Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Batman & Robin. Hitting theaters only two years after the surprise financial hit Batman Forever, pressure from Warner Bros. (and increased interest from toy companies) forced the film into production too soon in order to hit the studio’s proposed release date, resulting in what is considered by many to be one of the worst comic book films of all time.
To mark the anniversary, The Hollywood Reporter recently spoke to several of the people who worked on the film, including director Joel Schumacher, who spoke about screenwriter Akiva Goldsman’s apprehension before taking on the sequel. Here is what Schumacher said:
“Akiva was very leery about Batman & Robin. We had a couple of very serious discussions about it, and he was right about it in the long run.”
Schumacher continued, speaking about what he and his crew were up against:
“Suddenly you’re carrying what’s called the tentpole movie of the year. Which means that’s going to carry all the other movies. So you are going to open whether you have something or not. Because those spots in the summer are so sought-after and so juggled around that you’ve got to piss on your ground or you’re not going to have dates in the summer. And then it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I’m opening. But now I have to make something to open with.’”
Composer Elliot Goldenthal also chimed in on the pressure the filmmakers faced:
“It seems like you never have enough time, and seeing the posters all over Ventura Boulevard or Sunset Boulevard or the subways in New York, you are reminded how few days you have left to complete the project.”
At the end of the day, Schumacher accepts full responsibility for how Batman & Robin turned out, stating, “All I’m going to say is I was a big boy. I chose to do it. I don’t think I did my best job. That really bothers me.”
Batman & Robin hit theaters on June 20, 1997 and starred George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman as Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy, Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson/Batgirl, Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth, Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon and Jeep Swenson as Bane.