Batman & Robin is a 1997 American superhero film based on the DC Comics characters Batman and Robin. It is the fourth and final installment of Warner Bros.’s initial Batman film series, a sequel to Batman Forever and the only film in the series made without the involvement of Tim Burton in any capacity. Directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Akiva Goldsman, it stars George Clooney replacing Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze, and Chris O’Donnell reprising his role as Dick Grayson / Robin, alongside Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, and Elle Macpherson. The film follows the titular characters as they attempt to prevent Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from taking over the world, while at the same time struggling to keep their partnership together. It is also to date the only live-action film appearance of Batgirl, portrayed by Silverstone, who helps the title characters fight the villains.
Warner Bros. fast-tracked development for Batman & Robin following the box office success of Batman Forever. Schumacher and Goldsman conceived the storyline during pre-production on A Time to Kill, while Val Kilmer decided not to reprise the role over scheduling conflicts with The Saint. Schumacher had a strong interest in casting William Baldwin in Kilmer’s place before George Clooney won the role. Principal photography began in September 1996 and wrapped in January 1997, two weeks ahead of the shooting schedule.
Batman & Robin premiered in Los Angeles on June 12, 1997, and went into general release on June 20. Making $238.2 million worldwide against a production budget of $160 million, the film received generally unfavorable reviews and is often considered to be one of the worst films ever made. It is also the lowest-grossing live-action Batman film to date. Due to the film’s poor reception, Warner Bros. cancelled a sequel, Batman Unchained, and rebooted the film series with Batman Begins in 2005. One of the songs recorded for the film, “The End Is the Beginning Is the End” by The Smashing Pumpkins, won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.
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