In some shocking and sad news, it was announced today (Monday, June 22nd) that prolific director Joel Schumacher – probably most notable for his two DC movies, 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman & Robin – has passed away at the age of 80 after a year-long battle with cancer. This news was revealed by his representatives at ID PR.
Schumacher started his career in the fashion industry before crossing over to the movie business to work as a costume designer. His real passion was for filmmaking, though, which he successfully transitioned into after a stint as a screenwriter. His debut directorial effort was 1981’s The Incredible Shrinking Woman, starring Lily Tomlin.
His first major hit was 1985 coming-of-age drama St. Elmo’s Fire. He then followed that up with another smash – 1987’s cult vampire flick The Lost Boys. It’s no surprise, then, that he was Warner Bros.’ top choice to replace Tim Burton as the custodian of the Batman movies in the mid-90s.
Schumacher tends to come under a lot of flak for the poor reception of his Batman films, Robin especially. However, he’s made clear that he was pressured by the studio to make them increasingly “toyetic.” Had Robin been more successful, Schumacher would’ve made a more personal take on the franchise next – the much darker Batman Unchained.
Over the next couple of decades, Schumacher managed to snap back from the hit to his reputation, moving away from the blockbuster world and serving up numerous well-received lower-budget thrillers, including 2002’s Colin Farrell-vehicle Phone Booth and 2007’s The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey.
His last cinematic effort was 2011’s Trespass, with Nicolas Cage – who could have played Scarecrow in Unchained – and Forever actress Nicole Kidman. Following that, he helmed two episodes of Netflix’s House of Cards. Overall, Joel Schumacher directed an impressive total of 23 movies. Despite how Batman & Robin turned out, it’s clear he was an accomplished filmmaker and has definitely left his mark on the industry.