It has been 20 years since "Batman & Robin" opened, and Joel Schumacher is offering an official apology "to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that." He doesn't really owe anyone anything -- but a ticket refund might be appreciated (adjusted for inflation, of course).
The director of "Batman Forever" with Val Kilmer, and then "Batman & Robin" with George Clooney, talked to VICE about why he even made a sequel -- basically, his ego -- and why he'll never live down adding nipples to the batsuit.
"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."
VICE quoted an old interview with Chris O'Donnell (Robin) who said, "On 'Batman Forever,' I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid's toy." "Batman & Robin" has an 11 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with just 16 percent of viewers saying they liked that film, vs. a 40 percent rating for "Batman Forever" and 33 percent audience approval. So, it's not like fans really loved Schumacher's first Batman movie, they just didn't hate it like they did the second.
Schumacher was asked if there's anything he ever wanted to say to fans who went into "Batman & Robin" expecting something different:
"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.' [...] Such a sophisticated world we live in where two pieces of rubber the size of erasers on old pencils, those little nubs, can be an issue. It's going to be on my tombstone, I know it."
He explained that, by the time "Batman Forever" came around, "rubber molding had become so much more advanced. So I said, let's make it anatomical and gave photos of those Greek status and those incredible anatomical drawings you see in medical books." Fans couldn't get over the change, among their other issues with the movie.
Batman has been big in the news the past week, from the sad news of TV Batman Adam West's death, to Michael Keaton choking Jimmy Kimmel for liking Spider-Man more than Batman, to John Lithgow recently saying he regretted turning down a chance to play the Joker opposite Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman" movie, and Will Arnett's "The LEGO Batman Movie" arriving this week on DVD. Ben Affleck is DC's current Caped Crusader, and he'll next be seen on screen this November in "Justice League."
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