A good 20 years after the awful, awful Batman & Robin came out, director Joel Schumacher is saying ‘sorry’ for it. “Look, I apologize. I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that,” he told Vice in a recent interview.
And about damn time too. This comes a good two years after George Clooney, who played Batman, also apologised for the movie. But while Clooney went on to make better movies and win Oscars and marry Amal Alamuddin, Schumacher says he was treated like someone who had “murdered a baby.”
“You know, I just knew not to do a sequel. If you get lucky, walk away. But everybody at Warner Brothers just expected me to do one. Maybe it was some hubris on my part. I had a batting average of 1,000, so I went from falling down a bit after Lost Boys, to a kind of a genius with The Client, a big blockbuster with Batman Forever, then had great reviews with A Time to Kill, so my batting average was good…And then after Batman & Robin, I was scum. It was like I had murdered a baby.”
Now, that’s harsh, not to mention uncalled for.
To give you an idea of how terrible the movie was – and bring back those wonderful repressed memories – this is what the villains looked like. Presenting Mr Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (the criminally misused Uma Thurman).
And let’s not forget the first version of Bane, played by the late wrestler and stuntman Robert Swenson.
But even more importantly for the studio, Batman & Robin grossed just US$238 million worldwide against a US$125 million production budget. By comparison, Batman Forever, which was also directed by Joel Schumacher, grossed about US$313 million worldwide.
According to Schumacher, the audience back in the 1990s was into something a bit lighter than the subsequent darrrrrrk version of Batman.
“When I was first approached to do Batman Forever, I said that it was Tim Burton’s franchise. At the time Danny Devito’s character with The Penguin was causing a ruckus among parents. Also, Michelle Pfeiffer with her fabulous bondage outfit didn’t help matters. People across America were objecting to everything. Tim, who is a great friend of mine, begged me to take the franchise. Because of the pressure and he was ready to walk away.
What’s interesting to me is if you see Tim and my version, you can see how innocent viewers were back then. It’s really interesting to me is, because if you see Tim’s and my [films], you’d understand how innocent the audience was back then when it demanded to have more of a family-friendly Batman. Then when you see Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, the last one especially where he’s dealing with real class and economic problems, you see how the audience has changed in the fact that they can accept and want darker and darker subject matter.”
Well. We accept your apology, Joel Schumacher. We guess?