Movies

Batman Composer Danny Elfman Was Unhappy With How Score Was Used

Danny Elfman has scored an array of films ranging from Dick Tracy to Men in Black, but he’s perhaps best known for his many collaborations with director Tim Burton. Elfman did the score for Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and much more, including Batman and Batman Returns. However, Elfman revealed in a recent episode of Premier Guitar that he was unhappy with the way the 1989 Batman score turned out.

“I was terribly unhappy with the dub in Batman,” Elfman shared. “They did it in the old-school way where you do the score and turn it into the ‘professionals’ who turn the nobs and dub it in. And dubbing had gotten really wonky in those years. We recorded [multi-channel recording on] three channels — right, center, left — and basically, they took the center channel out of the music completely.”

“It didn’t have any care put into it,” he added. “I’ve had many scores play in big action scenes that really propelled the scene. And in the end of the [Batman] dub, I realized I could have had the orchestra play anything. I could have scored the film with some percussion, a harmonica, and a banjo because all you hear are some percussion hits in big moments, but you can’t really hear what the orchestra is doing.”

“That was my first lesson in how so-called professionals can take a score and the soundtrack to a movie and just do their thing in a very noncommittal way that is easiest for them; plunk it off to the side and just get the dialogue,” Elfman explained.

Elfman will soon be returning to the world of comic book movies to score Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness for Marvel. “I am starting to do bits of pre-work for Doctor Strange 2 that Sam Raimi‘s directing,” Elfman told Inverse. “Even though I don’t start it for some months, there’s bits of recorded music they need for the sets.”

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This will mark Elfman’s second Marvel Cinematic Universe film after doing the music for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Elfman is no stranger to working with Raimi as he also composed the music for Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. As for Batman, the next film to tackle the Dark Knight will be The Batman, which is being helmed by Matt Reeves and scored by Michael Giacchino.

Are you surprised to learn Elfman’s thoughts on the Batman score? Tell us in the comments!

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