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Joel Schumacher Owns Batman Mistakes, Wanted a Darker Take

Joel Schumacher made two Batman movies, and while one (such as myself) could argue that Batman Forever is a fun outing, it’s pretty much universally agreed that the George Clooney-starring Batman & Robin is not. Schumacher admitted during a recent interview with that he made a miscalculation in taking on the projects.

“I broke a rule of mine, which is never to do a sequel of anything,” he said of his second Batman flick. “I’m responsible for everything. I said, ‘yes’ and I took it on. It’s not my favorite movie I’ve ever made, but I’m proud of my cast and I’m proud of all the artists who worked on it. I take full responsibility for Batman & Robin.”

Interestingly, Schumacher also said that his original plan for the Forever follow-up would have been a much darker take than the three previous films in the series. “I think I’m the most envious of Chris Nolan because he got to do The Dark Knight — and that’s the one I begged to do as my second Batman film,” he said.

“I wanted to do a whole other thing, because we had kind of re-invented franchise with Val as Batman and it was a very young, sexy, and much less expensive movie. We brought in Robin and I wanted to make The Dark Knight desperately, but the studio didn’t want that and it’s their money and they’re my bosses.”


  • Comicspedia

    Sounds like he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth when he claims full responsibility for how bad the movie was, but in the end blames the studio for not doing what he really wanted to do.

  • Codey

    a part of me feels bad, but the other half doesn’t. it’s a business. but i thank schumacher for batman and robin, cuz without it we would have nolan’s films.

  • Codey


  • charleydeppner

    “…and I wanted to make The Dark Knight desperately…”

    He does realize the The Dark Knight, as envisioned by Nolan, did not exist as source material or for reference, correct?  Is he referencing something else? Or the ‘spirit’ or tone of The Dark Knight perhaps?

    I’m confused.

  • Clintwg

    *Possibly* referring to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns as source material, but even if he is, I shudder to think of what the man would have filmed…

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    I do find it odd that he says he wanted to go darker after Batman Forever, which was lighter than Batman Returns. Could it be that the studio wanted the Batman films at the time to be less Tim Burton-like and a bit closer in tone to the classic TV series?

  • RunnerX13

    Way too little, way too late.  Did the studio make him give Batman nipples?  Did the studio make him cast Silverstone as Fatgirl?  Etc…

  • M.s

    umm, it only took him about 15 years to take responsibility, and i don’t buy it. a great director knows how to balance both the vision he has for the movie (imagined in the script) and the money desires of the men in suits.
    the guy had one amazing cast to work with, obviously he didn’t know how to balance it, not to mention the script sucked.

    on the plus side we do have to sort of thank him for the great career he gave clooney. if this movie didn’t bombed as it did clooney may never have become the great creator he is today. ohh who am I kidding of course he would have.

  • Jmcreer

    I don’t know why he keeps apologising for Batman and Robin.  It was clearly intended for children, especially boys, under 12 years of age.  That’s what the studio wanted.  The film was never aimed at an adult audience.  It was intended to sell toys and merchandise.  As a result it was hugely successful.  The box office results were only a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of money it generated with everything else.  It may not have been anything that anyone over 12 wanted, but it served its purpose.

    My son was 4 at the time and he ABSOLUTELY loved it – and as a result he got the toys, the posters, the colouring books, the whole shebang and it created a love of the character (like a lot of other children who saw it at that time) that continues today.  He’s 16/ 17 now and I’m sure he wouldn’t go out of his way to see it, but if he did, I’m sure there would be secenes that he would enjoy still, on a purely nostalgic level (similar to my continuing love for Flash Gordon and the Six Million Dollar Man).

    Personally I think that Batman and Robin, and Schumacher are just an easy target for people to take aim at and criticise. 

  • Kolimar

    Iirc, this is not the first time he’s acknowledged the crappiness of his Batman. Warner execs thought Burton’s Batman had become too dark and adult-oriented so they specifically told Schumacher to make a kid-friendly movie with “cool” costumes and vehicles ready to be turned into toys.

  • Kolimar

    Somehow, I think he meant the Year One aspect of Nolan’s Batman, the beginning.

  • Kolimar

    Many directors considered to be great have failed at that balancing act before.

  • RunnerX13

    WBs also told Bruce Timm that they wanted a teenage Batman, and we got the awesome Batman Beyond.  It’s all in the execution.

  • Craabquinox

    If he takes full responsibility, why is he still alive?

  • Cjorg2

    It’s comments like these that lead to fanboys justifiably being labelled as “whack-jobs.”  I know it’s somewhat “tongue in cheek” but it’s just too over-the-top.

  • Clintwg

    Believe it or not…that’s what I was thinking of but I typed DKR instead. Ugh. I work really long hours, it’s getting to me.