On the surface, Joel Schumacher’s legendarily terrible Batman & Robin has absolutely nothing in common with Tim Burton’s classic original, and was so markedly different in almost every way that it still seems hard to believe it arrived just eight years later and technically takes place in the same timeline as Burton’s 1989 Gothic superhero blockbuster.
One area where the two movies do overlap, though, is with the villains being positioned at the forefront. Jack Nicholson took top billing ahead of Michael Keaton, which was to be expected when The Shining star was and still is regarded as one of the greatest actors to ever grace the screen, not to mention the man playing the Caped Crusader was best known for his comedic work at the time, and fans rebelled against the casting decision by bombarding Warner Bros. headquarters with letters of protest.
Close to a decade later and George Clooney became the third actor to don the cape and cowl in the space of four movies, in what marked just the third major leading role of his big screen career. At the time, Clooney was best known as ER‘s Dr. Doug Ross, so it wasn’t a surprise that A-list action megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name came first in the credits.
And while Schwarzenegger may not have matched Nicholson’s $60 million payday for breaking bad in Batman & Robin, his check was still 25 times bigger than Clooney’s. It took a whopping $25 million to secure Arnie’s signature to have him suit up, get painted blue and drop a series of terrible puns as Mr. Freeze, and while a million dollars is hardly chump change, the pay disparity between the hero and the villain was quite vast nonetheless.