Mindhole Blowers: 20 Facts About 'Batman and Robin' You Probably Don't Know Or Actively Repressed
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger was given first billing in Batman and Robin (over both Batman and Robin), and he was paid $25 million, which is more than $1 million per minute of screentime. What did he offer in return? 27 ice puns. He was paid nearly $1 million PER PUN.
2. If you’re wondering if there’s anything homoerotic going on in Batman and Robin, the opening montage featured the following lingering shots:
The montage ended with the ultimate phallic symbol.
3. Michael Gough (Alfred) and Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon) were the only two actors to appear in all four of the original Batman series.
4. Joel Schumacher cast George Clooney as Batman after he drew a cowl over Clooney’s face in the From Dusk Til Dawn movie poster. He thought he’d be great based on that image.
5. Joel Schumacher didn’t want Val Kilmer to return as Batman ( “Val is the most psychologically troubled human being I’ve ever worked with.”), and Val Kilmer didn’t want to return, either (plus, he had scheduling conflicts because of The Saint), so replacing him worked out for both parties. Besides Clooney, Schumacher’s other consideration for the role was David Duchovny.
6. Because you need to be reminded of this repressed memory, there is an extended surf scene in Batman and Robin. Robin even says “Cowabunga.” COWABUNGA.
7. A similar extended surf scene was actually originally considered as the climactic scene for the first X-Men movie, which would have entailed Wolverine and Sabertooth fighting while snowboarding down a mountain.
8. I had completely blocked this out, but it’s worth remembering that Bane was in this movie. He was played by Jeep Swenson, a WSW Wrestler who died a month after Batman and Robin was released of a massive myocardial infarction. He weighed 400 pounds.
9. Here’s a few quotes from the stars of Batman and Robin, years later, on the film.
“With hindsight it’s easy to look back at this and go ‘Woah, that was really shit and I was really bad in it.’
“The truth is, my phone rang, and the head of Warner Bros said ‘Come into my office, you are going to play Batman in a Batman film’ and I said ‘Yeah!’ I called my friends and they screamed and I screamed and we couldn’t believe it!
“I just thought the last one had been successful so I thought I was just going to be in a big successful franchise movie.
“In a weird way I was. Batman is still the biggest break I ever had and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it. It was a difficult film to be good in. I don’t know what I could have done differently.
“But if I am going to be Batman in the film Batman & Robin, I can’t say it didn’t work and then not take some of the blame for that.”
“The licensing and marketing became a very, very, very important part of making this film…but I was an adult, I was awake and I went along with it… I was there.”
In most cases I don’t regret the movies that failed or were not as good. It’s always easy to be smug in hindsight, right? I don’t regret it at all. I felt that the character was interesting and two movies before that one Joel Schumacher was at his height. So the decision-making process was not off.
“It just felt like everything got a little soft the second time. On Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid’s toy commercial.”
10. Coolio was in this movie. COOLIO. I guess you could call it a reunion of sorts, since Coolio was on the soundtrack to Clueless.
11. Based on the dailies, an enthusiastic Warner Brothers actually signed Joel Schumacher on for another sequel, Batman Triumphant, which was going to be a Scarecrow movie starring Jeff Goldblum or Howard Stern as the Scarecrow. Harley Quinn, as the Joker’s daughter, was also set to return to take revenge on Batman for killing her father.
12. According to Chris O’Donnel, there was also a planned Robin spin-off, which was also scrapped because of Batman and Robin’s box-office failure.
13. Batman and Robin was the first of the original Batman movies not to receive an Oscar nomination in any category. However, it did get nominated for 11 Razzies, and won the Razzie for Worst Picture of the Year. It was not unanimously panned, though. The New York Times’ Janet Maslin gave it a positive review, writing ” Joel Schumacher, director and ringmaster, piles on the flashy showmanship and keeps the film as big, bold, noisy and mindlessly overwhelming as possible.”
14. Strangely enough, it was the negative coverage of test screenings of Batman and Robin that really popularized Harry Knowles and Ain’t It Cool News. In fact, Joel Schumacher blamed much of the box office failure of Batman and Robin on Ain’t It Cool News and Dark Horizons. The film made $107 million in America, on a $125 million budget.
15. Anthony Hopkins was the first choice for Mr. Freeze, while Hulk Hogan was Schumacher’s third choice, which makes Batman and Robin the only movie in the history of mankind in which Hulk Hogan and Anthony Hopkins were up for the same role.
16. Check out the expiration date on Batman’s credit card.
17. Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, and Demi Moore were rumored for the role of Poison Ivy, before Uma Thurman was cast.
18. Most of Alicia Silverstone’s Batgirl scenes has to be cut from the film because Silverstone had gained weight during production, and the scenes needed to be cut for continuity reasons. Because continuity, clearly, was at the forefront in terms of priorities for Batman and Robin (for the record, Schumacher defended Silverstone’s weight gain when the press sank their fangs).
19. George Clooney’s rubber foam Batsuit weighed 90 pounds, and it was so difficult to get on and off, Clooney reportedly urinated inside of the suit on at least one occasion.
20. On the DVD commentary for Batman and Robin, Joel Schumacher essentially apologizes for Batman and Robin, and while he takes full blame, he also claims that much of the problem was the studio’s insistence that the movie be strategically made with an eye toward selling toys. Schumacher lobbied after the film’s failure to relaunch the series himself with Batman Year One. The rumor is that he’d wanted Kurt Russell to replace Clooney in the franchise.
(Information provided by a combination of re-watching Batman and Robin, Wikipedia, IMDb, general Internet research, and the “How Did This Get Made?” podcast.)
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