Hollywood has taken more than a few shots at Batman, and most of the attempts have gone well. Christopher Nolan’s take on the Gotham vigilante garnered plenty of awards, but there is one Batman film that fans will never mention aloud. Back in 1997, Batman & Robin hit theaters to great trepidation, and fans had their fears proven right. The hopeful blockbuster tanked in every way imaginable. And, now, the film’s director is formally apologizing for the picture.
Recently, Joel Schumacher spoke with Vice about his work with Batman, and the director took time then to say he’s sorry for Batman & Robin.
“Look, I apologize. I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that,” Schumacher said.
Continuing, Schumacher admitted he got caught up with Warner Bros. over the sequel despite knowing another film was not needed. “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. I never planned on being, that dreadful quote, “a blockbuster king” because my other films were much smaller and had just found success with the audience and not often with the critics, which is really why we wrote them. And then after Batman & Robin, I was scum. It was like I had murdered a baby.”
You can read up on the rest of Schumacher’s apology below. The director hopes fans did not give up on Batman because of his letdown before spotlighting the successes of Nolan as well as Tim Burton.
“I guess I’ll say, I hope no fans moved on from Batman upon first seeing my movie. 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.”
Schumacher is not the only star who has formally apologized for Batman & Robin. Over the years, star George Clooney has worn himself out asking for forgiveness for his part in the travesty.
"I always apologize for Batman & Robin,” Clooney flat-out admitted. "I did Batman & Robin...which was a disaster. Other than that, there's never been a reason for me to go to Comic Con." Norton had mentioned that Clooney had apologized to the crowd for the Joel Schmucher Bat-debacle and Clooney replied that he always apologizes for the film. Let me just say that I actually thought I destroyed the franchise, ya know, until they brought it back and changed it...I thought at the time, this was going to be a good career move. Um, it wasn't."