A Girl and Her Cat" • "Sabrina Claus" • "Christmas Amnesia" • "Sabrina, Nipping at Your Nose" • "The Christmas Phantom" • "Sabrina's Perfect Christmas" • "It's a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot Christmas" • "Chapter Twenty-Two: Silent Night, Deadly Night"
Other companies The Smurfs' Christmas Special • "Baby's First Christmas" • 'Tis the Season to Be SmurfyWe Wish You a Turtle Christmas • "Santa Mask" • "The Tick Loves Santa!" • "The Black Christmas Syndrome" • Richie Rich's Christmas Wish • "The Christmas Aliens" • Gotta Catch Santa ClausThe Smurfs: A Christmas Carol • "The Christmas Star"
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Pictures Christmas in ConnecticutGremlinsLethal WeaponNational Lampoon's Christmas VacationBatman ReturnsJack FrostNational Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island AdventureThe Polar ExpressKiss Kiss Bang BangThe Year Without a Santa ClausFred Claus
New Line Cinema ElfThe Nativity StoryFour ChristmasesA Very Harold & Kumar 3D ChristmasThe Conjuring 2Shazam!8-Bit Christmas
Blue Ribbon Content A Christmas Story 2A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
Live-action television episodes
Friends and Joey "The One With the Monkey" • "The One With Phoebe's Dad" • "The One Where Rachel Quits" • "The One With the Girl from Poughkeepsie" • "The One With the Inappropriate Sister" • "The One With the Routine" • "The One With All the Candy" • "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" • "The One With Monica's Boots" • "The One With the Creepy Holiday Card" • "The One With Christmas in Tulsa" • "Joey and the Plot Twist" • "Joey and the Christmas Party"
DC Comics "Season's Greedings" • "Home is Where the Hurt Is" • "Twas the Night Before Mxymas" • "Lexmas" • "Gemini" • "Year's End" • "Three Ghosts"
Other shows "A Semi-Merry Christmas" • "Mel, the Magi" • "Mel's Christmas Carol" • "'Tis the Season to Be Jealous" • "A Christmas Story" (Growing Pains) • "The Kid" • "It's Not Easy Being Green" • "A Christmas Story" (Just the Ten of Us) • "Santa Goes Downtown" • "Let It Snow" • "The Night Court Before Christmas" • "Santa on the Lam" • "Have Yourself a Merry Winslow Christmas" • "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Urkel" • "Christmas is Where the Heart is" • "Miracle on Elm Street" • "Fa La La La Laagghh!" • "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" • "Deck the Malls" • "The Christmas Show" • "The Man Who Canceled Christmas" • "Christmas Day-Ja Vu" • "A Country Christmas" • "The Gift" • "A Miracle Happens Here" • "Homeless for the Holidays" • "Do You See What I See" • "The Miracle Worker" • "How the Finch Stole Christmas" • "The Greatest of Gifts" • "I'll Be Home For Christmas" • "Hindsight" • "Twas the Night" • "All About Christmas Eve" • "City of Mercy" • "Meet the Cuban Parents" • "Christmas Punch" • "A Clear and Presentless Danger" • "George is Being Elfish and Christ-Misses His Family" • "Santa's Secret Stuff" • "A Very Supernatural Christmas" • "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" • "The Maternal Congruence" • "The Santa Simulation" • "The Cooper Extraction" • "The Clean Room Infiltration" • "Christmas" (The Middle) • "A Simple Christmas" • "A Christmas Gift" • "Christmas Help" • "The Christmas Tree" • "The Christmas Wall" • "Not So Silent Night" • "A Very Marry Christmas" • "The Christmas Miracle" • "It's Beginning to Stink a Lot Like Christmas" • "Jolly Red Elf" • "The World Ain't Over 'Till It's Over" • "Santa's Village of the Damned" • "Walnuts and Demerol" • "Warning, It's Dirty" • "One False Move, Zimbabwe!" • "Give Santa a Tail-Hole" • "On Vodka, On Soda, On Blender, On Mixer" • "Family, Bublé, Deep-Fried Turkey" • "Home for Christmas" • "Jingle Bell Glock" • "The Walk-Out" • "Yule Never Know" • "Merry Ex-Mas" • "A Very Carrie Christmas" • "Veronica's Christmas Song" • "Veronica's Secret Santa" • "An Echolls Family Christmas" • "One Angry Veronica"
Animated productions
Looney Tunes and related shows The Shanty Where Santy Claus LivesBedtime for SnifflesGift WrappedBugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales • "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special" • "'Twas the Day Before Christmas" • "Jingle Boo" • "The Great Wakkorotti: The Holiday Concert" • "A Christmas Plotz" • "Little Drummer Warners" • "No Time for Christmas" • "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" • "It Happened One Night Before Christmas" • "In Arms Way" • "The Twelve Days of Christmas" • Christmas Eve with Yakko, Wakko & Dot • "Noel" • "The Christmas Tree" • "The Banks of the Delaware River" • "Feather Christmas" • "Yule Be Sorry" • "Christmas in July" • Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas • "A Christmas Carol" • "Tis the Seasoning" • "Winter Blunderland" • "The Legend of Burrito Monday" • Bugs Bunny's 24-Carrot Holiday Special
DC Comics "Christmas With the Joker" • "Holiday Knights" • "Frozen Out" • "Comfort and Joy" • "Storybook Holiday" • "Invasion of the Secret Santas!" • "Second Christmas" • "The True Meaning of Christmas" • "Halloween v Christmas" • "Teen Titans Save Christmas" • "Beast Boy on a Shelf" • "Christmas Crusaders" • Beebo Saves ChristmasA Holiday StoryMerry Little Batman
Hanna-Barbera co-productions "A Dickens of a Christmas" • A Scooby-Doo! Christmas • "Ho Ho Horrors" • Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker TaleScooby-Doo! Haunted HolidaysTom and Jerry: Santa's Little Helpers • "The Plight Before Christmas" • "Scary Christmas" • "Scroogey Doo" • "It's a Wacky Life" • "Dashing Thru the Snow" • "Signed, Sealed and Wacky" • "The Spirit of Frostnos"
Other cartoons "Yuletide and Redtide" • A Cool Like That Christmas • "Santa Mask" • The Polar Express • "The Match Before Xmas" • A Miser Brothers' Christmas • "Da Grinchy Code / Duck" • "FROST / Undercover Claus" • "Fantastic Four Christmases / Red and White Collar" • Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas • "Christmas in Oz" • "Top of the Naughty List" • "Mandora Saves Christmas" • Did I Do That to the Holidays? A Steve Urkel Story
Have Yourself a Looney Tunes ChristmasA Hip-Hopera ChristmasMerry Christmas: Animaniacs & Looney TunesThe Looney Tunes Kwazy ChristmasA Looney Tunes Sing-A-Long Christmas