Somewhere in the Warner Bros. Batcave – a longer, darker, more intense version of Batman Forever is waiting to be rediscovered!
“Holy extended cut, Batman!”
With the upcoming release of the Snyder Cut of ‘Justice League‘ and the call for the director’s cut of ‘Suicide Squad‘ gaining volume, it was only a matter of time before another film was being clamored to have an extended-release made. But it comes as some surprise to find that it could turn out to be a 170-minute version of the late director Joel Schumacher’s first entry into the Warner Bros. franchise, ‘Batman Forever‘.
Let’s consider this for a second. It has been rumored for years that there existed footage that was excised from the final version of the film including a whole subplot that was left on the cutting room floor. Expanded scenes of some that did appear in the released version have always been confirmed, shortened for pacing issues, and so forth, as is the standard these days. But recently, rumors have emerged that a much longer cut was turned in by Schumacher that Warners ran scared from. If this is true, it could make the film a lot better (as well as a hell of a lot longer).
It has been said that the cut that Schumacher delivered was 170-minutes long. That’s almost three hours of Batman taking on villains. Apparently though, after what Tim Burton gave Warners back in 1992 with ‘Batman Returns‘ and the fallout from it, the studio decided that they couldn’t, in all honesty, release this version. It all comes down to money and merchandising. Warner Bros had deals in place in 1992 for toys and burger meals to promote the film, figuring parents would happily buy kids meals featuring the characters of Batman, The Penguin, and Catwoman on them. Only Burton delivered a film so dark and sexually charged and with scenes that scared the pants off of small children, that the parents quickly stopped buying these merchandised meal deals for their kids. Cue ‘Batman Forever‘ coming to theatres in 1995. Warner Bros. couldn’t afford to have another problem with merchandisers that ‘Batman Returns‘ brought them due to the darkness and gloominess it contained. The first version of ‘Batman Forever‘ apparently was even darker than Burton’s final Batman film, something Warners couldn’t tolerate. With deals already in place for new toys and burger meals for children featuring the film’s characters and promoting their product, it appears that the film was severely edited to make it lighter in tone and more in line with what the merchandising partners expected.
If the rumors do turn out to be true, then I hope the film is allowed to be released in its full version. But, and I do say but, if the excised footage shows more of Jim Carrey’s goofing around as The Riddler, then please, keep it locked away! If, however, the film contains a darker version of the film than we have seen as of yet, then I for one would champion its release as soon as possible. I’m not the biggest fan of the film and haven’t ever been. But it was. at least, better than ‘Batman & Robin‘. If a longer version of the film exists, then it could yet be the best and darkest Dark Knight of them all.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!
(Source: Fatman Beyond Podcast)