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Benjamin Melniker, One of the Men Who Brought Batman to the Big Screen, Has Died

The Bat Symbol from the 1989 Batman film, which was produced by Benjamin Melniker.
The Bat Symbol from the 1989 Batman film, which was produced by Benjamin Melniker.
Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Benjamin Melniker, a legendary Hollywood producer who helped bring Batman to the big screen, died Monday at the age of 104.

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A former MGM executive, Melniker was involved in some of the biggest movies of all-time, such as Ben Hur, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Dr. Zhivago. However, after leaving that company, he teamed up with Michael E. Uslan in 1979 to buy the movie rights to the DC Comics character Batman. Their first movie, Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, was an incredible success—and since then, Melniker has been credited as a producer on every single Batman movie, both live-action and animated, all the way up to last year’s Justice League.

Uslan announced the news on his Facebook. Read the touching, full post below.

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Another of Melniker’s colleagues, FJ Desanto, also posted this on his Instagram.

[Hollywood Reporter]

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

Prior to Melniker, the only successful Batman in movies was the 1966 Adam West version. When the 1989 Tim Burton movie hit, a lot of adults 30 and up basically said, “Wait, it isn’t a comedy?”

Those of us who were comic fans at the time saw a lot of people begin to take The Dark Knight a lot more seriously, eventually leading to a Renaissance for the character.