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Michael Keaton Was Paid $2 Million For Acting As Batman In The Canceled Batgirl

There were a lot of reasons fans were excited to see "Batgirl," with one of the many highlights being the return of Michael Keaton as Batman, a role he has not played since he starred in the two Tim Burton-directed films "Batman" in 1989 and "Batman Returns" in 1992. And there appeared to be several reasons for him to suit up as the caped crusader once again, two million reasons, to be precise.

Had the superheroine movie not been shelved, fans would have been able to witness Keaton on screen with Batgirl, played by "In The Heights" star Leslie Grace. He would have most likely aided his fellow Gotham protector in her efforts to stop the comic book villain Firefly, played by "The Whale" star Brendan Fraser. But unfortunately, the only glimpse people received of Keaton's Batman in the motion picture meant for HBO Max was just a still posted by director Adil El Arbi.

While he will seemingly still appear in "The Flash" movie as the caped crusader, his future as Batman in the DCEU is currently a mystery. The actor understands the move not to release was a business decision which he considers to probably be a good one. After all, some might not realize that Keaton wasn't going to be a major player in the movie, and he wasn't going to be in the shelved "Batgirl" film for a very long time despite getting a robust paycheck. 

Keaton's Batgirl paycheck was sizable

More often than not, the only Hollywood films that are still willing to shell out the big bucks are either under the DC or Marvel banners. Studios are willing to hand out large sums for superhero movies, even to actors who are not featured for very long in the film. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Keaton earned $2 million for what insiders describe as a "glorified cameo" in "Batgirl."

There's no denying that it is a hefty sum for only a week's worth of work, especially considering the budgetary problems that led to the film making its way to the chopping block. The exiled DC flick reportedly went over its $80 million budget to reach the $90 million mark, making it too expensive for an exclusive streaming release, though it was also deemed too small for the big screen (via Vanity Fair). While it's unfortunate that no one got to see him in "Batgirl," Keaton fans can rest assured that the actor got a nice sum for briefly playing the character.

Even decades later, Keaton as Batman is still so in demand he can rake in a seven-figure paycheck for playing the DC legend, which isn't all the shocking. While the seasoned performer has made a name for himself playing a vast array of parts throughout his illustrious career, the man has been notorious for making big bucks when he enters the superhero genre.

Keaton has made millions making superhero movies over the years

If fans peruse Michael Keaton's impressive IMDb page, they will see a plethora of film credits, some better than others, and quickly they will notice there are several superhero-related titles on his resume, including, of course, "Batman." And it appears he has been paid very well for his work as a fictional billionaire who fights crime as a masked vigilante. While his $2 million "Batgirl" payday was quite a feat, he made an estimated $5 million the first time he played the part. Then in the sequel, the actor took home $11 million. He was even offered $15 million for a third film which did not happen (via Celebritynetworth.com).

Even when Keaton is playing a guy who used to play a superhero, he is able to court a worthwhile offer. He revitalized his career in "Birdman" as a struggling actor who was once a famous star, earning him a $5 million check and a Golden Globe. And he isn't just making dollars and cents for playing the good guy. His time on screen as the Vulture in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" reportedly netted him $10 million just to terrorize Tom Holland's Peter Parker (according to caknowledge.com).

It's safe to say Michael Keaton has made a good living working as, with, or against superheroes. But overall, his time as Batman seems to be the most lucrative endeavor he has embarked upon. But despite earning a lot as Bruce Wayne, some may not realize the actor got outshined in the payment department by a lot the first time he played the DC persona.

He earned much less than the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman

While playing Batman pays well, sometimes it seems being the bad guy is a better investment. While Keaton's $6 million payday for the 1989 Tim Burton movie "Batman" was impressive at the time, it truly pales in comparison to how much his costar made when it was all said and done.

Jack Nicholson, known for a wide range of well-received films, has played many characters, but one of his most memorable is, without a doubt, his time as the Joker. The prolific actor was getting about $10 million a film at the time which would have been a good chunk of the budget for "Batman." So instead, he was given $6 million but would also earn a percentage of not only what the film made but also a portion of the sales from the merchandise. His turn as the Clown Prince of Crime brought in $50 million, which would be doubled today if inflation is taken into account.

While Keaton's $2 million "Batgirl" check is quite an impressive accomplishment, Nicholson's Joker obviously has the last laugh when it comes to ridiculously large Batman-related payouts.