It’s very telling that, even as Warner Bros. is bringing a new Batman to the big screen with “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the first thing visitors are hit with as they enter the impressive, spared-no-expense Batman Exhibit is Hans Zimmer’s stirring score from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight film series. As if to indicate, “We know who the real movie Batman is,” without saying it.
In fact, Nolan’s films take up considerable real estate of the newest addition to Warner Bros.’ VIP Studio Tour.
Honoring all 25 years of the DC hero’s legacy on the big screen, the tour doesn’t have its official public unveiling until June 26, but CBR was given an early look of the exhibit — which, for Batman and movie fans in general, is nothing short of a “must see.”
The comprehensive exhibit is so massive, that it requires two separate wings to display it all. There is the main hall, located in the large Warner Bros. Studio Tour building, which features props, production art and costumes (yes, all of the batsuits!) And then, there’s “the Batcave” — a warehouse-like structure that’s home to almost all of the big-screen “Bat” vehicles, including two Tumblers and the Bat-pod. It also houses a bat signal and the Batman statue Gotham City receives at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Here are 21 things we learned on the Batman Tour, an exhibit which has only one problem — it ends.
1. This exhibit marks the first time artifacts from all of WB’s Batman films have been gathered together in one place.
2. To transport guests to the exhibit, 6 custom “Bat Trams” were built, with their design supervised by the person who created the new Batmobile for “Batman V Superman.”
3. Each tram bears the bat symbol and has “Batman 75” printed atop their canopies. (And yes, the trams are painted in custom “Tumbler Black.”)
4. The main exhibit took eight weeks to build.
5. Archivists are endeavoring, as of press time, to add an original “Detective Comics 27” — Batman’s first appearance in comics — to the exhibit.
6. Remember that plastic case housing Batman’s suit and gear that rises out of the water in “Dark Knight Rises?” It’s a centerpiece of the Exhibit, which archivists received so quickly after shooting wrapped on the film that the case still has water droplets inside its plastic. (And you can take your photo with it!)
7. Of all the Batsuits on the display, Michael Keaton’s original costume required the most work to make it “presentation worthy.” Due to wear and tear over the years, the rubber suit required minor treatment, specifically to its mid-section.
8. Finding the suits from director Tim Burton’s first Batman movie proved challenging, because the studio didn’t have archives at the time. According to our tour guide, archiving the series’ films began in earnest in 1992, with “Batman Returns.”
9. Unlike batsuits from the previous films, the designers of the suits in Nolan’s films added graphite to the costumes, which better preserves them for archiving purposes.
10. In 1989, Batman saved Warner Bros. At the time, the studio was owned by the company First National. Warner Bros. put everything it had into making “Batman” and made enough profit to buy back the studio. Had the film failed at the box office, there’s a good chance Warner Bros. would not exist as we know it today.
11. The studio is actively considering the possibility of holding a screening of Tim Burton’s “Batman” on the lot, to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary this year.
12. I know what you’re saying: Why is there no Adam West Batman? Due to Fox owning the rights to the classic series, and with most of its props in the hands of private collectors or, worse, simply unable to be found, there are a lot of challenges to dedicating an area of the exhibit to the show. But the powers at be are quick to point out that they hope to get the original ’66 Batmobile added to the collection at some point.
13. The day before CBR visited the exhibit, Christopher Nolan stopped by to take a look. Our tour guide informed us that Nolan was not aware the exhibit was being developed, and liked what he saw.
14. Filmmakers involved with the in-production “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” also recently toured the exhibit, expressing a desire to feature their film’s props and vehicles there once shooting wraps.
15. Crew members have affectionately nicknamed “Batman v Superman’s” new Batmobile ‘The Screamer,’ due to the sound it makes when it drives. The new vehicle is bigger and faster than the Tumbler.
16. Aside from the Adam West version, the only Batmobile not on display is the car from “Batman & Robin.” The vehicle has a history of breaking down and is currently under repair.
17. The Batmobile on display from the Keaton era is one of five vehicles used during production of the 1989 film. It cost a $1 million to make and tops out at a speed of 35mph.
18. Driving the Tumbler is done through the use of monitors, which tap into feeds transmitted from front and rear cameras to help the driver ‘see.’
19. The cockpit-like design of the Tumbler’s driving area is a set. The real car requires the driver to sit in more of a NASCAR-like driving module in order to operate the vehicle.
20. A life-sized replica of the Batmobile for the new “Arkham Knight” video game is scheduled to be built for 2014’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. After the car is unveiled at SDCC, plans are to relocate it to the Exhibit.
21. Eventually, props and costumes from FOX’s “Gotham” TV series will make their way to the exhibit.
Warner Bros.’ Batman-themed studio tour is slated to run throughout the summer. Click here for ticketing info.