Chris O'Donnell confirmed in a 2012 interview that a Robin/Nightwing spinoff was planned, alongside "Batman Triumphant". However he reported the plans were scrapped after the poor reception of "Batman & Robin."
Most of the scenes with Batgirl were cut, because Alicia 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. 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 taunting continued, Schumacher lashed out at the reporters that taunted her. He said in a magazine interview, "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 later interviews, director Joel Schumacher blamed studio pressure to make the film more "toyetic" (i.e., a showcase for marketable toys and games). In a "making-of" documentary on the DVD, he apologized to disappointed fans.
Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros., trying to convince them to let him make another Batman movie. He 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 Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto. Warner Bros. decided not to rehire Schumacher, and the Batman film franchise stayed in development limbo for years until Batman Begins (2005).
In an interview, the cast members were asked what item from filming they would like to take home. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would be taking Mr. Freeze's armor home. Uma Thurman said that she wanted Ivy's floral throne. Elle Macpherson said she just wanted a cap or something with the movie's logo before anyone else. George Clooney said he wanted Macpherson.
After the film's poor box office returns, several Batman projects were considered for the next Batman movie. One was a direct sequel, Batman Unchained, written by Mark Protosevich. The second was an adaptation of the graphic novel, Batman: Year One. The last was a live-action adaptation of Batman Beyond (1999). Instead, the franchise was rebooted with Batman Begins (2005).
This is the second Batman movie in which the actor playing the main villain was billed over the actor playing Batman. In Batman (1989), Jack Nicholson, who played The Joker, was top-billed over Michael Keaton, who played Batman.
The villainous character Bane was created in 1993 by comic book writer Chuck Dixon and artist Graham Nolan. In the comics he is subjectively the strongest and most intelligent foe that Batman has ever faced.
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.
The Batman costume was a 50 lbs. (22.6 kg.) rubber body suit with a 40 lb. (18 kg.) rubber cape attached to the headpiece. Batgirl's and Robin's costumes weighed 50 lbs. (22.6 kg.) each. Mr. Freeze's weighed 75 lbs. (34 kg.).
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 Batman Forever (1995).
If not for the universally negative reaction to the film, two sequels planned. Batman Unchained, a direct sequel, would have George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell reprising their roles, although there were no plans for Alicia Silverstone to return. Scarecrow and Harley Quinn would have been the main villains, with cameos from past villains in the series. The film was going to take the film back to its darker roots. The other film was a Robin/Nightwing spin-off, with O'Donnell reprising his role as Dick Grayson/Robin/Nightwing. It is speculated that, if films beyond Batman Unchained were to be made, O'Donnell would be Nightwing rather than Robin.
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.
According to John Glover, Joel Schumacher "would sit on a crane with a megaphone and yell before each take, 'Remember, everyone, this is a cartoon'. It was hard to act because that kind of set the tone for the film."
Chris O'Donnell revealed that despite hanging out with Arnold Schwarzenegger a lot off set and during promotion for the film, they never worked a single day together. This was achieved with stand ins when one of the actors wasn't available.
The roller coaster Mr. Freeze, at Six Flags Over Texas, was supposed to open in 1997 with the release of this film. Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney were scheduled to appear at the opening of the Gotham City area, and be the first to ride Mr. Freeze. Troubles with the launch system delayed the opening until 1998. Schwarzenegger never appeared because he had another promised project at the time. Clooney decided not to go because Schwarzenegger didn't.
Robin's suit in this film is based on 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 unbeknownst 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.)
In the comics, Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Gordon. In this movie she is Barbara Wilson, Alfred's niece. Reportedly, the producers didn't consider her believable as Pat Hingle's daughter.
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.
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.
After the film's negative reception, plans for Tim Burton's "Superman Lives" have been shut down. The movie would've been a first attempt to have a shared universe between Batman and Superman, with George Clooney reprising his role as Batman, and with Nicolas Cage as Superman.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had been previously considered for several superhero TV series and films. In 1978, he was offered the role of The Hulk in The Incredible Hulk (1978). He tried out for the part of Superman/Clark Kent in Superman (1978). Je 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.
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.
When comparing work on Batman Forever (1995), Chris O'Donnell explained, "It just felt like everything got a little soft the second time. On Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid's toy commercial." He also complained of the Robin costume, saying it was more involved and uncomfortable than the one he wore in Batman Forever, with a glued-on mask which caused sweat to pool on his face.
Director Joel Schumacher said in an interview about this movie "if there's anyone that lets say loved Batman Forever (1995) and went into Batman and Robin with great anticipation if I disappointed them in anyway, then I really want to apologize because it wasn't my intention, my intention was just to entertain them".
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.
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 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.
Joel Schumacher once said in an interview that if Arnold Schwarzenegger had not wanted to play Mr. Freeze, Sylvester Stallone was his second choice. Hulk Hogan, who appeared with Sylvester Stallone in Rocky III coincidentally, was Schumacher's third choice to play Mr. Freeze. Schumacher said he wanted Schwarzenegger for the role, and he threatened not to direct the film if Schwarzenegger wasn't cast.
Arnold Schwarzenegger felt that his character was good, liked the Joel Schumacher non-Batman films, and was already doing Eraser (1996) for Warner. He added that "it's always easy to be smug in hindsight" when the movie turns out to be worse than expected.
Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman was blamed for ruining the movie. Director Joel Schumacher defended him, quoting, "Akiva Goldsman was blamed for this sort of lightness and humor and fun and games, but that's not fair. I take full responsibility. I mean Akiva did write the script, but I shot it and worked with Akiva so you know if you love a movie there are hundreds of people who made it lovable for you. If you don't like, it blame the director. That's what our names are there for."
This movie was such a bomb, and ruined so many careers, there's actually a "Batman's Curse" associated with it: Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone and Joel Schumacher all went into serious career slumps after this movie. The only survivors were Arnold Schwarzenegger, and George Clooney who was starring on ER (1994) at the time and was able to springboard from this to other box office hits, A-list actor stardom and Oscar winning status.
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.)
Celebrities like Jessie Ventura and Jon Bon Jovi would stop by the set to hang out with Arnold Schwarzenegger and smoke cigars. Bon Jovi would hand deliver the Cuban cigars to the set, which Schwarzenegger would have painted white so that he could smoke them during filming (for real). There was an 11 person team required to get the actor into his makeup and costume for Mr. Freeze. The team had to work fast because Schwarzenegger had a strict 12-hour limit per day written into his contract and would have handlers feeding him and massaging his hands while he was in the makeup chair.
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.
Robert "Jeep" Swenson was chosen to play Bane after the stuntmen on Batman Returns recommended him. Schumacher said, "I think he had the biggest biceps on record at the time. He was a sweet guy with a young family." Swenson unexpectedly died of heart failure at the age of 40 soon after the premier of the movie.
This movie bears a few striking resemblances to The Dark Knight Rises (2012). First is Talia al Ghul's taunt that James Gordon has only bought Gotham 'eleven minutes', which is exactly the same amount of time Mr Freeze tells Batman his frozen victims have to live. Secondly, Selina Kyle tells Bruce Wayne that 'there's a storm coming', which is also similar to what Mr Freeze tells his allies.
First Batman film to not feature one of the four villains from Batman The Movie (1966). Joker appeared in Batman (1989) and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Penguin in Batman Returns (1992), Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992) and Riddler in Batman Forever (1995).
Kimberly Scott and Michael Paul Chan, who play scientists at the Gotham Observatory, also appeared in Batman Forever (1995) but in different roles. In the previous film, Scott played Bruce Wayne's assistant whereas Chan appeared as a worker at Wayne Enterprises. Joel Schumacher frequently uses them in his movies.
Alicia Silverstone was brought on to play Batgirl in hopes that young women would come to see Batman & Robin in theaters. She was a teenager at the time and was the victim of body shaming on the set and in public thanks to the cruel joke of storyboard editor Tim Burgard. At the time it was rumored that the young actress was having trouble fitting into the tiny Batgirl costume. Burgard says this: "I heard she was in the costume department being cinched into a corset to fit into what they were going to try to do the costume. So I did a cartoon of what I thought she looked like... I did it as a movie poster, Clueless 2: The Casting of Batgirl. It was a private joke, just the guys in the art department." The joke drawing got out, but Burgard got to keep his job because he "luckily" never signed it.
Character actor Nicky Katt has been in two batman movies. In Batman & Robin he plays the motorcycle racer (his face is painted and his voice is dubbed over) who wants to race Alicia Silverstone. He is also in The Dark Knight as the SWAT officer who rides shotgun in the armored car Chase.
In the TV series Gotham (2014), Victor Fries - Mr Freeze - utters "I'll be back" in one episode, prior to attacking a pharmacy owner. The same phrase, of course, is more famously used by Arnold Schwarzenegger - this film's Freeze - in The Terminator (1984).
This is the only film (in the original series) in which none of the villains learns 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) and the Riddler and Two Face read Bruce Wayne's mind in Batman Forever (1995). But neither Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy nor Bane uncovers 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).
The character arc of Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy in this film is almost identical to that of Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992): They start out as glasses-wearing, unkempt, meek women who learn that their bosses (Max Schreck, Dr. Jason Woodrue) are corrupt. Once they learn this, both their bosses try to kill them. When their bosses think the women are dead, they both get resuscitated by the things that become their motifs (ally cats awaken Kyle to become Catwoman and plants save Isley who becomes Poison Ivy). After embarking on new purposes, the two villainesses both kill their bosses by kissing them. However, this happens much quicker for Isley than for Kyle.
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.
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.
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".
Whilst Batgirl is fighting Poison Ivy, Robin is struggling with the plants holding him underwater. He manages to get his head above water briefly before being dragged back down by the vines. The shot of his head coming out of the water is actually played back to show him being dragged back under. This same method was also used in Pulp Fiction which Uma Thurman also stars in. Note: the same shot of Robin's head emerging from water is replayed moments later