The grand-scale opening of Batman Returns this week (see story on page 20) will set off a $45 million promotional blitz for Batman gewgaws that will aim to beat the $500 million raked in by the famous merchandising campaign for the 1989 original. But the effort this time will be more modest. For example, there are only 150 licensees — 100 fewer than the last time. ”We were more select,” says a spokeswoman for Warner Bros.’ Consumer Products division. The new items will be rolling out of the Batworkshop from now till Christmas. ”It will be impossible not to know we’re around,” brags Kenner Products representative Krickett Neumann, whose company is producing many of the Bat toys.
She’s probably right. Headed our way are toy Batmobiles, a Batcave Command Center playset, action figures like Laser Batman and the Penguin, and women’s dresses and a girls’ sleepwear line inspired by Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. There are also promotional tie-ins with McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Choice Hotels. And the Warner-affiliated Six Flags theme park in Gurnee, Ill., has just premiered a new kind of Batman spin-off: Batman the Ride, a two- minute thrill zip through Gotham City. (All seven Six Flags theme parks will have Bat attractions.)
Batman Returns stars Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Pfeiffer okayed all products carrying their likenesses, and they’ll get a cut of the merchandising profits. ”We funneled everything through them,” says the Warner spokeswoman. ”We wanted to keep everyone happy.”