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166 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DK Return as Full Feature & 70 min Miller Doc? No Double Dip!, July 15, 2013
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This review is from: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
For fans thinking they are being 'double dipped' by this DC Universe Animated Original Movie 'Deluxe Edition' release of 'BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS,' think again. You only need look at what you are getting for your money to realize Warner Bros. animation is offering up a totally new 'viewing experience' for this groundbreaking animated achievement, along with phenomenal new extras well worth the investment. The full-length, uninterrupted version of the film clocks in at 2 hours and 29 minutes. That makes this uninterrupted viewing experience the closest fans will get to a Christopher Nolan 'Batman' film, perhaps, for the last time ever.

The fact that the entire version features a crew commentary track exclusive to this 'full-cut' means that fans get a creative perspective on the film as a whole. Had commentary tracks been recorded and released on each of the separate 'Part 1' and 'Part 2' releases, they would have inhibited the creators from discussing their overall approach to the creation, acting, directing, writing, and production work that went into the entire epic film, as each commentary would have focused exclusively on either 'Part 1' or 'Part 2.' Fans hear what it was like to tackle a a 2 and 1/2 hour animated film. The creative efforts that went into this project were phenomenal, expensive, and unprecedented for the DCUAOM team. This is a film that Warner Bros. Animation gave a high budget to and lost a significant amount of money on. The total gross for both 'Parts 1' and '2' was less than 5 million dollars. DCUAOMs used to gross 5 million PER TITLE, minimum.

The inclusion of a 70 minute Frank Miller documentary focused on the creation of the graphic novel itself is the type of bonus material the DCUAOMs have virtually never included. Miller is notoriously 'tight-lipped' about his creations, and particularly, this historic graphic novel. The fact the documentary includes extensive new interview footage with Miller makes it the definitive documentary of the book - one of the most important graphic novels ever written.

The carry-over of all bonus materials from the separately released 'Parts 1 & 2' is, of course, obligatory. Many fans, though, will enjoy the 4 exclusive collector cards included in the set which will feature never before seen artwork. Given the fact the graphic novel itself has seen various special anniversary, hard-cover and limited release editions, it seems perfect that the animated version is getting this treatment.

Kudos to Warner Bros. Home Video for taking a second chance on this title by giving it to fans in a format they really wanted it in, including a comprehensive NEW commentary track, and a 70 minute definitive documentary on Frank Miller and the Graphic Novel itself. Given the low sales of the original releases, this might turn out to be another 'break-even' release for the division. And, if that's the case, it's the fans who will end-up being the sole winners yet again.
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Showing 1-10 of 34 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 15, 2013 5:43:58 AM PDT
S. R. says:
Isn't there also a Frank Miller commentary track for the film?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2013 12:00:27 PM PDT
Unless he joined the Creative Team commentary, I do not believe so. WB Home Video's initial Press Release 'worded' the documentary details in a manner that indicated content included a Miller commentary track. What it has turned out to be is the 70 minute documentary on Frank Miller and TDKR. I'm hoping for multiple commentary tracks. Still, just one will be great.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2013 7:03:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2013 6:06:46 PM PDT
S. R. says:
The wording on the press release is confusing as it does read "commentary by Frank Miller":
http://www.dvdactive.com/news/releases/dark-knight-returns-deluxe-edition-the.html

But based on what you're saying, I wonder if this means that Frank Miller is not actually participating in the bonus content.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2013 9:24:38 AM PDT
A. Gregory says:
Actually, a "double dip" is exactly what this is. This on it's own could have been released without the other two and it would be a great deal. Instead, they release TWO products that together cost more than this item does by itself. They also added a good amount of new material.

I already have Part One. So what am I supposed to do now? Buy this and have an extra Part One? Or just buy Part Two and miss out on the extra features because it's cheaper and makes more sense because I already have Part One? Personally I'd like to have just the one package, but I'm not going to re-buy something I already own. I would have gladly waited if I had known this was coming out.

A double dip is precisely what this is.

Posted on Jul 17, 2013 12:35:09 PM PDT
Chip says:
Great review! I really wish I had known this was coming out; otherwise I would have waited. This is how WB should have released it in the first place, but ah well. I guess I'll have to sell my other copies and then pick this up.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2013 10:38:45 PM PDT
Double-Dip Response: Part I

I TOTALLY see your point. 'Double-Dips' have been a constant problem in the Home Video market, but especially with 'Comic Book/Fantasy' film fans.

I think it's time someone explained the legal reasons why the release of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" HAD to be done as 2 separate films, each as a separate release. It's been unfair to Bruce Timm, former head of the division, and the fans who have - rightfully so - felt ripped off by Warner Home Video.

I'll cover it all it great detail, but here is the bottom line:

BRUCE TIMM AND HIS TEAM WERE LEGALLY BOUND TO A STRICT CONTRACT: EACH DC ANIMATED UNIVERSE ORIGINAL MOVIE MUST NOT EXCEED A BUDGET OF $3,500,000., EACH MUST NOT EXCEED A RUNNING TIME OF 75 - 80 MINUTES, AND EACH MUST RECEIVE A `PG-13' RATING FROM THE MPAA.

IF BRUCE TIMM TRULY WANTED TO DO "BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS" AS HE ENVISIONED - AN EPIC 2 AND ˝ HOUR MOVIE, LOYAL TO THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, HIS COMPROMISE TO REMAIN IN CONTRACTUAL COMPLIANCE WAS A, IN A WAY, A SACRIFICE -

HE HAD TO COMMIT 2 OF HIS SCHEDULED RELEASES FOR THE FISCAL PERIOD TO THE ONE FILM.

HE HAD TO CUT THE FILM IN HALF, AND RELEASE EACH HALF AS A SEPARATE RELEASE. HE WAS LEGALLY FORCED TO MAKE A CHOICE - CONDENSE THE GRAPHIC NOVEL INTO A 75-80 MINUTE FILM, OR DO IT OVER 2 RELEASES AND GIVE IT THE EPIC `NOLAN' 2 AND ˝ HOUR RUNNING TIME IT DESERVED.

HE CHOSE TO COMMIT TO 2 RELEASES TO GET THE FULL $7,000,000. BUDGET HE NEEDED, DELIVER TO FANS THE EPIC HE ENVISIONED, AND PRAY THE BACKLASH WOULD BE MINIMAL.

If the film had not been made and released this way, it never would have existed as a 2 and ˝ hour feature - and fans wouldn't have it now.

But it goes even further, and is a little more complex. For those who love these films, here's the story.

Financially, the division is in serious risk of being shut down. This, in a way, began as a fiscal reality in 2011.

As stated above, the mandatory budget of each DC Universe Animated Original Movie is $3,500,000.

Below is a financial breakdown of units sold and the gross on every title they've produced and released since the launch of the division:

Superman: Doomsday (2007)
$9,455,120

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)
$5,242,952

Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
$8,072,890

Wonder Woman (2009)
$7,561,719

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
$6,260,099

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009)
$8,470,749

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010)
$5,405,463

Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
$7,131,753

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)
$6,309,241

DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection (2010)
$4,034,257

All-Star Superman (2011)
$4,660,716

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011)
$2,741,247

Batman: Year One (2011)
$2,763,042

Justice League: Doom (2012)
$4,073,754

Superman vs. The Elite (2012)
$1,279,222

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1 (2012)
$2,650,510

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 2 (2013)
$1,467,026

Superman: Unbound (2013)
$1,000,984

Warner Bros. closed down their entire live action and animation Direct to Video division over a year ago, with the exception of DC titles and certain Hannah-Barbara titles. And they were the last studio to do it. 20th Century Fox had a thriving, highly profitable division identical to Warner's. Fox closed their division earlier than Warner's.

This reflects that the harsh reality studio's have been facing for the last 2 years - an across the board severe decline in Home Video profits and the oncoming death of the DVD and Blu-Ray format due to the surge in streaming services, Netflix and Red Box.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2013 10:40:12 PM PDT
Double Dip: Part II

As indicated above, starting with `Superman VS The Elite' last year, DCUOMs, with their last 4 releases, 3 couldn't even recoup 50% of their production budgets. `Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part I' was their best performer. Even with unprecedented powerful reviews, and a huge on-line press blitz, it couldn't even manage to recoup its budget.

Ancillary income from these titles is virtually nothing. Rentals bring in negligible income, and recycling them for Cartoon Network airings bring in low advertising dollars.

With the set budget and costs for 75 -80 minutes of DCUOM's animation being $3,500,000, Bruce Timm knew the total cost to produce an adaptation of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" with a running time of between 150 - 160 minutes was going to be $7,000,000.

Timm was asking for a budget that several recent Academy Award Best Picture nominees had been made on - some for even less. Only, this film with a running time of 2 and ˝ hours would have NO THEATRICAL RELEASE - a major revenue stream loss that could have helped justify the budget.

By this point, Bruce Timm had overseen his team's adaptation of Frank Miller's `Batman: Year One' - and the money people had seen Timm's reverence and `no compromise' stance on Miller's seminal Batman works.

In fact, on `Batman: Year One,' Timm made no compromises. Timm refused to eliminate the `narrative internal thought' device of utilizing both Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne's internal thoughts as monologues to drive the emotional story, just as Miller did in the graphic novel. He refused to cut any adult content - and pushed adult content to the maximum allowed for a PG-13 rating.

To play Gordon, Timm and team insisted on a powerful actor with incredible depth - and they bagged one. Multi-Emmy and SAG winner Bryan Cranston, star of television's groundbreaking series BREAKING BAD and co-star of last year's Best Picture winning ARGO portrayed Gordon. After initially turning the project down without wanting to take a meeting or hear anything about it, Timm and team somehow got Cranston to read the script.

Cranston's candid admission of his initial rejection of the project and what turned him around reflected how hard the Timm and team worked to get him when you `read between the lines': Cranston to TVLine.com, "I've done a lot of this stuff in the past, but to be honest I hadn't really been that interested in the material that I was doing; it was more of a job. And now I'm in a position where I don't need a job and don't really want a job. [Chuckles] I initially turned this down, because I had a prejudice against [comic book fare], so I'm coming at it from a completely objective standpoint of a non-fan, and I think that helped me get into it. I was amazed at the depth of it, and the integrity in the writing and the characterization. I thought, "This is completely different than I thought it was going to be." It was something I could definitely get behind, the ambiguity of [Lt. Jim Gordon] struggling to find out who he is and where he belongs. There was history to him, and a brooding nature full of regrets in his life. It was pretty rich."

"Batman: Year One" became DC Animation's first film to break through with the mainstream press, garnering the attention and reviews granted to theatrical releases.

But studios could care less about reviews and great performances - it's all about profit. And against a budget of $3,500,000, the units on `Batman: Year One' yielded a gross of $2,763,042.

With Burce Timm asking the studio to do a 150 - 160 minute faithful adaptation of Miller's `Batman: The Dark Knight Returns,' one can imagine their fears. "The Dark Knight Returns?" The one filled with even more excessive violence, graphic killings, bloodshed, 1985 Set Reagan/Cold-War/Poverty/New York Crime Period Politics, intense adult themes and content? All of this guaranteeing DC Animation would be pushing the PG-13 rating directly into R rating territory, praying the MPAA would be asleep at the wheel.

Furthermore, this was a title kids who did get their hands on would have no interest in. It was a Batman story for adults who knew the source Graphic Novel. They would find it confusing, boring, and - particularly when `Part 2' came along - highly disturbing. For Warner Bros., it would mean - for retail sales - marketing a hard-core adult animated movie to children, in the children's section of stores like Target and Wal*Mart across the country. Even though these films are rated PG-13 and intended for older fans, go visit either of these stores - they are displayed next to Disney, Nickelodeon and other children's releases. And this is not because stores are confused - studios have a say in these placements.

Of all the titles Timm had wanted to do, this one had the potential to blow up in their face if the wrong mom or dad didn't read the packaging before purchasing, popped it in for their 5 year old, and actually watched the thing. It had the potential of causing some serious PR backlash.

This potential scenario could have come to fruition for Warner Bros. on a devastating level with `Part 2' upon its release.

When Part 2 was submitted to the MPAA for its rating, the MPAA truly was asleep at the wheel. The level of excessive gun violence, stabbings, bloodshed, killings and sexual content more than warranted an "R" rating. Had Part 2 been a `live action film,' it would have been slapped with an `R' rating upon its first screening with the board. Among its most violent sequences was the one in which the Joker runs through the Gotham Carnival shooting random citizens as he makes his way into the `Tunnel of Love.' It was a shocking sequence that echoed the Sandy Hook Newtown shootings that rattled the world on December 14, 2012. On January 29, 2013, "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2" was released, with the Newtown shootings and the Gun Control debate still dominated all news formats - TV, Internet and Print.

How did Warner Bros. escape being sucked into the controversy by releasing a gun violence filled adult animated film marketed at children into stores like Target and Wal*Mart across America just a month after Newtown? Simple. In the end, "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Part 2" sold just 110,482 units, grossing just $1,467,026. Fans bought it the week it was released, and then it dropped out of the out of the `Top 20' sales rankings in its second week, and off consumer's radar.

Looking back to Timm's initial `pitch' to do this title at this running time at this budget, one has to ask WHY AND HOW he got a `green lite' to do it? The financial failure of Timm's adult, loyal `Batman: Year One' film was evident, as was the profit tailspin his division was in, along with the entire state of the Home Video Market.

Luckily for fans, there were multiple reasons that lined up.

1) The first is pure speculation, but it makes sense. At the time, no one at Warner Bros. knew anything regarding Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. However, THE DARK KNIGHT was a financial, global cultural, critical, and awards success beyond anything any comic book film had ever achieved. At that time, RISES was the most anticipated film of 2012 - and the most anticipated film since `Star Wars: Episode I' (You have to think back to when the first trailer for `Episode I' hit theaters and TV. Remember the frenzy it caused? All that perspective was lost once we all saw the travesty that movie was).

The only thing everyone did know was that it would be the last Nolan Batman film, and probably the last live-action Batman film for years. It might very well have made sense to the moneymen that taking a chance on Timm and crew delivering an adult, Nolenesque animated Batman film might fill the void of `Batman movie' withdraw that fans may be experiencing at the end of 2012's summer when RISES would be out of theaters.

If Timm could deliver another critically acclaimed, serious `Batman: Year One' animated film that was able to achieve breakout acclaim with film critics AFTER `RISES' had finished its theatrical run but BEFORE it hit home video, with a smart Internet PR campaign, they may have felt they could fill a void and cash in.

* "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part I" followed this theory. Released on September 25, 2012, it garnered mainstream reviews such as these:

"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1" has the potential to reach -- and perhaps more significantly, deserves -- a wider audience...Directed by Jay Oliva and scripted by Bob Goodman, this animated movie proves extremely faithful to the source material for the most part, while boasting levels of action and violence unlikely to make anyone mistake this for "SuperFriends." The most enjoyable part of those scenes is how they depict an older Batman lacking the nimbleness of his youth, while using a clever visual approach capturing the manner in which the character strikes from darkness to disorient opponents...Warner Bros. Animation has mined DC's crown jewels with a level of fidelity that simply wouldn't be possible given the big-tent demands of live-action features, highlighting how animation represents comics' more natural cinematic soul mate." Brian Lowry, Daily Variety

"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" is a strong return to form after the frustrating "Dark Knight Rises," and is arguably the best Batman movie since "The Dark Knight."... The higher quality animation was accompanied by great direction from first-timer Jay Oliva as well as pulse-pounding action sequences that appear to take a cue from Rocksteady's recent "Arkham" video game series - the emphasis is placed on stealth and fear as opposed to brutish brawling." - Jason Pearl, Examiner.com

"Warner Bros. animation's latest feature-length direct-to-video movie is an adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman magnum opus The Dark Knight Returns, and it's better than The Dark Knight Rises...The best part of the movie is when Bruce Wayne finally succumbs to the seething undercurrent of the supernatural entity that manifests itself in Bruce's body and soul as the "Batman" side of his persona. Miller presented Bruce Wayne as merely a host for a mythic warrior spirit in his comic book, and that mythic spirit chose to reveal itself to Bruce in the form of a bat. The filmmakers beautifully kept Miller's supernatural fever dream elements intact throughout the film." Andrew Richardson, Policymic.com

"The Dark Knight Returns Part I delivers exactly what it promises and little more. It does indeed bring the Frank Miller comic to animated life with as much faithfulness as can be expected. Writer Bob Goodman and director Jay Oliva take pains to make sure the film works as a stand-alone piece of entertainment and aren't afraid to make small changes when they are required...The highest compliment I can pay this film is that it justifies itself, and that I can't wait for the next half, The Dark Knight Returns Part II." - Scott Mendelson, The Huffington Post

"The animation and animation style in the film are both utterly fantastic when dealing with Batman doing his Bat-thing. In the shadows, swooping about, attacking thugs unseen, to straight-out brawling: everything is rendered beautifully and is never anything short of convincing. The animation style definitely lends itself well to Batman's very nature; lurking, overpowering, a dark terror shooting out of the night...One of the strongest threads of Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy is the question of escalation; that being, is Batman's presence in Gotham City a good or bad thing? Does his presence incite supervillains and draw crime to the city? This is a key theme in The Dark Knight Returns: Part I as well. Batman's presence, ultimately, is about more than Batman himself. It is about providing a symbol of hope for the people of Gotham City, about showing them that the city belongs to them, not to corrupt criminals and street gangs." - Nicholas Haskins, Examiner.com

"Five Reasons To See 'The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1' from MTV.com

Frank Miller's masterpiece, "The Dark Knight Returns," has been a huge inspiration for a number of Batman stories and films throughout the years. It's no wonder that DC Comics and Warner Home Video have finally decided to turn this critically acclaimed graphic novel into not one, but two epic animated feature films. The second half doesn't hit until next year, but "Part One" hits shelves today (September 25), and it gets our wholehearted endorsement.

"The Dark Knight Returns" takes place in a Gotham we've never seen before; crime runs rampant throughout the city as the Batman remains on the sidelines, old and retired. But when a gang of "Mutants" threaten to take over the city, Bruce Wayne is finally compelled to take action and end their reign of terror once and for all. Read on for our list of five reasons to watch "The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1."

1. The Return
Taking place ten years after Batman has retired, the people of Gotham have long since forgotten what it's like to live in a city protected by the Caped Crusader. Although he's often talked about on the news, the newest generation of Gothamites believes the Dark Knight to be nothing but a myth. So when Bruce Wayne ultimately puts the cowl back on, it's very interesting to see the wide spectrum of reactions from the different generations of Gotham's citizens.

2. The Humor
Based on the original graphic novel by Frank Miller, "The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" is not without its fair share of wisecracks. In fact, there are a number of hilarious jokes and one-liners sprinkled throughout the film that really makes the story feel unique and interesting. Alfred, for example, is just as sarcastic and dry as he is during his prime; berating Bruce for putting his life on the line time and time again.

3. The Villains
"The Mutants" are truly a force to be reckoned with. Not only do they have power in numbers, but they're also extremely sadistic and extremely well-armed. Their hobbies include robbing banks, calling people "spud," slicing/dicing, and rape. However, the Mutants aren't the only thing that Batman has to worry about; a newly-reformed Harvey Dent also manages to stir up some trouble for Gotham City.

4. The New Robin
Not only is Carrie Kelley one of the only successful females Robins to date, she also somehow manages to take on the role completely on her own. While all of the other Robins so far have had to train with Bruce to become his equal, being Robin seems almost second nature to Kelley. On her first night out, she stops a mugging, jumps across several rooftops, and even manages to come to Batman's aid when he needs it the most.

5. The Set-up
As we mentioned earlier, "The Dark Knight Returns" is being split up into two animated movies. With that said, "Part One" ends on a very exciting note; hinting at the dangers to come in the sequel. (SPOILERS AHEAD.) The Mutants have been defeated, Commissioner Gordon has been replaced, Kelley is officially the new Robin, and an old adversary declares war on Gotham. Looks like Batman is in for quite a fight with the return of You Know Who! (No, we're not talking about Voldemort.)" --- Ryan Rigley, MTV.com

Unfortunately, despite not only this type of praise from more mainstream critics and sources, and equal if not more enthusiastic reviews from Home Video, Movie and Comic Book websites, `Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Part 1" moved just 190,038 units, grossing just $2,650,510.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2013 10:41:13 PM PDT
Double Dip: Part III

2) Again, because Timm and his team had had to comply with their production and delivery obligations (EACH DC ANIMATED UNIVERSE ORIGINAL MOVIE MUST NOT EXCEED A BUDGET OF $3,500,000., EACH MUST NOT EXCEED A RUNNING TIME OF 75 - 80 MINUTES, AND EACH MUST RECEIVE A `PG-13' RATING FROM THE MPAA), they were gambling on guaranteed big sales of `Part 2' if `Part 1' was a massive hit.

3) The project was approved out of respect and as a tribute to Bruce Timm as his passion project `swan song.' At the time, he probably already knew he was going to be `stepping down' as the Supervising Producer at DC Animation. Whether this was his choice or not remains a debate to this day.

On March 29, 2013 - 2 months to the day `Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2' was released - the official announcement came that Bruce Timm was stepping down as the Supervising Producer at DC Animation. The Press Release contained no comments from Timm, other than a note that he was initially going to focus his energies on the `Green Lantern' CG series, which was subsequently cancelled, and `to develop some of his own projects.'

He was replaced James Tucker, producer on `Justice League,' `Legion of Super Heroes' and - perhaps most indicative of what Warner Bros. may want out of future DCUOM's - the much reviled `Batman: Brave and the Bold.'

Tucker's statements that date sounded like a studio executive who has done a ton of marketing research and consulted heavily with Warner Bros. live-action division, all with one single goal - turning the DCUOM's into a solely `commercial marketing machine' for WB's long desired live-action `Justice League' feature film.

Tucker's statements are below. When broken down, they outline the following new agenda for DCUOM under his Supervision:

* No more direct animated film adaptations of classic DC Graphic Novels or Storylines with Direct Fidelity to the Artwork and Writing

The proposed `Killing Joke' and `Arkham Asylum' films can now be considered canceled. Per Tucker, this is considered `a step in the right
direction,' and the way for the company and line of films to go.

* Established, `Branded' Storylines from Graphic Novels and Comic Series Arcs will be taken and altered to meet their commercial goals in introducing new characters.

The `Branded' Storylines and Graphic Novel Titles will now serve their purposes as just that - with no guarantee audiences will be seeing what they
are expecting.

* Sales will now determine content, story structure, character use, and `Brand' lifting of DC Story Titles for `marketing purposes.

* Characters such as Batman and Superman, or the Justice League, will be considered `gateway' vehicles to increase sales to the `average person who is not a comic book fan,' and to then insert unknown or new characters.

* Films centered on any solo character other than Batman or Superman will not be made as Tucker and DCUOM determined they do not sell.

Tucker sites past DC titles `Green Lantern: First Flight' and `Wonder Woman' as the type of films he wants to echo, BUT then goes on to state
"The Green Lantern and Wonder Woman movies didn't perform like we would have liked them to." NOTE: Sales figures above contradict this.

* Expect A LOT of Justice League titled & related films as "It's ( the brand `Justice League') a selling point now"

`Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox' will be released July 30.
`Justice League: War,' based on the New 52 Geoff Johns/Jim lee `Origin' storyline, is their next film.

James Tucker, Voicesfromkrypton.com, 3/29/13:

"I can't speak for him (Bruce Timm), but I think going out on Dark Knight Returns was a special thing for him. If he was going to make the break, that seemed like a good time. Granted Dark Knight Returns was long overdue to be adapted and I'm glad they did it and did it superbly. But beyond that, I'm not really interested in replicating, image by image, word for word, something that was in a comic book, because you can't replicate that experience or feeling. You're basically getting a secondary experience, so you have to make it your own in order to make it work as a movie. Creating films in which people are going through it with a checklist saying, `Okay, they took that out, they took that out..." I'm not interested in doing anything like that... I can't think of any other classic DC stories that I want to adapt, and I'm not big on adapting stuff anyway. Once you've done Dark Knight Returns, that's the ultimate DC adaptation. So my attitude is, `OK, this leaves me open to doing interpretations of characters and stories."

"What we'll be doing with Flashpoint (`Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox,' due for release July 30, 2013) is kind of changing the dynamic a little bit. Doing things that are based on characters and situations from the comics, but not literal adaptations. They'll be more like original stories along the lines of what we did with Green Lantern: First Flight and Wonder Woman. There won't be as many literal adaptations. That's a step in the right direction, because this is a Flash focused story, and it's probably the only Flash focused story that would sell, because there is a version of the Justice League involved."

"Our challenge is that people want us to do these other characters, but if they don't sell that threatens the whole line. So the way to do it is to be smart. If we know we're going to use Superman, Batman and the Justice League, how do we use them as gateways to these other characters? If Batman, Superman and Justice League bring in the average person who's not a comic book fan, once you have them you insert a Huntress or a secondary character like Oracle as a means of introducing them to more of the world. But you're not going to be able to do an Oracle movie. Unfortunately the Green Lantern and Wonder Woman movies didn't perform like we would have liked them to, even though I thought they were among the best we've done."

"I want our movies to feel like contemporary movies you'd see in a theatre so that means even changing up the way we do the main titles. I want more variety in how we do things and in the types of things we do. I'd love to do a DC comic that is humorous, like Justice League International. And that could be a possibility down the line. The title Justice League is a selling point now. It works on its own so even if you don't have Superman and Batman in it - okay, Batman's in it and we could probably find a way to put Superman in it - it would work. Besides, we wouldn't adapt a literal story from the run. That's just an example of what I mean. Not every superhero movie has to be the same type of movie with the same kind of tone. There's different ways to bend the genre. It's good to mix up the format and not just do the same kind of heavy story. I want them to feel like different types of movies. Who wants to see exactly the same type of movie every time we do one of these?"

So, that's the story. Not only of why we had to get `The Dark Knight Returns' as 2 separate films, but of why it even exists in the first place.

The odds are that, had Timm's time as Supervising Producer not been up, and they perhaps not felt honor bound to respect him, "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" might never have never been made.

It's certain Jeff Tucker would have never made it. It's a shame Timm couldn't have lasted a year longer - with enough time to have produeced "The Killing Joke" and "Arkham Asylum."

One final note is this. I find the following statement by Tucker to be drenched in irony: "I want our movies to feel like contemporary movies you'd see in a theatre so that means even changing up the way we do the main titles. I want more variety in how we do things and in the types of things we do."

After praising Bruce Timm's adaption of "The Dark Knight Returns," he spends so much time denouncing literal animated adaptations such as it.

Did he bother to read any of the reviews for "The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2?" According to these critics, Bruce Timm's final DCUOM is not only the company's greatest achievement, but the greatest animated superhero movie ever made, and the accomplishment DC Animation has spent 7 years trying to achieve - proof that "animated movies can be just as entertaining, if not more, than a live-action movie":

"This is, quite simply, the best animated superhero movie... Even in today's Golden Age of live-action comic-book movies, this sort of fidelity to the source material wouldn't be possible in any medium. (Zack Snyder tried, for the most part, with "Watchmen," which simply didn't translate very well beyond the midnight-show contingent, although he fared much better with his adaptation of MIller's "300.")... Warner Bros. deserves considerable credit for giving its animation team the latitude to do these projects with such a steadfast focus on the end user -- and specifically, those who don't need to be explicitly told references to "Oliver" and "Hal" mean Green Arrow and Green Lantern, respectively. Kudos to director Jay Oliva and writer Bob Goodman, who handled the adaptation... in terms of superheroes and the often-perilous leap from page to screen, "Part 2" is second to none."
- Brian Lowry
Variety

"The Dark Knight Returns," for many people of my generation, for many people that followed, from the moment it was published forward is kind of like "The Catcher in the Rye" of comic books. It's a very important book that we all carry with us and just like "The Catcher in the Rye," they've never done a movie of it, because most people thought it was unfilmable. I have watched "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2" at least 12 times, and I have wept each time."
- Kevin Smith
Filmmaker, Author, Producer

"Normally I do not write movie reviews, but the latest DC animated Batman movie is so phenomenal that it is worth raving about... Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 is perhaps the best animated film produced by DC Universe. The voice acting, plot, and grim tone of the film is on par to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight franchise... Part 2 raised the bar in delivering a feature adaptation of a popular comic book story. The two movies together signify that animated movies can be just as entertaining, if not more, than a live-action movie." - Derek Lee, Examiner.com

"Perhaps the most ambitious animated feature yet to come from the Warner Bros. stables, this faithful adaptation of Frank Miller's legendary, groundbreaking 1986 comic book has done remarkable justice to what some consider to be the ultimate Batman story: the conclusion of the entire mythology. Steeped in 1980's values, including the threat of nuclear war, the rise of gang violence, and a sinister Reagan-like president, it comes across as perhaps even more frightening and alien than it might have in its own time."
- Jeffrey M. Anderson
Commonsensemedia.org

"This was a faithful and hard-charging adaptation of Frank Miller's masterpiece. They kept the carnage, attitude, and brutality. They did what no other DC Animated feature had ever done before. They played for keeps. All the great action was accented by a fantastic score by Christopher Drake that offered some Hans Zimmer-esque moments. Director Jay Oliva has made a wonderful adventure and the best Batman animated anything since the original Batman: The Animated Series, and certainly the best super hero cartoon movie ever. Brilliant."
- David Musto
Examiner.com

"A final chapter that expands the playing field far beyond Gotham's borders... The film is splendidly animated and both parts have enough iconic comic panels replicated onscreen to give hard cores the goosebumps. The more character-driven first half gives way to a more visceral and action-packed final half."
- Scott Mendelson
The Huffington Post

" `Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2' succeeds in just about every measure, delivering a solid, mature experience... Part 2 compresses important dialog into its action, even adding characters to a scene or slightly sliding moments along the source material's time-line when it feels necessary... All the fights are very well put together visually as the adaptation of Miller's pencils to movement come across better than expected, the key 'visual beats' of iconic panels from the source comic lose none of their individual impart even as they smoothly glide past... Part 2's quicker pace doesn't let its corny Ronald Reagan parody President and Cold War background story jar the viewer out of their suspension of disbelief, it instead feels like a story that could still happen today. That same Cold War proxy battle over a Latin America island nation instead allows for some of the better animation in the film; a vision of a grim Superman laying waste to a Soviet army and navy with little apparent effort... the voice cast gets a major upgrade with the casting of Michael Emerson (Person of Interest) as the Joker. Emerson plays the psychopathic clown with some of that eerie calm that made him a breakout character on Lost. Far removed from the cackling chaotic Jokers portrayed recently in film and animation, Emerson's Joker doesn't need to act or sound crazy to actually be crazy, coming off more like Christian Bale in American Psycho than Heath Ledger's or even Mark Hamill's Joker... Part 2 is the realization and the embracing of the limits of both comic book and movie storytelling, an uncommon but welcome feat for adaptions." - Seth Robinson, newsarama.com

"They got some top-notch voice work from the cast. I really like Peter Weller as Batman. The weight of the world is there in his voice. Ariel Winter ("Modern Family") does a fine job as Robin...Emerson does a different take on the Joker, all quiet and calm instead of over the top - shudder. Mark Valley (the sorely missed "Human Target") does fine work as Superman... director Jay Oliva and screenwriter Bob Goodman did a fantastic job of putting a Batman story on screen. It's definitely one of the best of these Warner films."
- Eric Henrickson
The Detroit News

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2013 6:31:15 PM PDT
mrbean1500 says:
If you check your source for the sales (the-numbers), they don't count blu-ray as part of the figures ("Sales tracking currently includes only the DVD versions of the movie. Blu-ray sales are not included at this time."), and I know a lot of people are buying those Blu-ray/DVD combo packs when these titles are released, so saying that DKR Parts 1&2 lost money might not be entirely true.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2013 1:23:02 AM PDT
Yeah, I should have clarified that, and included total units sold:

Superman: Doomsday (2007)
$9,455,120 684,524 Units

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)
$5,242,952 301,454 Units

Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
$8,072,890 396,367 Units

Wonder Woman (2009)
$7,561,719 510,875 Units

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
$6,260,099 390,563 Units

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009)
$8,470,749 572,083 Units

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010)
$5,405,463 369,537 Units

Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
$7,131,753 538,898 Units

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)
$6,309,241 395,096 Units

DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection (2010)
$4,034,257 303,913 Units

All-Star Superman (2011)
$4,660,716 296,496 Units

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011)
$2,741,247 199,169 Units

Batman: Year One (2011)
$2,763,042 179,408 Units

Justice League: Doom (2012)
$4,073,754 288,007 Units

Superman vs. The Elite (2012)
$1,279,222 90,638 Units

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1 (2012)
$2,650,510 190,038 Units

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 2 (2013)
$1,467,026 110,482 Units

Superman: Unbound (2013)
$1,000,984 85,905 Units

DVD sales are still what studios make readily available to the public and publications as the 'overall tracking criteria' for success in the Home Video format. Yet, they trumpet huge Blu-Ray sales successes on titles such as THE AVENGERS and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES when they happen to continue to push the format. For consumers like myself, DVD has been gone since 2008, but I was an early adopter. Apparently, the view is still a roughly 40% DVD/ 60% Blu-Ray consumer split in the eyes of the industry.

Nonetheless, here are the first week Blu-Ray sales for both parts of THE DARK KNIGHT:

Part 1 - 97,000 units - $1,500,000
Part 2 - 106,000 units - $1,470,000

By the second week on both releases, they had fallen out of the Top 10, and way down the charts.

High Def digest noted with Part I, "It was much better than its DVD debut. Its opening-week Blu-ray share was also 62%. It was a Fanboy release, so that partially explains its strength on Blu-ray, but also the format is simply taking over from DVD." It's INSANE that a September 25, 2012 Blu-Ray release's success that week is partially credited to "the format...simply taking over from DVD."

Of real note was the cited primary reason for its success - "It was a Fanboy release, so that partially explains its strength on Blu-Ray." The same 'DVD first week strong sales for DCUOM titles, followed by second week plunges and subsequent disappearances' on DVD sales charts is mirrored on Blu-Ray sales if you can catch them each week when publications such as High-Def digest posts them.

So, if we factor in first week Blu-Ray sales, and down the road additional unit sales:

Part 1:
$1,500,000
$2,650,510
Rough Total: $4,150,510.

Part 2:
$1,470,000
$1,467,026
Rough Total: $2,937,026.

Additional units continue to be sold, albeit in small quantities. In aggregate, maybe generating an additional few hundred thousand dollars for each title.

Without factoring in additional units, looking at just these numbers, Part 1 recouped its budget with combined DVD and Blu-Ray sales by $650,510.

However, without the benefit of additional units, Part 2's combined DVD and Blu-Ray sales still left its budget $562,974 in the red.

An addition estimated $100,000 - $200,000 in additional sales per title must be factored in, along with revenue generated from streaming and download sales, but even at this time, that is a negligible revenue stream.

SADLY, when you add in packaging, marketing and advertising costs - even small campaigns tailored for this market - the bottom line is the data all points to these 2 Home Video releases still being in the red.

While overseas sales have not been addressed, one indicator that foreign markets may be VERY fan boy driven - and minimally profitable - is that in the UK (per amazon.co.uk), both Part 1 and Part 2 were only made available on Blu-Ray, with the 2 disc set only available as a US import. The DVD versions sold are all US NTSC imports.

What is great about bringing up the Blu-Ray profit stream is the fact that the changes James Tucker intends to make with future DCUOM releases seem to pre-ordain a possible demise of the division. Fan Boys and adults purchase Blu-Rays. Parents purchase DVDs for their children. Wal*Mart and Target's most stocked DVD section is the children's. Many animated children's TV series (including popular Marvel and DC series) are still getting the DVD release treatment and NO Blu-Ray release.

On May 7, 2013, the first DCUOM title under Jeff Tucker's supervision was released - SUPERMAN UNBOUND. Its DVD sales total is $1,000,984 on 85,905 Units. Its first week Blu-Ray sales were 63,000 units, clearing $909,000. This was in the midst of not only its own advertising campaign, but in the midst of Warner Brother's full-blown multi-media advertising campaign for MAN OF STEEL - when the new Superman movie was still, after IRON MAN 3, the most eagerly anticipated movie of the summer. In comparing the DVD sales and first week Blu-Ray sales of SUPERMAN UNBOUND to how both parts of BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS performed, you have to wonder what DC Animation's prospects under Jeff Tucker are. Fan Boys had Superman on the brain the week SUPERMAN UNBOUND was released, and yet it got no milage off the 'spill-over' MAN OF STEEL campaign that had images of Superman and the 'S' Shield plastered on the Internet, TV, billboards, and movie theaters. Furthermore, in retail stores, MAN OF STEEL toys, posters, and clothes were everywhere. Yet, it underperformed the very adult DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PART 1 and PART 2 - with PART 2 being 'under-marketed' to avoid controversy.

If Tucker's new 'Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox' receives the same reception by consumers on July 30th, and his next title 'Justice League: War' yields the same low sales, DC Animation and Warner Bros. may be wishing they'd never showed Bruce Timm the door.....er, that he never voluntarily 'stepped down.'
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