When Will Smith promoted his superhero comedy Hancock he joked that when the inevitable porn knock-off was made, the schlockmeisters wouldn’t even have to change the title. Smith was acknowledging the near pandemic frequency of low-brow, low-budget pornographers who hijack mainstream movies and, with little evidence of wit, transform them into adult entertainment. Edward Scissorhands, West Side Story and Saving Private Ryan, to name a few, have been reimagined as the Edward Penis Hands, Breast Side Story and Shaving Ryan’s Privates. It’s easy to create a lascivious sounding title; it’s much harder to recreate the essence and look of the original source material.
Vivid Video, an adult film company, has recently released Batman XXX: A Porn Parody. CNBC.com reported that the film’s “two trailers garnered over 1 million views on YouTube and the DVD has topped sales charts for nearly two months.” The Hollywood Reporter estimated Vivid films sales account for a “$100 million slice of an industry that has been estimated to bring in as much as $13 billion a year (compared to mainstream box office of $10.6 billion).”
Judging from the two trailers, the filmmakers have accurately and slavishly copied the glossy and colorful look of the popular Batman 1960s TV show. The costumes are near perfect facsimiles of the outfits worn by the original cast (although I’m pretty sure that Adam West’s duds did not have “XXX” emblazed across his chest.) Reuters reported that Vivid implied that in an effort to make the outfits look authentic they hired the show’s original costume designers.
Batman XXX: The Porn Parody recreates hallmark moments from the original show including: Batman dancing the Batusi, Robin idiosyncratically using the interjection “Holy,” the Dynamic duo chit-chatting while climbing up the side of a building, purple-suited and green-haired Joker laughing maniacally, and sultry Catwoman slinking suggestively around her lair. Unlike the TV show, the porn version posits what happens when the heroes take off their costumes and make nice with the bad guys and gals.
During production of the original series, Caesar Romero didn’t want to shave off his famous mustache to play the Joker and the producers didn’t want to alter the look of the iconic baddie. A solution was devised whereby the make-up team covered up and mashed down the offending facial hair with copious amount of white paint. The near perfect result is that unless you know about the secret stash you wouldn’t notice it. Amusingly, the actor portraying The Joker in the porn parody also sports a mustache that is similarly but, in this case, purposefully not completely concealed.
In the trailer, we also see a Batmobile so authentic that I wondered at first if the filmmakers illegally used footage from the original show. They didn’t; they simply rented a replica. Familiar sound-alike music punctuates the action, and we are reminded of the cartoon that preceded the series starring Adam West and that words like “Kapow!” and “Thwack!” were sprinkled over fight scenes.
Batman XXX, sold for a whopping $36.79 at Vivid’s website, has proven to be so popular that the company created a new division called Vivid-Superhero which will be tasked with creating other superhero-inspired films. Superman XXX is already in preproduction and future films will feature other DC and Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Wonder Woman and Captain America.
The roots of these superherocentric porn films lie somewhere between Slash fiction (where writers create stories that depict fictional characters engaged in sexual situations) and fan-films (where amateur filmmakers makes moves based on their favorite characters for their own amusement).
Because fan-films are rarely made as commercial ventures, the fan community was surprised that DC comics (as well as Paramount and other film studios) targeted them, aspiring Christopher Nolans, with legal cease-and-desist letters. The well-intentioned fans were relieved when DC changed its official position in 2008 by stating “We’re against anything that monetizes our assets and our copyrights without our permission. We are not against things where people use our assets if they don’t do anything monetarily with them.”
At the end of the Batman XXX trailer, a disclaimer states obviously that the film is a parody and that Batman and the gang are copyrighted characters that are owned by DC and Warner Bros. who are not affiliated with Batman XXX. Given the all-too-faithful recreations of the original show’s look and sound, Vivid Video is probably testing the legal limits between parody and copyright violation. The 2011 release of Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody will no doubt further intensify the discussion.
© 2010 Mark Edlitz
Categories: Blog, Reviews Tags: Adam West, Batman XXX, Caesar Romero, Captain, Christopher Nolans, Edward Scissorhands, Hancock, Hollywood Reporter, Mark Edlitz, Reuters, Reviews, Saving Private Ryan, Slash, Spider-Man, The Hollywood Reporter, USD, Vivid Video, Warner Bros, West Side Story, Will Smith, YouTube, actor, batman, movies, white paint, xxx
You know, when I was at the apex of reading comics, there was one reboot that made me stop reading them to the extent that I was. It was Amazing Spider-Man. The editorial staff at Marvel, in all their glorious wisdom, decided that the Peter Parker that we the readers knew and loved for over 200 issues wasn’t Peter at all, but a clone named Ben Reilly. And even though they said “Whoops, we take it back,” the damage was done. I was no longer a faithful reader of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It was a big ol’ fail of a semi-reboot. And they had another one recently after the whole Civil War thing where Spidey revealed himself publically, but Mephisto said “Backsies!” and everything was back to a semi-status quo.
Now, the big kerfluffle and the latest character to get a reboot, is everybody’s favorite superhero born with the concept of female bondage: Wonder Woman. Well, I don’t know much about her tangled timeline, but it sounds like she is due for a reboot. Will the masses flock to the title knowing that they don’t need to know what happened before? Will they alienate all the loyal readers who have been rewarded with sticking with the title through thick and thin? Do those readers even exist anymore? (Note to self…future Superhero Cinema News blog entry comparing the music industry’s CD sales to comic book industry’s subscription sales).
I wish DC the best of luck. They’re not my comic publisher of choice (heck, I buy more Dark Horse titles now than Marvel), but I don’t wish them ill. I don’t necessarily hate thee, but I scoff at their attempt to reboot. You never know.
And here is the new costume to go with the reboot. Less skin, more black leather. May all fanboys drool:
I grew up loving Spider-Man. (A weird way to start a review of Planet Hulk, but go with me here). I started with issue 248 way back in the day and my mom purchased it for me at a local drug store. She said to go over to the spinny rack and pick one out. Sweet! My 8-year old eyes perused the racks and I had narrowed it down to the one with a bad guy looming over Spider-Man and one with a big green monster on the cover. I chose the webhead because the other one frightened me too much. Yikes!
I don’t have that same fear of the Hulk now that I did then, however, so I was able to really enjoy Planet Hulk. And this one was a great movie. It had an emotional core with the Hulk and Caiera and great fighting scenes in the gladiator-style arena. You can’t beat the ones in the beginning where the Hulk is just trying to get out and doesn’t play well with others, but when he joins the fight, it’s over pretty quick! Hulk does indeed smash.
One of the scenes that has stayed with me weeks after I have watched the movie and is the most heart-wrenching is when Caiera attempts to save a little girl from the second invasion of the spore-things. Truly sad and gives this film weight and makes it not merely a superhero movie, but a film with depth that will have you rooting for the Hulk and enjoying the beauty that is this movie.
Opinions and corrections
1. Mob boss in Batman Begins was Carmine Falcone.
2. What Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are doing next.
3. Jonathan rants about Fantastic Four 2.
1. Spider-Man box office post Pirates 3
2. Several scenes of Dark Knight will be shot in IMAX format.
3. William Hurt playing “Thunderbolt” Ross in Incredible Hulk.
4. Iron Man going for PG-13.
5. Supergirl coming to Smallville.
6. Matthew Fox is Racer X in Speed Racer.
7. Heroes Season 2 casting.
8. Teen Titans movie, for Warner Brothers.
9. Hasbro renews deal with Paramount for feature film of GI Joe.
10. Transformers moved up 1 day.
11. Warner Bros developing Thundercats,
12. Walt Disney in deal with Stan Lee.
13. Role Playing videogame “City of Heroes” being developed.
14. Superman vs. Doomsday will premiere at Comic Con.
1. Criss Angel (Mindfreak) In Mandrake
2. Zach Snyder still wants Butler in Watchmen.
3. John Cusack wants in Watchmen.
Week of March 28th, 2007 (This was uploaded 2 weeks late, the next show will follow very quickly)
1. Michael does a mea culpa about Captain Marvel/Shazam
2. Episode counts for the Superman 1966 and Batman 1977 animated series DVDs
3. Additional details on Whiteout and the Surrogates
4. Bud Collier’s history playing Superman
5. Joel Silver quote about the Wonder Woman Movie
1. Box Office TMNT, 300, and Ghost Rider all on the charts
2. Gatchaman next animated film from makers of TMNT
3. Final Spider-Man 3 Trailer
4. Robot casting finally for Transformers
5. Emile Hirsch cast as Speed Racer
6. Original Birdman and Space Ghost series coming to DVD July 17
7. Masked Magician graphic novel coming, yes, really
1. Alan Dale not in The Dark Knight
2. Simon Pegg and Jackie Earle Haley for Rorshach?
3. Is Shaun Toub the Mandarin in Iron Man?
4. Johnny Depp and Antonio Banderas in Sin City 2
5. Matthew Modine likely to be in The Incredible Hulk, part unknown
We answer an email from Jared of Pensacola Fl, and talk about who the villain Morlun is from Spider-Man and could he be a future movie villain.
Categories: Podcasts Tags: Alan Dale, Antonio Banderas, Bud Collier, Captain, Emile Hirsch, Jackie Earle Haley, Joel Silver, Johnny Depp, Marvel, Matthew Modine, Shaun Toub, Simon Pegg, Speed Racer 6, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 3, TMNT 3, The Dark Knight 2, The Incredible Hulk, Transformers 5, the Wonder Woman Movie News
Friday The New Breed
6:00pm Blade II (2002)
8:00pm The Incredibles (2004)
10:00pm Hellboy (2004)
Saturday Marvel Madness
8:00am Captain America (1966) Animated
8:30am Sub-Mariner (1966) Animated
9:00am Incredible Hulk (1966) Animated
9:30am Spider-Man (1967) Animated
10:00am The Amazing Spider-Man (1978)
11:30am Spider-Man Animated (2002) Flash Memory with Jeffrey Combs
12:00pm The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) with Daredevil
1:30pm Incredible Hulk (1982) Animated Origin of the Hulk
2:00pm X2: X-Men United (2003)
4:00pm Fantastic Four (1994) Unreleased Feature
5:30pm Fantastic Four (1978) Animated and Trailers for new FF movie
6:00pm Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979) TV Movie
7:30pm X-Men Evolution (2004) Animated with Captain America
8:00pm Dr. Strange (1978) TV Movie
9:30pm Incredible Hulk (1996) Animated with Dr. Strange
10:00pm Doctor Mordrid (1992) “Dr. Strange” film starring Jeffrey Combs
Sunday DC Dazzle
8:00am Superman (1966) Animated
8:30am Flash (1966) Animated
9:00am Justice League (1966) Animated
9:30am Justice League Unlimited (2004) Fearful Symmetry
with Jeffrey Combs
10:00am Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
11:30am Batman Fan Films and Trailers for Batman Begins
12:00pm The New Original Wonder Woman (1975)
1:30pm Justice League Unlimited (2004) Hawk and Dove
2:00pm Upcoming Superhero Projects Discussion
3:00pm The Flash (1990) Captain Cold with Jeffrey Combs
4:00pm Superman: The Movie (1978)