Batman, Time Warner, and franchise filmmaking in the conglomerate era
Owczarski, Kimberly Ann, 1975-
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Spanning the nearly two decades since the Time Warner merger and the arrival of Batman in theaters, this study explains how media conglomeration affects the development of key properties by providing an extensive understanding of a film franchise. Beginning with Batman in 1989 and ending with Batman Begins in 2005, I argue that examining the Batman film franchise is one way to understand contemporary Hollywood. Through an integration of archival research, critical discourse analysis, and textual analysis, this study presents a comprehensive view of the Batman films by focusing on the development of this groundbreaking franchise, its impact on Time Warner, and what it tells us about the state of the contemporary film industry as a whole. Key issues of authorship, branding, and genre are integral aspects of the production of franchise films, and are essential themes that I discuss in this study. The story of the Batman franchise is not only about a multi-mediated property, but also a conglomerate’s attempt to define itself within the increasingly competitive entertainment industry. By following the developments with the Batman franchise, Time Warner, and the film industry since 1989, this dissertation examines the conglomerate era and the place of the franchise film within it. Thus, I argue that the Batman franchise’s arc provides the framework for understanding the changes which have occurred in the industry, particularly in regard to media conglomeration.