Darkman is a 1990 American superhero action film directed and co-written by Sam Raimi. It is based on a short story Raimi wrote that paid homage to Universal's horror films of the 1930s. The film stars Liam Neeson as Peyton Westlake, a scientist who is attacked and left for dead by a ruthless mobster, Robert Durant (played by Larry Drake) after his girlfriend, an attorney (Frances McDormand) runs afoul of a corrupt developer (Colin Friels). Unable to secure the rights to either The Shadow or Batman, Raimi decided to create his own superhero and struck a deal with Universal Studios to make his first Hollywood studio film. He was subjected to a grueling screenwriting process and equally difficult post-production battle with the studio.
Darkman was generally well received by critics and performed well at the box office, grossing almost $49 million worldwide, well above its $16 million budget. This financial success spawned two direct-to-video sequels, The Return of Durant (1994) and Die Darkman Die (1996), as well as comic books, video games, and action figures. Over the years, Darkman has become regarded as a cult film.