Unreleased Batman movie might finally see the light of day
There have been so many stories about this Batman movie, we thought it might only be a myth.
You might not think it, considering how popular Batman is and how beloved his movies are, but not every movie to do with the Dark Knight is an automatic slam dunk.
Just think of 2017's Justice League, which was then released as a whole new movie in 2021, as Zack Snyder's Justice League. 2022 movie Batgirl had its entire release cancelled, despite already being made.
That isn't even including all of the Batman movies that were cancelled before they got off the ground: Tim Burton's third Batman movie, supposedly titled Batman Continues, and set to have Billy Dee Williams' return as Harvey Dent/Two-Face; Michelle Pfeiffer's solo Catwoman movie; Chris O'Donnell's solo Robin movie; Frank Miller adaptation Batman DarKnight; Darren Aranofksy's Batman Year One, with Joaquin Phoenix as Bruce Wayne; the early 00's version of Batman V Superman, with Colin Farrell and Jude Law in the titular roles; Ben Affleck's directorial outing as The Batman which was apparently based on David Fincher's psychological thriller The Game...
The list goes on and on, but one of the most talked about over the years has been Batman Forever: The Schumacher Cut. This version apparently has an additional 50 minutes of footage in the edit, which apparently is much darker than the version that arrived in cinemas. Some of that footage even ended up in U2's song "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" from the movie's soundtrack:
This footage includes Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) having visions of a human-sized bat (as per the image above), less of an emphasis on Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell), and a focus on Bruce's psychological issues with Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman). The movie also opened completely differently, with Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) escaping from Arkham Asylum, as opposed to the helicopter/bank heist that the released version kicks off with.
But having perceived Tim Burton's Batman Returns to be too dark to be massively profitable, Warner Bros. pushed for a lighter final product and, financially at least, it turned out to be the right call, becoming the second-biggest box office hit in America in 1995, behind only Toy Story.
That campier direction would eventually lead to Batman & Robin in 1997 becoming a critical and commercial dud, and ultimately resulted in Schumacher no longer being able to make his own fifth Batman movie. Reportedly titled Batman Unchained, it was set to feature Nicolas Cage as the Scarecrow, using his Fear Toxin to force Batman to hallucinate and be psychologically tormented by his previous foes, which would have included bringing back Jack Nicholson as the Joker and Danny DeVito as Penguin.
But back to Schumacher's cut of Batman Forever. Following his passing in 2020, there have been a lot of rumblings about this extended cut finally seeing the light of day, and it looks like we're getting that bit closer, as more and more people seem to be getting eyes on it. Kevin Smith recently recorded an episode of his podcast about The Schumacher Cut:
A clip from @ThatKevinSmith’s Fatman Beyond, where they talked about the Schumacher Cut of Batman Forever. Very cool stuff to learn more about the original cut of the movie. Strongly recommended! Click the link below, if you want to listen to the rest. #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut pic.twitter.com/rsDrlTgkI0
— RTSchumacherCut 💚 (@CutSchumacher) June 22, 2023
Akiva Goldsman, who was one of the writers of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, was recently interviewed by Bingeworthy and had the following to say:
"I saw [The 'Schumacher Cut] recently, and it’s funny because there’s been a swell on the internet for it, and I stay out of it, mostly. Although, it’s got about 35% more psychological realism in it. You know, it’s really more about guilt and shame. But the preview audience didn’t want it - the world wasn’t ready. Joel’s first cut had all of it in, and the audience was like, ‘Yeah, we just like the part where the guy’s funny and he’s scary and the big thing…’ And so, it got cut down into what it is. And it was cool.
"I’m certainly an advocate for it being in the world - just for Joel, you know? Because he died and he died quietly... You know, there wasn’t a lot of honouring him and it would be a nice way to honour him, I think. And I think he’d get a kick out of it."
With the 30 year anniversary of Batman Forever coming in 2025, that would seem like the perfect time to release The Schumacher Cut.
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