Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘The Iceman Cometh!’ – A Deep Dive On BATMAN AND ROBIN!
In 1995, a revamped and reformatted Batman made his comeback to the big screen in Batman Forever, a film that presented a stark contrast to the grim Gotham of Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns. It was a campier—and certainly more kid friendly—take on the “Caped Crusader.” That, in and of itself, means almost nothing. What mattered was the movie was a huge hit, grossing over $184 million at the domestic box office and besting the diminishing profits of Returns. Thus, the natural course was to green light a sequel and fast.
Batman & Robin was set for release just two years (nearly to the day) after Forever, a tall order considering the size and scope of a typical summer blockbuster. Joel Schumacher—who’d helmed its predecessor—would again direct. Shockingly, despite the truncated production time, it filmed without a hitch. There weren’t problems behind-the-scenes, but upon release, they were very apparent ones on the screen. Instead of harnessing what worked about Forever—however little that actually was—the filmmakers opted to double down on the camp, skimp on the importance of plot, and jam the film with frivolous closeups of bat gadgets and body parts. Like Mr. Freeze himself, the heart of this movie is just a cold lump, staggering its way through a runtime that—even at just two hours—feels bloated.
Alas, this diatribe is more than reflective waxing. Batman & Robin bombed. Cinema goers were not interested in its dogged insistence to sell them toys. As a result—in addition to its infamous place in Batman lore—it’s the lowest grossing live action Batman movie to date, garnering just $107 million at the domestic box office and floundering just as much worldwide (it only made $238 million, almost $100 million less than Forever).
Yet, knowing all of this, it’s still something you must see. It’s the Titanic drifting toward the iceberg. You know it’s going to be bad, but you can’t look away. Why deny yourself the pleasure of watching it with wide-eyed bewilderment? As Mr. Freeze once so eloquently said, “Chill” — sit back, grab an icy, cold beer, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and the Irate Lover don our rubber bat nipples and soldier headlong into the blizzard of bad puns.
And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting Bat-nuggets from this week’s episode!