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#Batman80: How TNT Africa celebrated 80 years of Batman

Batman may have been around for 80 years, but artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger's hero still manages to captivate audiences from all ages.
Guillermo Farre. Image supplied.
Guillermo Farre. Image supplied.

First introduced in the Detective Comics #27 in 1939, part of the Caped Crusader's appeal lies in the fact that he doesn't have superpowers and just wants to ensure that his city is free from evil - something all of us can relate to.

TNT Africa recently celebrated the comic book hero with a string of events – including signalling the Bat-Signal from the tallest building in Africa.

TNT’s head of channels general entertainment Iberia, France and Africa and Batman fan, Guillermo Farre tells us more about what makes Batman iconic, TNT Africa’s plans for the future and shares his thoughts on whether or not Batman could beat Superman in an arm wrestle...

What makes Batman such an iconic superhero to you?

Batman has one of the most fascinating and dramatic origin stories ever. This makes him a very deep character and, even if he lives in a comic-book world, easy to relate to and understand everything he fights for.

As a kid, Batmania took me by storm and I must confess that what I enjoyed the most about Batman back then were his gadgets and all the amazing and quirky villains he had to battle.

Who is your favourite cinematic Batman?

They say that first love is the deepest, and I guess that is the reason why Tim Burton’s Batman is still my favourite. Maybe Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is a better piece of cinematic work, but the 1989 Batman (with Michael Keaton) has everything: a charismatic villain, Prince’s soundtrack, Kim Basinger and the coolest Batmobile ever!

Tell us more about how TNT Africa celebrated the Caped Crusader’s 80th birthday?

On Saturday, 21 September, TNT Africa paid homage to Batman as part of the international celebrations, with premium programming and an emblematic projection, lighting up the tallest building in Africa.

Starting at sunset, TNT Africa took over the façade of The Leonardo building, rising 150m above Sandton’s skyline in the heart of Africa’s richest square mile.

In sisterly coordination with fellow WarnerMedia companies – Warner Bros. and DC Comics – South African Batman fans were immersed in an expansive Batman show, where TNT projected ever-shifting blockbuster scenes and iconic visuals from the much-loved Batman movies against the Sandton skyscraper.

The highlight of the event started a few hours into the light fest, where generations of fans got to honour the timeless hero, who has been gracing audiences for over 80 years, as the iconic Bat-Signal lit up the Sandton skyline.

The Bat-Signal could be spotted at the same time across the world, in Melbourne, Tokyo, Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Berlin, London, Rome, Barcelona, Montreal, Los Angeles and New York.

On the official Batman Day, Saturday, 21 September, TNT spoilt our viewers with more than 12 hours of non-stop, blockbuster live-action Batman films. All the classics were there, including the Burton, Schumacher and Nolan films.

How has TNT Africa grown since it was first introduced?

After a successful rebrand in September 2018, the channel numbers have climbed and are now higher than ever before. Based on the choice to have the channel move away from classic silver-screen movies, to be properly tailor-made for African fans, TNT Africa (DSTV channel 137) now offers the best of contemporary and cult Hollywood blockbusters for African Hollywood fans, such as the top-performing Blade, Spiderman and Dark Knight trilogies.

With more than 70,000 viewers in the 15 years+ category, TNT achieved its highest performance ever in August 2019. This led the channel to climb up the ratings, taking the number two spot amongst all movie channels in South Africa – we moved up five places in one year!

For the first time in its history, TNT ranked number five amongst 109 pay-TV channels this past August, moving up 14 places compared to August last year, following the launch for TNT in Africa. More than 10.5-million people tuned in to TNT on DSTV in August 2019, driving an increase of 146% year on year. A wonderful way to celebrate the channel's first anniversary!

What can we expect from TNT Africa in the future?

Well, this month, we are celebrating our first anniversary in Africa so for the month of October, we have an amazing celebratory TNT stunt: Happy First Anniversary TNT. The programming for the on-air anniversary celebrations includes our most popular films, according to our African fan base, which will be shown during all weekends in October.

The stunt includes films like The Spiderman trilogy, as well as Terminator 2Jurassic Park 3 (2001) and Green Lantern (2011), to name a few!

For the 2020 programming slate, TNT will continue to present smash-hit blockbusters to our African fans, with famous superhero sagas such as Superman and the Dark Knight trilogy, as well as family classics with Jumanji, The GooniesBeetlejuice and horror references with The Shining and Nightmare on Elm Street.

And, finally, who’d win in an arm-wrestling match: Batman or Superman?

If we stick to comic-book science, I’m afraid to say that it would definitely be Superman (even if Batman is by far my favourite superhero!).

Stay tuned to TNT Africa on the website, Twitter and Facebook.

About Maroefah Smith

Enthusiastic UCT graduate with a passion for fashion, film and words.

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