Kevin Smith says he has a copy of Joel Schumacher’s extended cut of ‘Batman Forever’

Val Kilmer dressed as Batman and Nicole Kidman in character in a black dress embrace

An extended director’s cut of the 1995 film “Batman Forever,” with Val Kilmer and Nicole Kidman, has been rumored to exist for years. Filmmaker Kevin Smith claims he has a copy.
(Sunset Boulevard / Corbis via Getty Images)
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In 1995, Warner Bros. gave its “Batman” film franchise a makeover: Tim Burton was out as director and, after creative differences, Michael Keaton left the Caped Crusader behind.

With a fresh Bruce Wayne looking over Gotham City — Val Kilmer — and in the campier, more pop-culture-friendly mold of its new director, Joel Schumacher, “Batman Forever” proved to be divisive. While critics praised its visual effects, they dismissed its main characters — including Nicole Kidman as a criminal psychologist — as lacking substance and accused its villains — Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as the Riddler — of overacting and being too over-the-top.

Even so, Schumacher’s film was a box-office success, with summer audiences packing into theaters to watch all 122 minutes of the superhero blockbuster. But what if that version wasn’t the one the late Schumacher wanted audiences to see?


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In recent years, conversation about the existence of a completely different, darker version — an extended director’s cut — of “Batman Forever” has swirled online. Fans refer to it as the “Schumacher Cut.”

Screenwriter and journalist Marc Bernardin was the first to claim its existence in 2020 in a series of since-deleted tweets. He claimed Warner Bros. was “unsure if there’s any hunger for what was described to me as a ‘much darker, more serious’ version of the film,” according to Variety. The alleged 170-minute version focuses more on Bruce Wayne’s emotional and psychological issues that led him to become Batman.

Warner Bros. has yet to confirm whether the longer version exists and did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Times.

But in recent days, filmmaker and pop culture commentator Kevin Smith, best known for his low-budget “Clerks” films, has claimed he has an actual copy of the Schumacher Cut. In conversation with Bernardin on a live-streamed June 7 episode of their podcast, “Fatman and Beyond,” Smith shared that he “got a copy of ‘Batman Forever,’ the f— Schumacher Cut,” drawing “oohs” from his co-host.

Although Smith revealed few details, the revelation is significant to the lore of the Schumacher Cut. Previous reports by Bernardin and Variety have relied primarily on sources within or close to Warner Bros. Smith said that he watched the cut and teased a 15-minute opening sequence that differed from the original film.

“I probably shouldn’t be talking about this. Warner Bros going to take my ticket away, but I’m gonna slip you a f— copy,” Smith told Bernardin, adding that they would discuss the film in their next episode, which will be recorded live on June 19 at the Star Wars-themed Hollywood bar, Scum and Villainy Cantina. He said they may even screen portions of the Schumacher Cut after the podcast show.


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The Schumacher Cut update drew excitement and fed into the hopes of eager, longtime “Batman Forever” fans online.

“I really hope to see it one day,” wrote @johnnyakatch on Twitter. “This movie holds a special place in my heart.”

“I need to see this movie before I die,” exclaimed @comicfell.

Film YouTuber and blogger @Paul_Berney called on Warner Bros. to “give fans what they want.”

“Not much is being asked,” he wrote. “Yeah, it’ll cost a little money for music editing and special effects. But considering how much money you’d make, surely you can do something worthwhile like the Schumacher Cut.”

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And even skeptics of “Batman Forever,” such as @GothamAdam, called for the longer cut’s release.


“I’m all for getting the Schumacher cut of Batman Forever released even if I’m not the biggest fan of Batman Forever,” he wrote. “Just in terms of artistic integrity it should be released. Hopefully Kevin Smith can help with that if he has indeed seen it. #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut

Calls for the Schumacher Cut mirror a similar fan campaign for Warner Bros. to release Zack Snyder’s original version of the 2017 film “Justice League.” A family tragedy forced Snyder to leave the project (he was replaced by Joss Whedon), but rumors and Reddit theories of a director’s cut, known as the Snyder Cut, were rampant.

Eventually, the film’s cast even joined the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign, with some claiming to have watched the version. As the movement intensified, Warner Bros. debuted “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” on HBO Max in 2021.

After the commercial success of “Batman Forever,” Schumacher would go on to direct its sequel, “Batman & Robin,” which featured George Clooney as Bruce Wayne. The first two films in the franchise were directed by Burton, with the origin story of the DC Comics hero in “Batman” and a darker, noir-esque turn with “Batman Returns.”