Max Shreck is the secondary antagonists of 1992 film Batman Returns. He serves as Selina Kyle's depraved boss and an unusual ally to the Penguin.

He was portrayed by Christopher Walken.


Max Shreck & the Penguin

Max Shreck and the Penguin, partners-in-crime

Max is well-loved by the people of Gotham City and his son, Chip, but nobody really knows his dark secrets, which range from killing his best friend and business partner, Fred Atkins, and flushing his body parts down the toilet; dumping toxic waste in the Gotham River; owning secret fire traps within Gotham; murdering his secretary Selina Kyle when she uncovered his evil plans; and presumably murdering his own wife.

On the outside, Max appears to be giving and caring, but in actuality, he's really aggressive and a big bully. He wants to build a large power plant which he says will be good for the city when, in reality, it would eventually suck the power dry from Gotham, leaving a fortune of money in his legacy. He then ends up getting blackmailed by the Penguin into helping him become an important figure in Gotham, but Schreck manipulates the Penguin as much as the Penguin thinks he is manipulating him. Schreck attempts to make Penguin the new Mayor of Gotham City in order to attract good publicity for himself and control Gotham through the Penguin, or "Oswald Cobblepot" as the Penguin called himself. If the Penguin becomes the mayor, he can approve of Schreck's power plant and since the original mayor disapproved it and the main reason why he is calling for a recall election. Max and Oswald appear to develop a strange kind of friendship.


Max Shreck in his costume at a masquerade ball

Max was born into poverty, but fought his way to power through cunning and ruthlessness, developing criminal connections along the way. As such, like Penguin, he has a resentment of people, such as Bruce Wayne, who were born to wealth ("To the manor born with a silver spoon," as Max contemptuously refers to Bruce). Unfortunately, when Oswald's criminal enterprises are exposed, Max abandons him. Oswald flees back to the sewers, once more taking on the name "Penguin" and vowing revenge.

Max Shreck corpse

Max Shreck's charred corpse

Meanwhile, Selina had been reincarnated as the supervillain Catwoman and vowed vengeance against him for killing her. Max is killed in the end when Selina kisses him with an electric taser while she grabbed some exposed wires, frying him and leaving a charred corpse behind.

Despite being a horrible person, Max loved his son as he willingly took Chip's place when the Penguin came for him. It's likely Chip takes over his father's business or not since Batman exposed all of Max's dealings and shutting down his operations and leave Chip with nothing.