No one would mistake Batman Forever as the best Bruce Wayne movie ever made. In fact, some think it’s much the opposite. And while you might expect Joel Schumacher to be defensive of the film he directed, he’s actually more critical than many fans are.
Speaking in a recent interview, he revealed the following:
“You know what I think? I shouldn’t have made a sequel, and that’s all there is to it. I learned that sequels are only made for one reason. I’m sure that Batman Forever was the cheapest Batman movie ever made because Val [Kilmer] didn’t get a lot of money, Nicole [Kidman] didn’t, Chris O’Donnell didn’t and I didn’t. Tommy got a bit of a payday because he’d just won the Oscar for The Fugitive and Jim Carrey had already done Ace Ventura.”
Yikes. If the movie really was a cash grab for the studio, it definitely worked. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film shocked everyone at the box office by pulling in over $336 million worldwide. Batman Forever ended the year as the sixth highest-grossing release of 1995 and likely had executives laughing all the way to the bank.
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That being said, Schumacher’s claims aren’t exactly true. Out of the four installments in that franchise, Batman Forever actually cost the second most to make. The production budget hovered around $100 million, which paled in comparison to the $160 million the director needed for the next chapter of the series: Batman & Robin, which was both a critical and commercial failure, with even George Clooney admitting that he was a bad Bruce Wayne.
Batman Returns, meanwhile, the predecessor to Batman Forever, only had a budget of $80 million. In fact, the first chapter of the series actually holds the record for the smallest budget of any live-action film revolving around the titular superhero. Batman only needed $35 million to get the job done and helped endear the billionaire vigilante to a much wider audience.
All of these years later, Batman Forever definitely didn’t deserve to make as much as it did. Then again, neither did The Emoji Movie. Sometimes the film industry can be unfair. Let’s just hope that Matt Reeves reads the interview with Schumacher and doesn’t repeat those mistakes in The Batman.