Just 48 hours after George Clooney apologized to New York Comic Con fans for 1997's Batman & Robin , director Joel Schumacher made an effort to own the blame himself, admitting he killed franchise (temporarily ... it got better ).
He also accepts blame for the bat-nipples. That and more was discussed when Schumacher was in the Hamptions to accept a lifetime achievement award. In an interview with Variety's Ramin Setoodeh, Schumacher recounts the events which led to his two Batman films and the reasoning behind the success and the faux pas. When asked about the severe contrast been the two previous Tim Burton Batman movies and his two, the director says his was a reaction to the earlier two.
"I was never able to go into the darkness. Because of Batman Returns, families had objected that it was too adult, which is no criticism of Tim Burton’s," Schumacher said. "When they offered it to me, I went to Tim and said, 'This is your franchise and they want me to do it. I won’t do it if you don’t want me to.' He said, 'Take it, please! I can’t do another one.' Even though Batman Forever is really sexy, it was a movie the whole family could see."
Schumacher says the controversy over the nipples in the Batsuits was surprising to him.
"... I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' I think that will be on my gravestone. It’s how I’ll be remembered."
Schumacher is quick to point out that despite its flaws, Batman Forever was the "biggest movie of the year" as well as the "cheapest Batman" ever made. The director attributes much of that to the fact that much of the cast were rising stars at the time, specifically Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman and Jim Carrey. Batman & Robin became troubled when Kilmer dropped out "at the eleventh hour" to film another movie, and "it changed everything." Because the studios wouldn't adjust the timetable of the filming, Schumacher said he and George Clooney did what they could.
"There’s nobody else to blame but me. I could have said, 'No, I’m not going to do it.'" Schumacher told Variety. "I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold."