‘Batman Beyond’ 20th Anniversary Celebration at Comic-Con Includes Blu-ray Announcement

The popular animated series “Batman Beyond” is being released on Blu-ray for its 20th anniversary.

The announcement came July 18 during San Diego Comic-Con International, as cast members and some of the show’s creative forces gathered to celebrate the anniversary.

The series, a spinoff of “Batman: The Animated Series,” debuted in January 1999 and ran for 52 episodes and a direct-to-video movie. The show, set in the future, dealt with an elderly Bruce Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy) recruiting teenager Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle) to take up the mantle of Batman.

Writer Bob Goodman said the series came about as a result of a mandate from the WB Network to focus on younger characters, and to portray Batman as a high schooler. Producer Bruce Timm suggested setting the show in the future timeline of “Batman: The Animated Series.” As a result, the show wasn’t based on any particular Batman storyline from the comic books.

“About 80% of it we made up out of whole cloth,” Goodman said. “We just developed it based upon what we knew of these characters.”

Friedle said he was asked to audition because Timm’s wife was a fan of his work on the ABC sitcom “Boy Meets World.”

Friedle said he didn’t expect to get the role because at the time he hadn’t done voiceover work before.

“It’s the equivalent of having never been in a movie before, and now you’re starring in a Steven Spielberg movie,” said Friedle, who has gone on to enjoy a lucrative voiceover career with roles such as Lion-O in the “Thundercats” reboot, and Bumblebee in “Transformers: Robots in Disguise.”

Casting director Andrea Romano said Friedle won the part after the finalists were tested alongside veteran voice actor Conroy, who had been playing Batman and Bruce Wayne on “Batman: The Animated Series” since the early 1990s.

“They had that dynamic,” Romano said.

Conroy said the show’s futuristic setting gave him a good perspective on how to play the older version of Bruce.

“He wasn’t a doddering old man,” Conroy said. “They had him become a powerful lion in winter.”

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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the show digitally Oct. 15, with the Blu-ray boxed set to follow on Oct. 29.

Warner has remastered 41 episodes from their original elements, with the remaining episodes upscaled to HD. The Blu-ray will also include a newly remastered copy of the direct-to-video movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

The six-disc Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series — Limited Edition includes 15 bonus featurettes, including two new retrospectives: “Nostalgic Tomorrow,” a gathering of “Batman Beyond” production talent and cast; and “Knight Immortal,” an 80th anniversary celebration of the Batman character. Four episodes include audio commentary from producer Bruce Timm and select members of the production team.

The limited-edition Blu-ray, which will be individually numbered with a run of 50,000, will also include an exclusive chrome Funko Pop and lenticular art cards.

‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Blu-ray Takes Top Honors in 2019 Home Media Awards

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition earned the top prize in the ninth annual Home Media Awards, which honor the best home video releases of 2018, taking Title of the Year and TV on Disc of the Year.  It also won Best Complete TV Series Set.

Blu-ray Disc of the Year went to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s 2001: A Space Odyssey — 50th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.  It also won for Best Restoration.

Winners were chosen by a panel of judges in conjunction with an online consumer vote for eligible titles submitted for consideration by studios and distributors.

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2019 Home Media Award Winners

Title of the Year
Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

TV on Disc of the Year
Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Disc of the Year
2001: A Space Odyssey — 50th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Best Theatrical Disc
Avengers: Infinity War
Disney Direct-to-Consumer International/Marvel Studios

Best Direct-to-Video Movie
The Death of Superman
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Best Catalog Title
Creepshow: Collector’s Edition
Shout! Factory

Best Movie Collection
De Niro & De Palma: The Early Films
MVD Entertainment Group/Arrow Video

Best Documentary Movie
Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like
PBS Distribution

Best Indie/Small-Budget Film on Disc
The Endless
Well Go USA

Best Foreign Film on Disc
The Square
Magnolia Pictures

Best AV Quality/Blu-ray Movie
Coco
Disney Direct-to-Consumer International/Pixar

Best Current TV Series on Disc
Documentary Now: Seasons 1-2
Mill Creek Entertainment

Best Vintage TV Show on Disc
Doctor Who: Tom Baker — Season 1
BBC Studios

Best TV Movie or Miniseries
Sharp Objects
HBO Home Entertainment

Best TV Documentary or Nonfiction Special
Blue Planet II
BBC Studios

Best Complete TV Series Set
Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Best International TV Show on Disc
Blue Planet II
BBC Studios

Best AV Quality/Blu-ray TV
The Shield: The Complete Series
Mill Creek Entertainment

Best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Mission: Impossible — Fallout
Paramount Home Media Distribution

Best Compilation
Robin Williams: Comic Genius
Time Life

Best Extras/Bonus Material
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Disney Direct-to-Consumer International/Lucasfilm

Best Restoration
2001: A Space Odyssey — 50th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Best Upgrade
Benji: The Original Classic Blu-ray
Mill Creek Entertainment

Best Box Art
Star Trek: Discovery — Season 1
Paramount Home Media Distribution/CBS Home Entertainment

Best Packaging
Puppet Master: Toulon’s Trunk Collection
MVD Entertainment Group/Full Moon Features

Best Digital Presentation of a Movie
Mission: Impossible — Fallout
Paramount Home Media Distribution

Best Digital Presentation of a TV Show
Barry: Season 1
HBO Home Entertainment

Best Music/Performance DVD or Blu-ray
Sheryl Crow: Live at the Capitol Theatre
MVD Entertainment Group/Cleopatra Entertainment

Best Sports Disc
Super Bowl LII Champions: Philadelphia Eagles
Cinedigm

Best Kidvid Disc
The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island
Shout! Factory

Best Animation Disc
Coco
Disney Direct-to-Consumer International/Pixar

Best Action Disc
Mission: Impossible — Fallout
Paramount Home Media Distribution

Best Adventure Disc
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Comedy Disc
Robin Williams: Comic Genius
Time Life

Best Drama Disc
Call Me By Your Name
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Faith-Based Disc
Same Kind of Different as Me
Paramount Home Media Distribution

Best Disc of a Musical
The Greatest Showman
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Best Musical Adaptation
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Sci-Fi Disc
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Disney Direct-to-Consumer International/Lucasfilm

Best Horror Disc   
It — Chapter One
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Best Thriller Disc
A Quiet Place
Paramount Home Media Distribution

Best Disc of a Western
The Durango Kid Collection
Mill Creek Entertainment

Best Superhero Disc
Avengers: Infinity War
Disney Direct-to-Consumer International/Marvel Studios

Best Marketing Initiative
Deadpool Box Art Photobombs
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Judges’ Award
Detectorists: Complete Collection
RLJ Entertainment/Acorn TV

Fan-Favorite Title of the Year
Avengers: Infinity War
Disney Direct-to-Consumer International/Marvel Studios

Warner Releases Streamlined ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Blu-ray

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Nov. 27 released a streamlined version of its Batman: The Complete Animated Series Blu-ray boxed set.

The 12-disc set includes all 109 remastered episodes of the 1990s animated series along with legacy bonus material, the new 90-minute “The Heart of Batman” documentary, and copies of the previously released remastered Blu-rays of spinoff films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. The boxed set also includes a digital copy of the series.

“So that all interested fans have the opportunity to own this beloved series, WBHE felt the need to create another option to accommodate everyone,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, VP of family and animation marketing at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Warner has set an $89.99 SRP for the re-packaged release, compared with $112.99 for the limited edition.

The new version has different artwork from the limited edition released Oct. 30, which came with art cards and three pack-on mini figures of the show’s characters. That limited-edition run was limited to 70,000 copies, which are nearly sold out, according to Warner Bros. Copies are available through Amazon while supplies last.

 

Warner Adds Digital Copy to ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Blu-ray, Pushes Street Date Two Weeks

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has moved the Blu-ray release of Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition to Oct. 30 so it can include a digital copy redemption code in each set.

When the complete series was initially announced at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con International, the Blu-ray was scheduled for Oct. 16 but not slated to come with a digital copy of the show, which would be available as a separate purchase.

The Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray will include 109 remastered episodes plus the movies Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. In additional to the newly added digital copy, the Blu-ray boxed set will include a new hour-long retrospective documentary, “The Heart of Batman,” as part of a bonus section that includes 25 featurettes, including the original pilot promo, commentaries on several episodes, and introductions to five episodes by producer Bruce Timm.

‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Earns Fond Reflections as It Heads to Blu-ray

Among the great pantheon of adaptations of Batman over the years, “Batman: The Animated Series” is considered by many fans to be among the best representations of the character and his world.

Among the show’s latest milestones since it debuted in 1992, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the complete series on Blu-ray and digitally Oct. 30. To promote the upcoming release, several members of the show’s creative team and voice cast came to the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con International to discuss the show in a special panel and press events July 21.

“I think the best legacy of the show is the show itself and the fact that it keeps coming back,” said producer Paul Dini. “Now it’s at a point where it’s almost like a classic Disney movie or the Looney Tunes, or something like that.”

“Since the show has become iconic over the past several years, more fans have come up who actually had seen the show, who grew up with the show, and it’s always been very humbling to have been part of it,” said producer Eric Radomski.

Thinking back to the development of the series in the early 1990s, Radomski recalled a crucial meeting with Warner executives who wanted to run the concepts of the show by Tim Burton, who had directed the 1989 Batman movie and was working on its 1992 sequel, Batman Returns.

“As much as we admired what he had done in the films, ours had really gone so specifically into an art deco influence design and it was a little more polished and we had to think about the longevity of 65 episodes and not just one film,” Radomski said. “And even the portrayals in the movie, as much as we liked the dark tone, a lot of it was a little bit more exaggerated than we were intending. So we had gone down that path and we were happy as clams until they brought that up. So it’s like with any meeting with the executives, you worry they’re going to want us to change something, and we didn’t want to change anything. Obviously it was a great thrill to meet Tim for the first time because it was the beginning of his huge success, and we couldn’t have been more delighted to have him look at everything and just say, ‘That’s pretty cool … it looks great.’ It stood on its own, and it was such a huge relief and I think for me personally I gained just a whole other level of respect for him because he believed in a portrayal that was unique to itself.”

“We thought we’d make something really good, and we wanted to make something we wanted to watch, that we thought would be fun for ourselves,” said voice director Andrea Romano. “But who could have known that 27 years later, because we started two years before we released it, that we’d be talking about this today? And it’s something that I’m so proud of, and what’s amazing is it’s still good. It evolved and got better — we got better, the animation got better, the voice acting got better, my casting got better. Everything improved,”

Romano said the production team had to be especially creative to make the show they wanted despite the restrictions imposed by studios and networks about what could be shown in a cartoon.

“As time goes on you’re kind of allowed a little bit more, because we almost never showed blood,” Romano said. “Bruce Timm had to get special dispensation to show like a drop of blood, because blood was not shown in cartoons. It just wasn’t done. So we pushed as much as we could to get this to be not like the cartoons that I watched when I was [growing up].”

Romano said the quality of the show inspired the creative team to put a bit more effort into it to make it really special.

“We all put our guts into it because we wanted it to be really good,” Romano said. “We all loved the Adam West series because that was so fun, but we knew we wanted to make something that was 180-degrees different. It was just a completely different series, but with the same characters. Animation gave us a lot of freedom because the characters could do something physically and the voice actors could do something that they may never get to do on camera.”

However, like the 1960s “Batman” show, the animated series also became a destination for celebrities looking to guest star.

“I loved working with and finding these actors, different wonderful people who wanted to come in and play,” Romano said. “I didn’t have to go to agents and ask if they had anybody who wanted to come work on ‘Batman.’ They were calling me and saying they had 10 clients who wanted to come in and play on ‘Batman’ because they had seen the first 15 episodes and had just thought it was wonderful.”

The Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray will include 109 remastered episodes from the various iterations of the series (the final 24 episodes featured an updated animation style and were released under the banner “The New Batman Adventures”), plus the movies Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (both recently released as standalone Blu-rays).

The Blu-ray boxed set will include a new hour-long retrospective documentary, “The Heart of Batman,” as part of a bonus section that includes 25 featurettes, including the original pilot promo, commentaries on several episodes, and introductions to five episodes by producer Bruce Timm.

The set is listed at $112.99 and will be individually numbered with a production run of 30,000 copies (update: Warner Oct. 25 raised the run to 70,000). More than 2,000 copies were pre-ordered within the first 24 hours of availability on Amazon. The box will include the episodes spread over 10 discs, plus two bonus discs, as well as three Funko mini-figurines of Batman, the Joker and Harley Quinn, seven lenticular art cards and a slipcase. The set will also include a digital copy.

“’Batman’ was a success because a lot of different creative people brought different things to the table,” Dini said. “They brought their enthusiasm for the characters, they brought their artistic talent, they brought their sense of wanting to experiment, and just the love of the character, and it all worked.”

Update (8-28-18): This story has been adjusted to reflect a change in street date and the addition of a digital copy to the boxed set.