Tim Burton’s Batman Saved Prince From Severe Financial Debt
It may be hard to imagine Prince as anything other than a perfect success, yet by the time he was approached to help produce the soundtrack for Tim Burton’s Batman, he was struggling financially. There were a lot of reasons for his finances being in that position. Likewise, there were so many reasons for him to agree to this deal. And it looks like that decision saved him.
Tim Burton’s Batman movie is still shockingly iconic, even to this day. So it’s no wonder that many of us have positive opinions about anything involved in the process. The movie came out in 1989, and it broke the box office. Now it’s still remembered fondly, but has picked up almost a cult classic vibe.
Prince’s album was the first of its kind: an album marketed as being inspired by a movie. It just hadn’t been done before. And of course, the movie using some of those tracks for advertising purposes didn’t hurt things any.
Behind the Mask
This deal ended up being one of those right place, right time moments for Prince. Everything worked out so perfectly for him. Prince was in severe financial debt—thanks to the many projects he was constantly working on. So this deal allowed him to have a creative outlet, an advertising setup that he wouldn’t have to pay for, and a chance to get out of debt.
If Albert Magnoli hadn’t come back on board to help Prince with his finances, this deal might not have happened. It was Magnoli who bartered with Warner Brothers for the terms. He encouraged Tim Burton to work with Danny Elfman for the movie score. The plan was to have Elfman write the score, play the (raw) movie for Prince, and see where inspiration took him. Then the movie would be free to pick and choose Prince’s songs as they fit the scenes. Or not, depending on how they felt.
The whole setup turned out to be a stroke of pure genius. Not only did it help to promote the new Batman movie, but it took Prince out of the negatives, finally giving the artist the financial freedom to get back to doing what he loved.
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