The late Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever turned 25 this year prompting fans to take another look at the film which saw Val Kilmer suit up as the iconic hero, gain a sidekick in Chris O'Donnell's Dick Grayson/Robin, and face off against Tommy Lee Jones' Harvey Dent/Two-Face and Jim Carrey's Edward Nygma/The Riddler. But the film's milestone anniversary isn't the only reason Batman Forever has been a topic of conversation for fans as of late. Writer and podcaster Marc Bernardin noted during an episode of Fatman Beyond that a much longer cut of Batman Forever -- specifically a 170-minute version of the film -- exists, but Warner Bros. has never made any moves to release it. Now, with the Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League set to become a reality in 2021 on HBO Max fans are campaigning for Batman Forever to have the same treatment, asking HBO Max to "Release the Schumacher Cut."
On Twitter, Batman Forever fans have been posting about why they feel the so-called Schumacher Cut deserves to have a chance to be seen on the streaming service along with "#ReleaseTheSchumacherCut" and it's picking up some traction, even reaching trending status on Monday.
But why are fans asking for a different cut of Batman Forever, a film that was largely panned by critics and is sometimes looked at as being lesser when compared to other Batman films? Well, while the Batman Forever that hit theaters was a campy, neon-lit often silly film, one that contrasted with the darker tones found in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman and 1992 Batman Returns, Bernardin explained that the longer cut, Schumacher's assembly cut of the film, was also a much darker story -- one that the studio felt just wouldn't work for kids.
"I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever," Bernardin told his co-host Kevin Smith. "I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like 'it's too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let's not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We've got Jim Carrey, let him do some s--t."
Tone and length differences between a theatrical release and a director's version of the film may sound very familiar for some DC fans as it feels like, at least in some respects, the same concerns that swirled around the Snyder Cut of Justice League. Snyder fans petitioned tirelessly to see the director's version of Justice League come to life -- a version of that film which is also tonally different and much longer than what hit theaters. Given the success of that campaign, maybe lightning can strike twice and see the Schumacher Cut of Batman Forever released.
Read on for a selection of tweets from the "Release the Schumacher Cut" Campaign.
Freedom for Directors
It's not a film I'm personally passionate about, but the alternate cut is significantly different so it deserves to be seen. There are fans who want to see it and they should not be denied seeing his cut. I support artistic freedom for Directors. #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut— ★ ℳi$T€ℜ J ★ (@ColdBloodedJoke) July 28, 2020
Criminally Underrated Filmprevnext
Waited So Long
I've waited for so long for this to happen. Finally, the mainstream audience discovered the red book edition of Batman Forever and it's legendary bat scene. The time has come, and it must be done, even though it must come after his unfortunate death. #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut pic.twitter.com/XNXGkxG3kF— Ayrton Chitwood (@ayrton_chitwood) July 28, 2020
Let's Do Itprevnext
As a Tribute to Joelprevnext
More Chase Meridian, Pleaseprevnext
From fantastic performances, score, action, cinematography, set design, and script. Batman Forever is the most underrated film in Batman’s catalogue. I honestly just want Schumacher’s version so it can be preserved forever, rather than sit in a vault. #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut pic.twitter.com/5TBe3XC0Is— Mr. Red (@MrRed99009767) July 27, 2020