Retroplex Cinema: Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)

Retroplex Cinema returns to start out 2014 and to kick off the 75th Anniversary of Batman Celebration at TMIAJ!  We take a look at the animated Batman film that just celebrated it's 20th Anniversary of it's theatrical release, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm.
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm was the spin-off film based on the super popular, Batman: The Animated Series. The film introduces Andrea Beaumont, an old love interest of Bruce Wayne's, who returns to Gotham City, restarting their romance. At the same time, a new mysterious vigilante begins systematically eliminating Gotham's crime bosses, and due to the person's dark appearance, he is mistaken for Batman. Now on the run from the police, the Dark Knight must apprehend the killer, clear his name, and deal with the romance between himself and Andrea.  The film also delved into the origins of Batman, something that had only been hinted at in The Animated Series continuity.  
The Best Batman Film Ever?
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm was fairly well received by critics and fans alike.  The film was not a success at the box office due to poor marketing and bad timing, but many people have argued over the years that this is the best appearance on screen of Batman out of all the films ever made!
Production Notes
The first season of Batman The Animated Series was a huge success for Warner Brothers, so much that they green lighted a film version based on it.  From the beginning Warner Brothers wnated a theatrical release and not just direct to video.  The studio was cooperative and gave the film makers a lot of creative control, even giving them more money int eh budget for the film! When it came to the story, the film makers intended to tell a tale quite different than what had been seen in teh television series so far.  For example, The Joker does play a pivotal role in the film, but it was screen writer Alan Burnett's intention to tell a story far removed from the television show's regular rogues gallery, hence creating The Phantasm. Burnett also cited he "wanted to do a love story with Bruce because no one had really done it on the TV show. I wanted a story that got into his head." 
Toys & Tie-Ins
As with any super hero movie or animated film, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm had it's share of promotional tie-ins.  There were all ready action figures and numerous items in production due to the television series so the movie naturally got the same treatment.  Toys, novels, comics and more were all part of the merchandise tie-ins.  Check out  some neat items below and hope that one day the final piece of merchandise will be the film on Blu-Ray disc!