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Although Burton won in the end, the furor over the casting provoked enormous fan animosity, to the extent that Warner Brothers' share price slumped.
Burton had considered it ridiculous to cast a "bulked-up" ultra-masculine man as Batman, insisting that Batman should be an ordinary man who dressed up in an elaborate bat costume to frighten criminals.
The short would finally go on public display in 2009 at the Museum of Modern Art, and again in 2011 as part of the Tim Burton art exhibit at LACMA.
Burton's next live-action short film, Frankenweenie, was released in 1984.
A follow-up to that book, entitled The Napkin Art of Tim Burton: Things You Think About in a Bar, containing sketches made by Burton on napkins at bars and restaurants he occasionally visits, was released in 2015.
Burton was born in 1958, in Burbank, California, the son of Jean Burton (née Erickson), later the owner of a cat-themed gift shop, and William "Bill" Burton, a former minor league baseball player who was working for the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department.
After directing episodes for the revitalized version of '50s/'60s anthology horror series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, Burton directed his next big project: Beetlejuice (1988), a supernatural comedy horror about a young couple forced to cope with life after death, and the family of pretentious yuppies who invade their treasured New England home.
Their teenage daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) has an obsession with death which allows her to see the deceased couple.
The film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, was made on a budget of million and grossed more than million at the North American box office.
Burton cast Jack Nicholson as The Joker (Tim Curry being his second choice) in a move that helped assuage fans' fears, as well as attracting older audiences not as interested in a superhero film.
When the film opened in June 1989, it was backed by the biggest marketing and merchandising campaign in film history at the time, and became one of the biggest box office hits of all time, grossing over US0 million in the U. and 0 million worldwide (numbers not adjusted for inflation) and earning critical acclaim for the performances of both Keaton and Nicholson, as well as the film's production aspects, which won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
The success of the film helped establish Burton as a profitable director, and it proved to be a huge influence on future superhero films, which eschewed the bright, all-American heroism of Richard Donner's Superman for a grimmer, more realistic look and characters with more psychological depth.
It also became a major inspiration for the successful 1990s cartoon Batman: The Animated Series, in as much as the darkness of the picture and its sequel allowed for a darker Batman on television.Burton's ability to produce hits with low budgets impressed studio executives, and he received his first big budget film, Batman. Burton repeatedly clashed with the film's producers, Jon Peters and Peter Guber, but the most notable debacle involved casting.