Arkham Asylum gets its name from horror writer H.P. Lovecraft's stories and first appeared in the DC comic series in 1974, in Batman #258 by Denny O'Neil. It was Arkham Hospital until 1979 when it became Arkham Asylum.
Most of the scenes with Batgirl, played by actress Alicia Silverstone, were cut out because Silverstone had gained a few pounds during production and the wardrobe team had to refit her costume. When the press discovered the news, they slammed Silverstone's weight gain and mocked the actress for being "too fat" to fit into her costume. As a result, director Joel Schumacher publicly defended Silverstone during interviews and press meetings, joking "What is this girl's big sin - that she ate some pizza?" When the press continued to taunt Silverstone's weight gain, mostly from female journalists, Schumacher again intervened and lashed out at the reporters that taunted her. Schumacher went on record about the weight gain to one magazine by saying: ""It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds -- like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I'd say, 'With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'"
In an interview the cast members were asked what item from filming they would like to take home with them. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would be taking Mr. Freeze's armor home, Uma Thurman said that she wanted Ivy's floral throne, and Elle Macpherson said that she just wanted a cap or something with the "Batman & Robin" logo before anyone else. When asked, George Clooney said he wanted Elle Macpherson.
George Clooney injured his lower leg playing basketball, while shooting Batman & Robin (1997). Because of this, he needed to cut the boot off of the Bat-suit in order to wear a cast. You can tell when his leg was injured from his limping while inside the freeze rocket.
Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros. to get them to reconsider letting him do another Batman movie. Schumacher wanted to take the film back to its darker roots and make a "Batman: Year One" movie. Schumacher wanted to cast Kurt Russell as a young Commissioner Gordon and would have had Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto. However, Warner Bros. decided not to rehire Schumacher and the Batman film franchise remained in development limbo for years until Batman Begins (2005).
In later interviews, director Joel Schumacher would blame studio pressure to make the film more "toyetic" (i.e., a showcase for marketable toys and games), and in a "making-of" documentary on the DVD, apologized to disappointed fans.
After the box-office failure of "Batman & Robin", several Batman projects were considered to substitute for the next Batman movie. One was a direct sequel, "Batman: Triumphant", written by Mark Protosevich. The second was a prequel, "Batman: Year One". The last was a live-action adaptation of Batman Beyond (1999). None of those projects got off the ground, and instead the franchise was rebooted with Batman Begins (2005).
Val Kilmer was asked if he wanted to play Batman again but by his own admission and due to his commitment with The Saint (1997), was not interested. After experiencing difficulties working with Kilmer on Batman Forever (1995), Joel Schumacher was insistent that the actor not return for the fourth film in the franchise. Fortunately, Kilmer wanted to make The Saint (1997) instead so Schumacher was able to recast the role of Batman.
After filming was completed, Arnold Schwarzenegger went in for heart surgery. Because studios were anxious about insuring Schwarzenegger in one of their action movies, he couldn't get work again until End of Days (1999).
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who plays Mr. Freeze, had been previously considered to appear in several superhero TV series and films. In 1978, he was offered the role of The Hulk in The Incredible Hulk (1978) and he tried out for the part of Superman/Clark Kent in Superman (1978), but he turned down both roles. In 1989, he turned down the chance to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman (1989) before Michael Keaton was cast.
The Batman costume weighed 90 pounds; with the material being rubber, the entire body suit weighed 50 pounds plus a 40-pound piece rubber cape attached to the headpiece. Batgirl's and Robin's costumes weighed 50 pounds apiece, Freeze's weighed 75.
Upon accepting the role of Batman, George Clooney immediately called his cousin Miguel Ferrer to let him know. Ferrer is a Batman fan whose father, José Ferrer, was the first actor offered the role of the Joker in Batman (1966).
The first Batman major motion picture not to be nominated for the Academy Awards. Batman (1989) (Art Direction-Set Decoration -won), Batman Returns (1992) (Best Effects/Visual Effects, Best Makeup), Batman Forever (1995) (Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Effects/Sound Editing).
The only film in the original series in which Tim Burton had no involvement during the development stages (he directed Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), and worked as producer in Batman Returns and Batman Forever (1995)).
Chris O'Donnell confirmed in a 2012 interview that a Robin spin-off was originally considered as a follow up to this film, alongside "Batman Triumphant". However he reported the plans were scrapped after the poor box-office and critical reception of Batman & Robin.
Robin's suit in this film is based in the costume of the DC Comics character Nightwing, who was Dick Grayson's identity after he abandoned the Robin costume in the 1980s. The differences are that the main symbol across his chest and arms is red (silver during the climax) instead of blue, and features a utility belt and a cape.
Director Joel Schumacher first realized that George Clooney would make a good Batman after drawing the famous cowl over Clooney's face in an advertisement for From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). (This was unbeknown to film critic Roger Ebert, who wrote in his negative review of this film and then later stated on Siskel & Ebert (1986) that "It doesn't matter who plays Batman; I think they cast Batman based on the chin," referring to what he saw as lack of development of Batman as an interesting character in any of the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher films.)
The roller coaster Mr. Freeze at Six Flags Over Texas was supposed to open in 1997 with the release of Batman & Robin. Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney were scheduled to appear at the opening of Gotham City area and be the first to ride Mr. Freeze, but troubles with the launch system delayed the opening until 1998. This was the main reason why Schwarzenegger never appeared (since he had another promised project at the time and Clooney decided not to come because Schwarzenegger didn't.)
This is the only Batmobile in which there is only one seat, in all other Batmobiles they had at least two front seats. In addition, this is the only sequel directed by the same director to not feature the same Batmobile design from the previous film, as the car shown in Batman Forever (1995) was destroyed by the Riddler.
In the comics, Batgirl is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon (named Barbara Gordon), but here she's portrayed as the niece of Alfred and she's given the name of Barbara Wilson. Reportedly the producers didn't consider her believable as Pat Hingle's daughter.
This is the first (and only) Batman film in this particular series to not feature villains from Batman: The Movie (1966) (Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler) as they all appeared in the previous three movies. However, Mr. Freeze did appear in three episodes of the Batman (1966) TV series. In addition, this film marks the first appearances of Poison Ivy and Bane in a live action Batman film or TV series.
The Oxbridge Academy, Barbara's fictional university in England, is really a combination of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Oxbridge is used jokingly in American pop culture to refer to any British college graduate.
Joel Schumacher originally wanted Nicole Kidman to play Poison Ivy in Batman Forever (1995), but due to the fact that Kidman was eventually cast as Dr. Chase Meridian, leaving only Two-Face and the Riddler as the villains of that film, Schumacher decided to bring Ivy to a sequel.
Joel Schumacher once said in an interview that if Arnold Schwarzenegger had not wanted to play Mr. Freeze, Sylvester Stallone was his second choice. Schumacher said wanted Schwarzenegger for the role, but he threatened not to direct the film if Schwarzenegger wasn't cast.
When Poison Ivy first appears at the charity event, the song that is playing is The Coasters' 1959 hit "Poison Ivy". A cover version of this song performed by Meshell Ndegeocello was featured in the soundtrack album to this film.
The original title for this film was originally going to be "Batman: Triumphant", which also would be the name of the film that would follow this one, but ultimately shelved because of the box-office failure of "Batman & Robin". The title was changed due to Chris O'Donnell's popularity as Robin in the previous film Batman Forever (1995).
Batgirl had a full-head costume designed for her much like Batman's (complete with pointy ears) in this movie, but it was rejected in favor of letting Alicia Silverstone's hair flow freely (except in one scene where she wears it as a crash helmet). Batgirl action figures designed for the movie reflect the full-head costume, before the toy makers were informed of the change.
One of three movies to feature two future United States Governors acting in the same film. Jesse Ventura, elected Governor in Minnesota in 1998, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, elected Governor of California in 2003. (The other two films were Predator (1987) and The Running Man (1987), both released in 1987. All three of these movies featured Ventura and Schwarzenegger.)
Olivia d'Abo had been offered the role of Barbara Wilson/Batgirl, by producer Peter Macgregor-Scott. However Joel Schumacher rejected her for the role, due to her age at the time (27) and considering that Batgirl had to be younger than Robin.
This film was originally titled "Batman Forever" but stylized as "Batman 4Ever" because it is the fourth film in the series. However, because the third film already took that title, it was retitled "Batman & Robin," which actually was the original title for the third film.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
This is the only film (in the original series) in which none of the villains uncover Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman. Batman tells the Joker in Batman (1989) his identity of Bruce Wayne, Catwoman and the Penguin see Batman unmasked in Batman Returns (1992), the Riddler and Two Face read Bruce Wayne's mind in Batman Forever (1995). But none of Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, or Bane uncover the identities of Batman, Robin, or Batgirl.
This is the only film (in the original series) in which none of the villains is killed by Batman or any of his allies. In this film, Bane is defeated when Robin and Batgirl kicked the venom tube in the back of his head and disconnected it from the rest of his body, which changed him back to "Antonio Diego". And both Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy are sent to Arkham Asylum at the end of the movie. In previous films the villains killed were the Joker in Batman (1989), the Penguin in Batman Returns (1992) and Two-Face in Batman Forever (1995), although during the two last films, the other villains survive (Catwoman in Returns, and the Riddler in Forever).
A majority of the scenes with Julie Madison, played by Elle Macpherson, were edited out from the final cut of "Batman & Robin". The character was also given different parting scenes. In one, which was in the shooting script during filming of the movie, Bruce Wayne finds Pamela Isley at the Gotham Observatory after she steals Commissioner Gordon's keys. Bruce tries to ask Isley out, under the influence of her pheromone dust, but Julie finds Bruce with Isley and she breaks up with Bruce when he chooses to be with Isley over Julie. Another scene, which was actually filmed, included Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thurman, finding Julie Madison at the Gotham Observatory after she had stolen the keys to the Bat-Signal from Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle), and Ivy fatally stabs Julie to death with a knife. Poison Ivy would later be shown using the same knife in the film during her fight with Batgirl. Julie's death scene was cut out of the film, because it was considered too dark for a film aimed for younger viewers, and because Joel Schumacher was interested in bringing Macpherson's Julie Madison back in the fifth "Batman" film he planned to do for Warner Bros.
Alfred, who is at risk of dying from the MacGregor virus, is cured by a vaccine developed by Mr. Freeze. In the comics, pieces of his freezing gun are used in emergency surgery to treat a deathly ill Aunt Harriet. Ironically, that character was brought into the 1960s comics when Alfred was "killed off", and then phased out when Alfred was "resurrected".
The script featured an elaborate subplot about the revelation of Poison Ivy's real identity. There are publicity stills which show Bruce Wayne in a tuxedo talking to Pamela Isley in the final reception scene. The theatrical cut however omits this encounter. After Bruce smells the pheromones the sequence is extended and Bruce flirts with Pamela openly which infuriates Julie who leaves him. Later Bruce confesses to Alfred that he was inexplicably fixated with Pamela. Bruce and Alfred research the archives of the employees in Wayne Enterprises and find out that Pamela's research field involved pheromones. Bruce then scans a photo of Poison Ivy from a security video camera in the Flower Ball and compares it digitally with the photo of Pamela Isley from her personal file. After the computer makes a perfect match Bruce realizes Pamela's secret identity. The entire subplot was deleted and the revelation is made through photos from the airport.