Batman Forever recently surpassed its 26th anniversary, and fans are once again banding together on social media to demand the release of the extended "Schumacher Cut" of the movie. In 1995, the Tim Burton-produced movie premiered in theaters, introducing Val Kilmer as the new Bruce Wayne following Michael Keaton's departure. A hit when it premiered, the movie was one of the highest-grossing releases of 1995.
Alongside Kilmer, Batman Forever also starred Chris O'Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, and Jim Carrey as the Riddler. The colorful and campy nature of the new villains were seen as a departure from Tim Burton's Batman movies, which are much darker in tone comparatively. For some fans, Batman Forever is a movie that could have been better if some of the over-the-top, campy elements were a bit toned down..
Last year, thanks to the success of the fan campaign for Warner Bros. to release Zack Snyder's unfinished and extended cut of Justice League, rumors began to circulate that there was similarly a lost "Schumacher Cut" of Batman Forever. According to the rumors, this version of the movie is a bit darker than the theatrical release. Some of the alternate scenes reportedly include Bruce fighting a human-sized bat and more of a focus on his psychological issues with Dr. Chase.
It has since been confirmed by Warner Bros. that the Schumacher Cut does exist, though there weren't any plans at this time for the studio to release the footage to the public. Additionally, it wasn't clear if any of the unused footage had even survived or if it's all been lost forever. Co-writer Akiva Goldsman later provided some new hope for fans by revealing in April that he had actually seen the original cut. He also claimed that all of the footage needed to release this Schumacher Cut does still in fact exist.
"By the way,Batman Forever still has a renaissance coming," Goldsman said. "I really am interested to see whether the original cut of Batman Forever comes out because I got to see it, recently, the very very first one, which was Preview Cut: One. It was really dark, it was a pretty psychological exploration of guilt and shame."
The writer added: "I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever. 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--t."
In any case, it seems that the powers that be didn't feel that the world was ready for a Batman movie that was so dark in 1995. The Caped Crusader's next adventure would turn out to be even more campy in the follow-up movie, Batman & Robin, and the reception of that movie would make the mistake apparent. We'll see if the fans continuing to campaign for the Schumacher Cut's release will work in the way it did with the Snyder Cut. You can see what fans are saying on Twitter about #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut.