Joel Schumacher Wants Us to Know That He’s Very Sorry About ‘Batman & Robin’
Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin will go down in history as one of the worst superhero movies ever made, and twenty years after its release, Schumacher himself is very much aware that he messed up. He also wants the fans to know that he really is very sorry about the whole thing. Well, almost. He’s not sorry about the bat-nips.
Near its twentieth anniversary, Vice caught up with Schumacher to ask if he feels as bad about the movie as everyone thinks he should, and he does. It hasn’t weighed on him too much over the years, which is fortunate for him, and apparently wasn’t even something he initially wanted to to.
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.
Schumacher explained that Warner Bros. was going for a way more family-friendly version of the caped crusader than Tim Burton had done in his film, which had, among other things, a leery Penguin played by Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer in that shiny leather catsuit. Does he still think about those egregious Mr. Freeze puns, or has he moved on from the experience?
To be honest, I haven't thought about it much. My job is always about moving on. In fact, I was set to do another Batman. I even met with Nicolas Cage on the set of Face Off because I was going to have him play The Scarecrow. Frankly, I was running out of villains. At the time I was all over the world doing press, we didn't have Skype or electronics to do remote interviews, and let me tell you, the knives were out over Batman & Robin. But I did my job. So I'm in Rio, cutting the ribbon to yet another toy store with Warner Bros. merchandise and I just thought… what the f--- is going on? So I went on a vacation to Mexico, called my bosses. and told them that I couldn't do another Batman. You would think they wouldn't want me to make another. But the licensing, the toys, the pajamas, they've produced astronomical numbers in sales. I just needed to get out of carrying the summer movie thing, for my own sanity.
Vice also asked if Schumacher wanted to speak to the fans who went into the movie expecting something more like Burton’s Batman.
They obviously had very high expectations after Batman Forever. But perhaps it was the more innocent world in comparison, I don't know. I just know that I'll always go down over the nipples on Batman starting with Batman Forever.
Hey, it’s been twenty years. Maybe we should all just… chill.