Recently, reports surfaced of a supposed “Schumacher cut” of Batman Forever. Now, according to a report from Variety, it seems those initial reports were indeed legitimate. Director Joel Schumacher, who recently passed away, had indeed assembled a much longer cut of his 1995 Batman film. The question now is whether or not Warner Bros. will decide to release it.
The cut in question is said to be 170 minutes, or just under three hours. It is said to be much darker in nature. Per Variety’s report, here are some of the differences that are included in the so-called Schumacher Cut.
“This version opens with a sequence involving the villain Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) escaping from Arkham Asylum, and features extended scenes with the Riddler (Jim Carrey) when he invades the Batcave and uses his signature cane as a weapon. The bulk of this version’s runtime focuses on the emotional and psychological issues that led Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) to decide to become Batman, including a sequence of Wayne facing down a giant, human-sized bat.”
Batman Forever saw Val Kilmer taking over the role of Batman. Tim Burton had directed both Batman and Batman Returns with Michael Keaton under the cape and cowl. Following the relative disappointment of Batman Returns at the box office, the studio decided to take things in another direction.
The point of bringing in Schumacher was to make a less dark film. So it makes sense that this darker cut was shelved. However, times have changed and audiences would probably be more accepting of this version now. Not only that, but with Schumacher’s recent passing, it could serve as a nice tribute to the filmmaker.
“I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever,” Marc Bernardin revealed on a recent episode of the Fatman Beyond podcast with Kevin Smith. “I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some s***.”
Here is the synopsis for Batman Forever.
“Jim Carrey stars as criminal genius, The Riddler, and Tommy Lee Jones plays Two-Face. Together, these criminal kingpins present a threat that only the Dynamic Duo–Batman (Val Kilmer) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell)–can stop. And Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman comes to Gotham as the alluring Dr. Chase Meridian, who may steal the heart of Batman Forever. Based upon Batman characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics.”