Benjamin Melniker was an American film producer and financier. Melniker was co-rights holder to the Batman brand in film and direct-to-video releases, credited as Executive Producer of all Batman movies made between 1989 and 2018, along with Michael E. Uslan.
In 1979, Melniker was approached by Michael E. Uslan at United Artists. Uslan proposed to him a more serious and dark movie project about Batman, and convinced him that the character could really work in a film, thus reinventing the whole genre of superhero movies. Melniker was impressed by Uslan’s ideas, and decided to proceed immediately to make a deal with DC Comics and get an option on the film rights, including animation (but excluding television), for Batman and all the characters attached to him.
On October 3, 1979, Melniker and Uslan concluded the agreement with DC, and founded Batfilm Productions, Inc.
The two began to propose the project to various Hollywood studios, but was rejected by all of them. Marshall Rogers was commissioned to create conceptual sketches for their pitch meetings. After several proposals, Melniker recalled two people, Peter Guber and Neil Bogart of Casablanca Records. He presented the project to Guber by phone, convincing him in a matter of minutes. A few days later Melniker and Uslan concluded the deal with Peter Guber, and his other associate Jon Peters. From that moment on, the ten years of waiting to take Batman to the big screen began. The mainstream success of Frank Miller's 1986 Dark Knight series helped push the producers away from yet another comedic approach to Batman.