Christian Bale is of course best-known for playing the gravelly-voiced Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. He’s also an Oscar-winning actor who has appeared in many acclaimed drama movies. One thing that he’s certainly not known for is singing and dancing in musicals. But Christian Bale is actually a former child actor, whose first movie was released when he just 13-years-old. And one of his earliest roles was in a Disney musical that was a box office flop.
Christian Bale’s breakthrough role was in 1987’s Empire of the Sun – one of the lesser-known, and most underrated Steven Spielberg movies. It’s set in Shanghai during World War Two, and Bale plays a privileged British ex-pat who is separated from his parents and placed in a camp during the war.
When Bale was older, but still a teenager, he starred in 1992’s Newsies directed by Kenny Ortega (Hocus Pocus, the High School Musical trilogy). It’s about the 1899 newsboy strikes in New York City and features the iconic line; “Headlines don’t sell papes, newsies sell papes!” David Moscow, who plays young Tom Hanks in Big, plays one of the lead roles.
Newsies holds the dubious record of being one of the lowest-grossing live-action films produced by Disney. It’s opening weekend grosses were so low, it was pulled from most theaters and ended up making under $3 million on a $15 million budget.
However, Newsies was shown on The Disney Channel, leading to many people developing formative crushes on Bale and growing up with a love of the teen movie. It now has a fairly big fanbase and was adapted into a stage musical in 2011.
Find out if where we placed Christian Bale in our best Batman actors, ranked and if he crops up on our list of the best actors of all time. Check out our list of the best Disney movies and the best Disney live-action remakes.