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What did curiosity do to the cat?
~ Max Shreck's most famous quote to Selina Kyle after she discovered his true intentions.
I'm the light of the city. I'm its mean, twisted soul. Does it matter who's Mayor?
~ Max Shreck to Bruce Wayne.

Maximillian "Max" Shreck is the secondary antagonist of Tim Burton's 1992 superhero film Batman Returns. He serves as Selina Kyle's ruthless boss and an ally of the Penguin.

He was portrayed by Christopher Walken, who also played Max Zorin in A View to a Kill, Frank White in King of New York, Vincenzo Coccotti in True Romance, the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow, Salvatore Maggio in Kangaroo Jack, Reed Thimple in The Country Bears, Cornelius Hatcher in The Rundown and King Louie in the 2016 version of The Jungle Book

History

Max Shreck & the Penguin

Max Shreck and the Penguin, partners-in-crime.

Max Shreck is the richest, most powerful man in Gotham City, and presents himself as a philanthropist and friend of the poor. Beneath this facade, however, he is shown to be ruthless, greedy and power-hungry, and is secretly planning to construct a power plant that will act as a capacitor and put him in control of the city's power supply. A widower, Max lives with his son Chip Shreck, whom he wants to inherit his businesses once he dies.

He is also shown to be a slumlord, deliberately making his buildings unsafe by cutting costs, and runs a chemical plant that pumps toxic waste in the city's water supply. He also murdered his business partner Fred Atkins, and bullies and terrorizes his timid secretary Selina Kyle.

When Selina discovers the true purpose of his power plant, he pushes her out of his office window; she survives. However, she reinvents herself as Catwoman, and dedicates herself to robbing Max's businesses and eventually killing him.

Max Schreck

Max Shreck in his costume at a masquerade ball.

One night, he is kidnapped by the Red Triangle Circus Gang and brought before their leader, The Penguin, who uses proof of his many crimes to blackmail Max into helping him take over Gotham City. To that end, Max bankrolls the Penguin's mayoral campaign, planning to use him as a puppet to control Gotham himself. He also wants to do a recall mayoral election; if Penguin is the Mayor he can approve Max's plan to build his Power Plant, since the current Mayor turned it down. 

When Batman plays a recording of the Penguin's true plans for Gotham — to "play this stinking city like a harp from hell" — the citizens of Gotham turn against the crime lord (now seeing him for what he really is), and Max turns his back on his former ally.

That night, Max throws a charity masquerade costume ball for Gotham's wealthy elite. The Penguin, flanked by his goons, crashes the party and announces that he is going to kill Gotham's first-born sons, starting with Chip. In a rare display of humanity, Max begs the Penguin to spare his son and take him instead.

The Penguin agrees, and takes Max hostage to his lair in Gotham's sewer. Max escapes, but Catwoman arrives and takes him prisoner, intent on killing him. Batman, having defeated the Penguin, stops her and pleads with her to turn Max in to the police. Catwoman refuses, however, and attacks Max, who shoots her several time
Dead Shreck

Max Shreck's charred corpse.

s, but doesn't kill her. Catwoman then puts a taser in her mouth and kisses Max, electrocuting him with the lair's power generator as well. After the smoke clears, Batman finds Max's charred corpse, but Catwoman is nowhere to be seen — implying that she survived. 

Quotes

I wish I could hand out world peace and unconditional love, wrapped in a big bow.
~ Max Shreck to the people of Gotham City.
Power surplus? Bruce, shame on you. No such thing. One can never have too much power. If my life has a meaning, that's the meaning.
~ Max Shreck to Bruce.
Mayors come and go. Blue bloods tire easy. You think you can go fifteen rounds with Muhammad Shreck?
~ Max Shreck, to Bruce Wayne.
Crime boss? Shows what you know, Mr. To-the-Manor-Born-with-a-Silver-Spoon. Oswald is Gotham's new golden boy. If his parents hadn't eighty-sixed him, you two might've been bunkies at prep school!
~ Max Shreck to Bruce Wayne.
Women. Nothing surprises me, Chip, except your late mother. Who woulda thought Selina had a brain to damage? Bottom line—she tries to blackmail me, I'll throw her out a higher window. Meantime, I got bigger fish to fry!
~ Max, to Chip, after Selina returns to work.
Ingenious costume. Let me guess — trust fund goody-goody?
~ Max, to Bruce, at his costume party
I'm the one you want. Ask yourself — isn't it Max Shreck who manipulated and betrayed you, eh? Isn't it Max, not Chip, who you wanna see immersed up to his eyeballs in raw sewage?
~ Max, to Penguin when he tries to take Chip prisoner
I don't know what you want, but I know I can get it for you, with a minimum of fuss! [...] Money, jewels, a very big ball of string.
~ Max, trying to bargain with Catwoman

Trivia

  • According to some stories, Max Shreck's role in the film was originally intended for Harvey Dent, who was played by Billy Dee Williams in Batman; he was only merely to be scarred at the climax of the film, making him his alter ego "Two-Face", which would follow into the next film, Tim Burton's Batman Forever. Williams has denied that it was ever the case, however, stating that he was only contracted to play Harvey Dent in the first film regardless.
  • Shreck is named after the late German silent film actor Max Schreck, who was famous for playing Count Orlok in F.W. Murnau's classic Nosferatu.
  • Along with Ross Webster from Superman III and Carl Grissom from Batman, Max Shreck is one of the few characters created in a DC Comics live-action movie who has not been featured in actual comic media since then. Interestingly, all three characters were created to replace in their role an actual comic character.
  • In one of Daniel Waters' script drafts, Shreck was discovered to be the Penguin's older brother, the "Golden Boy" of the Cobblepot Family, whereas the Penguin was the deformed outsider. Shreck was supposedly ashamed of his father, after he threw his baby brother into the sewer, and he emancipated himself from the Cobblepot Family as soon as he came of age.

Navigation

           TheBatman Villains

Comics
Alfred Stryker | Alice | Amanda Waller | Amygdala | Anarky | Arkham Knight | Arnold John Flass | Azrael | Baby Doll | Bane | Barbatos | The Batman Who Laughs | Black Glove | Black Mask | Blockbuster I | Blockbuster II | Brain | Broker | Brother EYE | Calculator | Calendar Man | Captain Fear | Carmine Falcone | Catman | Catwoman | Circus of Strange | Clayface | Claything | Clock King | Clownface | Club of Villains | Cluemaster | Commissioner Loeb | Composite Superman | Condiment King | Copperhead | Court of Owls | Crazy Quilt | Crime Doctor | Curtis Base | Dark Archer | David Cain | Dark Knights | Deacon Blackfire | Deadshot | Dealer | Deathstroke | The Dawnbreaker | The Devastator | Doctor Death | Doctor Dedalus | Doctor Double X | Doctor Hurt | Doctor Phosphorus | Doctor Randolph Porter | Dr. Silversmith | The Drowned | Electrocutioner | Emperor Penguin | Ernie Chubb | Faceless | Film Freak | Firebug | Firefly | Flamingo | Floronic Man | Gearhead | General Ulysses Armstrong | Gorilla Boss | Gotham City Police Department | Grant Walker | Great White Shark | The Grim Knight | H.A.R.D.A.C. | Harley Quinn | Holiday | Holly Robinson | Humpty Dumpty | Hugo Strange | Hush | Jack the Ripper | James Gordon, Jr. | Jason Todd | Joe Chill | Joker | Judge of Owls | Joker's Daughter | Key | KGBeast | King of Cats | King Snake | King Tut | Killer Croc | Killer Moth | Kite Man | Lady Shiva | League of Assassins | Leviathan | Lex Luthor | Lock-Up | Lloyd Ventrix | Mad Hatter | Mad Monk | Magpie | Malochia | Man-Bat | Maxie Zeus | The Merciless | Merrymaker | Mister Bloom | Monk | Mr. Freeze | Mrs. Freeze | Mr. Toad | Mutants | Nightslayer | Nocturna | Nyssa Raatko | Onomatopoeia | Orca | Outsider | Owlman | Penguin | Penny Plunderer | Phosphorus Rex | Planet Master | Poison Ivy | Polka Dot Man | Professor Arnold Hugo | Professor Pyg | Prometheus | Ra's al Ghul | Ragdoll | Ratcatcher | Reaper | Red Claw | Red Death | Reverse-Flash | Riddler | Roland Daggett | Roxy Rocket | Royal Flush Gang | Rupert Thorne | Sal Maroni | Scarecrow | Sensei | Sewer King | Signalman | Sinestro | Snowman | Solomon Grundy | Spellbinder | Squid | Steeljacket | Suicide Squad | Talia al Ghul | Tally Man | Ten Eyed Man | Terrible Trio | Thomas Wayne | Tiger Shark | Timecode | Tony Zucco | Tweedledum and Tweedledee | Two-Face | Ubu | Vandal Savage | Ventriloquist | Ventriloquist II | Ventriloquist III | Vertigo | Victim Syndicate | Victor Zsasz | Whisper A'Daire | Wrath | Zebra-Man

Theatrical Movies
Batman (1966): Joker | Catwoman | Penguin | Riddler
Batman (1989): Joker | Bob Hawkins | Alicia Hunt | Carl Grissom | Max Eckhardt | Vinnie Ricorso | Joe Chill
Batman Returns: Penguin | Red Triangle Circus Gang (Organ Grinder, Poodle Lady, Tattooed Strongman, Stungun Clown, Thin Clown, Fat Clown, Sword Swallower & Knifethrower Dame) | Max Shreck | Catwoman | Charles "Chip" Shreck
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: Phantasm | Joker | Salvatore Valestra | Arthur Reeves | Chuckie Sol | Buzz Bronski
Batman Forever: Riddler | Two-Face | Sugar | Spice | NygmaTech (Frogmen) | Neon Gang (Neon Gang Leader) | Salvatore Maroni
Batman & Robin: Poison Ivy | Mr. Freeze | Bane | Snowy Cones Thugs | Golums | Jason Woodrue
Batman Begins: Ra's al Ghul | League of Shadows (Ra's Decoy) | Scarecrow | Carmine Falcone | Victor Zsasz | Joe Chill
The Dark Knight: Joker | Joker's Thugs (Thomas Schiff, Chuckles, Kilson, Bus Driver, Happy, Dopey, Grumpy & Bus Driver) | Two-Face | Sal Maroni | The Chechen | Gambol | Lau | Bank Manager | Michael Wuertz | Burmese Bandit
The Dark Knight Rises: League of Shadows (Bane, Talia al Ghul & Barsad) | Catwoman | John Daggett
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Lex Luthor | Doomsday | Anatoli Knyazev | Mercy Graves | Cesar Santos | Amajagh | Joe Chill | Zod | Joker | Steppenwolf
Suicide Squad: Eyes of the Adversary (Enchantress & Incubus) | Suicide Squad (Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Killer Croc, Slipknot & Amanda Waller) | Joker's Gang (Joker, Jonny Frost, Panda Man & Monster T) | Griggs
The Lego Batman Movie: Joker | Harley Quinn | Phantom Zone Criminals (Zod, Sauron, Kraken, Lord Voldemort, Jaws & Gremlins) | Catwoman | Poison Ivy | Two-Face | Bane | Riddler
Joker: Clowns (Joker, Clown & Ambulance Clown) | Penny Fleck | Randall | Wall Street Three | Penny Fleck's Boyfriend

Direct-to-video Movies
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero: Mr. Freeze | Dr. Gregory Belson
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: Joker | The Jokerz (Chucko, Dee-Dee, Ghoul, Woof & Bonk) | Harley Quinn
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman: Penguin | Bane | Rupert Thorne | Carlton Duquesne
The Batman vs. Dracula: Dracula | Penguin | Joker
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies: Lex Luthor | Major Force | Metallo | Amanda Waller | Toyman | Solomon Grundy | Gorilla Grodd | Killer Frost | Lady Shiva | Giganta | Mongul | Captain Cold
Batman: Under the Red Hood: Jason Todd | Joker | Black Mask | Ra's al Ghul | Riddler
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse: Darkseid | Female Furies (Granny Goodness, Gilotina, Mad Harriet, Lashina & Stompa) | Doomsday
Batman: Year One: Batman | Commissioner Loeb | Carmine Falcone | Arnold John Flass | Catwoman | Joker
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Batman | Joker | Mutant Leader | Ellen Yindel | Harvey Dent | Selina Kyle
Son of Batman: Deathstroke | League of Assassins (Ra's al Ghul & Talia al Ghul) | Ubu | Killer Croc | Man-Bats
Batman: Assault on Arkham: Suicide Squad (Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider, KGBeast) | Joker | Riddler | Penguin | Scarecrow | Victor Zsasz | Bane | Two-Face | Poison Ivy
Batman vs. Robin: Court of Owls (Samantha Vanaver, Talon, Owls Lieutenant, & Talon Warriors) | Dollmaker
Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts: Animalitia (Penguin, Killer Croc, Man-Bat, Cheetah & Silverback)
Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem: Joker | Scarecrow | Clayface | Silver Banshee | Solomon Grundy
Batman: Bad Blood: League of Assassins (Talia al Ghul, The Heretic, Onyx, Firefly, Tusk, Mad Hatter, Electrocutioner, Hellhound, Calculator, & Killer Moth) | Black Mask
Batman: The Killing Joke: Joker | Paris Franz
Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants: Penguin | Mr. Freeze | Cheetah | Hush | Mad Hatter | Two-Face | Bane | Chemo | Killer Croc | Clayface | Joker | Dr. Kirk Langstrom
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders: Joker | Penguin | Riddler | Catwoman | Archer | Black Widow | Bookworm | Clock King | Egghead | False Face | King Tut | Louie the Lilac | Mad Hatter | Minstrel | Mr. Freeze | Sandman | Shame | Siren
Batman and Harley Quinn: Harley Quinn | Poison Ivy | Floronic Man
Batman vs. Two-Face: Two-Face | Hugo Strange | Catwoman | King Tut | Bookworm | Joker | Penguin | Riddler | Clock King | Egghead | Mr. Freeze | Shame | Harley Quinn
Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Riddler | Clayface | Joker | Mr. Freeze | Catwoman | Penguin | Harley Quinn | Poison Ivy
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight: Jack the Ripper | Barbara-Eileen Gordon | Selina Kyle | Harvey Dent | Hugo Strange | Ivy
Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay: Professor Zoom | Suicide Squad (Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, Copperhead, Black Manta, Punch, Jewelee, & Count Vertigo) | Killer Frost | Blockbuster | Silver Banshee | Vandal Savage | Knockout | Scandal Savage | Professor Pyg | Tobias Whale | League of Assassins (Deathstroke) | Two-Face
Batman Ninja: Joker | Harley Quinn | Catwoman | Gorilla Grodd | Bane | Penguin | Poison Ivy | Deathstroke | Two-Face
Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Foot Clan (Shredder & Baxter Stockman) | League of Assassins (Ra's al Ghul & Ubu) | Joker | Penguin | Harley Quinn | Mr. Freeze | Scarecrow | Two-Face | Poison Ivy | Bane
Batman: Hush: Riddler/Hush | Catwoman | Poison Ivy | Bane | Joker | Harley Quinn | Clayface | Scarecrow | Lex Luthor | Lady Shiva | Two-Face | Penguin | Mr. Freeze | Thomas Elliot

Television
Batman: The Animated Series
Joker | Two-Face | Harley Quinn | Penguin | Catwoman | Rupert Thorne | Riddler | Poison Ivy | Scarecrow | Mad Hatter | Killer Croc | Clayface | Ra's al Ghul | Mr. Freeze | Man-Bat | Ventriloquist and Scarface | Roland Daggett | Clock King | Bane | Hugo Strange | Lloyd Ventrix | Kyodai Ken | Baby Doll | Emile Dorian | Red Claw | Boss Biggis | Sewer King | Talia al Ghul | Maxie Zeus | Lock-Up | Professor Milo | Count Vertigo | Daniel Mockridge

The Batman
Joker | Penguin | Bane | Catwoman | Mr. Freeze | Killer Croc | Man-Bat | Firefly | Riddler | Punch & Judy | Kabuki Twins | Hugo Strange | Cluemaster | Ragdoll | Temblor | Poison Ivy | Tony Zucco | Count Vertigo | Harley Quinn | Maxie Zeus | Clayface | Francis Grey | Killer Moth | D.A.V.E. | Dracula | Rumor | Toyman | Mirror Master | Lex Luthor | Black Mask | Sinestro | Joker 2.0 | Prank | Killgore Steed | Team Penguin | Julie | Spellbinder | Cosmo Krank

Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn | Poison Ivy | Joker | Scarecrow | Queen of Fables | Darkseid | Parademons | Penguin | Mr. Freeze | Lex Luthor | Bane | Killer Croc | Man-Bat | Riddler | Kite Man | Doctor Psycho | Clayface | King Shark | Sy Borgman | Doctor Trap | Frank the Plant | Two-Face | Catwoman | Nick Quinzel | Sharon Quinzel

           Tim Burton LogoVillains

Movies
Beetlejuice: Beetlejuice
Batman (1989): Joker | Bob Hawkins | Alicia Hunt | Carl Grissom | Max Eckhardt | Vinnie Ricorso | Joe Chill |
Edward Scissorhands: Jim
Batman Returns: Penguin | Red Triangle Circus Gang (Organ Grinder, Poodle Lady, Tattooed Strongman, Stungun Clown, Thin Clown, Fat Clown, Sword Swallower & Knifethrower Dame) | Max Shreck | Catwoman | Charles "Chip" Shreck
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie Boogie | Lock, Shock and Barrel
Batman Forever: Riddler | Two-Face | Sugar | Spice | NygmaTech (Frogmen) | Neon Gang (Neon Gang Leader) | Salvatore Maroni
James and the Giant Peach: Aunt Sponge | Aunt Spiker | Rhino | Skeleton Pirates | Shark
Mars Attacks!: Martian Leader | Martians (Martian Ambassador & Martian Girl)
Sleepy Hollow (1999): Lady Van Tassel | Headless Horseman | Reverend Steenwyck
Planet of the Apes (2001) General Thade | Attar
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Arthur Slugworth
Corpse Bride: Barkis Bittern | Maudeline Everglot
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Sweeney Todd | Mrs. Lovett | Judge Turpin | Beadle Bamford | Jonas Fogg | Adolfo Pirelli
9: Fabrication Machine | 1 | 8 | Machines (Cat Beast, Winged Beast, Seamstress, Steel Behemoths, Seeker Drones & Spiderbots) | Chancellor Fredinand | The Chancellor's Party
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Red Queen | Knave of Hearts | Card Soldiers | The Jabberwock | Jubjub Bird | Hamish Ascot
Dark Shadows: Angelique Bouchard | Julia Hoffman
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Adam
Frankenweenie: Mr. Whiskers | Shelley | Were-Rat | Sea Monkeys | Mr. Burgermeister
Big Eyes: Walter Keane
Miss Peregrine's Homes for Peculiar Children: Mr. Barron
Dumbo (2019): V.A. Vandevere | Neils Skellig | Pink Elephants | Rufus Sorghum

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