Batman: The Movie courtesy Fox Home Entertainment
Since the TV-on-DVD craze went mainstream around 2000-2001, one of the burning, unanswered questions has been "when will episodes from the Adam West version of Batman finally come to DVD?" The classic, campy series has a ton of fans, and lots of rumors surround the reasons behind its absence from the DVD market.

One popular rumor (possibly the most popular, especially on the internet) is that the hold-up is between Fox and Warner Brothers. But in a June 2006 interview with members of the Home Theater Forum website, executives from Warner Home Video stated that they have nothing to do with any sort of hold-up for Batman episodes. "This is an issue between DC (Comics) and Fox. Fox owns the series."

For their part, Fox has told us "We are continuing to work on participations issues and resolve, so that we might be able to bring it out. The issue is that there are several entities that have rights to this particular series. The contract language didn't clearly specify home entertainment." Other entities might include rights-holders to music, guest talent and/or characters, designers of unique props, etc.

But there is ONE part of the show fans can get on home video, because the contracts for it actually did contain clauses which could be used for splitting up home entertainment rights among the various entities. That would be Batman: The Movie, a theatrical film version from 1966 which was filmed after the end of the first season.

In it, the Dynamic Duo uses all of the tools at their disposal (including the Bat-Copter, the Bat-Boat, and even some "shark repellent Batspray") to defeat the combined forces of the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler and Catwoman. Originally released on DVD back in 2001, the disc contained a few cool extras including Commentary by stars Adam West and Burt Ward, a featurette about Batman, a Batmobile featurette, trailers for the film, and a photo gallery.

Now, with the big new theatrical film coming this summer ( The Dark Knight starring Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger), Fox has decided to bring out a new, improved version of Batman: The Movie. In fact, it's coming to Blu-ray Disc this time, and will be available on July 1st.

The Blu-ray will sport a new high definition widescreen transfer and a new English 5.1 DTS HD Lossless Audio soundtrack (the original English Mono audio is also included, for those who prefer the original theatrical soundtrack). Additionally, there are a ton of extras:
· Commentary by actors Adam West and Burt Ward
· Commentary by screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
· An Isolated Score Track in Lossless 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio
· "Batman: A Dynamic Legacy" Featurette (hi definition)
· "Caped Crusaders: A Heroes Tribute" Featurette (hi definition)
· "Gotham City's Most Wanted" Featurette (hi definition)
· 2001 35th Anniversary Piece (Interviews with Adam West & Burt Ward)
· "The Batmobile Revealed" with George Barris
· Batmobile Interactive 360 Degree Tour
· " Batman on Location: Mapping the Movie"
· "Holy Pop-Up Trivia Track, Batman!
· Original Teaser and Theatrical Trailers
· Various Photo Galleries, including "From the Vaults of Adam West" and more!

Cost for all of that will be $39.98 list price. Also available will be a Limited Edition package where the Blu-ray Disc is paired with a special 1/18th scale Batmobile from Hot Wheels. Only 5000 of those will be made available, and the suggested retail price will be $59.98. We imagine those will go very fast!

A fun quote from the movie is Batman saying, "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb!" Well, this is certainly no bomb of a movie: it's good fun, and great for kids (or just the kid inside of you) having almost two hours of campy comic book-style entertainment, in the best possible presentation.

And if we can't have the television episodes on home video disc just yet, then this will do to give us a taste of the good stuff while we wait (and wait and wait and wait...) - David Lambert