After “Batman, the challenge”, a spin-off on Catwoman is envisaged, with Michelle Pfeiffer back in the skin of the cult character. Screenwriter Daniel Waters spoke about the story he envisioned and why this collaboration with Tim Burton never happened.
batman challenge: Tim Burton at the top of his game
Three years after reintroducing the Dark Knight to the cinema with BatmanTim Burton offers him a second adventure with the batman challenge. Released in 1992, the feature film confronts Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) with two cult characters. The first, Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito), an orphan who grew up in the sewers of Gotham and is known as the “Penguin”, kidnaps the ruthless industrialist Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). The latter promises to bring him into the upper echelons of the city, and their association only increases their demonic potential tenfold.
The second, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), is Max Shreck’s shy secretary, a victim of his regular humiliations. When the wealthy businessman realizes that his employee has discovered compromising information about him, he throws her without hesitation from the top of his skyscraper. Brought back to life by alley cats, she decides to take revenge and becomes Catwoman.
dark and cold, batman’s challenge gives pride of place to its three monsters. With a masterful artistic direction, whether for sets or costumes, the feature film was nominated for the Oscars for Best Special Effects and Best Makeup. Despite its many qualities, the film is not as successful as its predecessor in the cinema. While the first part has more than 411 million dollars in worldwide revenue, this sequel only brings in 267 million, while it was entitled to a much larger budget (80 million against 35).
A spin-off on Catwoman considered
A feature film centered on Selina Kyle is still being considered. Michelle Pfeiffer does not hide her enthusiasm for the idea of reprising the role. During a discussion organized for the site Bloody Disgusting screenwriter Daniel Waters (Fatal Games, Hudson Hawk, gentleman, and burglar), the origin of the script of batman challenge recently explained that if the public did not expect such a dark film, Catwoman was unanimous.
The reason why the possibility of a spin-off was born. If Warner didn’t want Tim Burton leading the next Batman, she apparently did not hesitate to entrust him with the command of the project. But according to Daniel Waters, this one had little chance of succeeding from the start :
I think it was like a divorce. They divorced Tim Burton but gave him Catwoman in the settlement. They didn’t want us near the franchise Batman. (…) But they said: ‘A film catwoman ? Everyone loved Catwoman! Everyone loved what you did with Catwoman! Michelle Pfeiffer’s game… So go ahead, make a Catwoman movie. If something comes out of it, great. If nothing comes out of it, nothing comes out of it’.
Which, to me, seemed like a lot of fun. But I think the project was kind of doomed from the start, because I think Tim Burton and I had different visions. (…) And I don’t know if he was really up for it.
Two different concepts
While the director of beetle juice wants to orient yourself on the side of the horror film set in a small town, Daniel Waters has a very different conception of this spin-off. He starts writing a screenplay in which Selina Kyle suffers from amnesia. Back in her hometown of Oasisburg, a sunny but sticky place resembling Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and Hollywood, the heroine is witness to horrors committed by a group of superheroes supposed to watch over the citizens, called “the Cult of Good”.
Afterward, Catwoman decides to make them pay for their deeds and becomes a true inspiration to other Oasisburg residents, who take up her appearance to defend the city alongside her. Promising ideas, which evoke both The Boys and the fellows imitating Batman in The Dark Knight.
But the feature film unfortunately never saw the light of day, leaving its place to the sad Catwoman worn by Halle Berry and released in 2004, which Daniel Waters also refuses to be associated with when he is offered an honorary credit. About the aborted spin-off, the screenwriter concludes:
I would have liked us to go to the end of the process. I wish I could have done some rewrites.