Tuesday, July 4, 2023

A Schumacher Cut of Batman Forever finally screens! Details revealed.

Well, after months of waiting for any kind of movement on the long-fabled Schumacher Cut we finally got a flurry of activity these last few weeks. First it was revealed on Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond podcast that a listener Joe Black had handed Smith a workprint copy of Batman Forever on a thumb drive. Apparently Joe went to a tiny screening somewhere else and managed to convince the person who screened it a make him a copy. 

 Smith and Black discussed a little bit about the differences in this workprint from the theatrical release and then – Smith did the unthinkable – he announced he would screen this cut at his own SmodCastle Cinema in New Jersey. He would add it as a bonus to the end of a Clerks cartoon marathon. So technically he wouldn’t be charging people for watching it – as he put it “maybe I’ll put a film on at the end.” As I said, it’s his cinema so essentially it’s his rules. He can do what he wants. 

Cut to a couple of days ago and sure enough, he did (at like 3am!) screen this workprint. Now sadly, being based in the UK I was unable to attend but word has been spread by the 30 or so people who did stick around to watch it. Among these lucky viewers were the Epic Film Guys podcast. They recorded this great podcast detailing all the differences they spotted and I want to thank them for letting me write up notes based on what they said. Go listen to their podcast and follow them:- http://www.epicfilmguys.com/e/batman-forever-the-schumacher-cut-review-breakdown/ 

First off, the film is around about 2 hours and 16 minutes – we know this because there was a timecode burnt into the bottom of the screen. It also says WORKPRINT 11/94 which implies it was from November 1994 – we know there were some additional pick up shots done later. Apparently – and I’m assuming this was Joe Black because he mentioned he’d like to do it on the podcast – any shots that we identical to the theatrical cut, they had swapped out the workprint footage and just kept the audio. So it was very clear to audiences where the new material was. 

This is an early cut of the film – seemingly made before Elliot Goldenthal had completed his full score. As such, the film has a temp score that re-uses a lot of Danny Elfman’s scores for Batman and Batman Returns. This is a typical thing that is done on movies when you need to get a sense of what the finished film will sound like (or needs to sound like) before the composer creates their own score. 

The film has some unfinished effects work and the dialogue is much rougher. Apparently Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones re-recorded the audio for a lot of their performances (this is known in the business as ADR). 

Now there was rumour that the performance of Jones in particular was much subtler but the Epic Film Guys say that’s not really the case. He’s still cackling, hooting and generally being over the top. Other people who saw this cut did report that Jones performance was a littler subtler and generally improved. 

Some of the takes in the film are alternate takes of lines and some of the shots last longer. The Epic Film Guys said some shots they could tell the actors were waiting for the director to say “cut”. 

The main thing to note is that this cut follows the scene order of the original script. We don’t start at the bank and then go to Wayne Enterprises. And Chase’s seduction of Batman on the GCPD rooftop is later in the film. 

  • We start at Arkham Asylum with Dr Burton finding Two Face has escaped (this deleted scene is on the DVD/Blu-ray). There might be one extra exterior shot of the Asylum that we’ve not seen. 
  • Next we go to Wayne Enterprises, we zoom in on one window. Bruce Wayne is inside talking to his assistants. They are harassing him with lots of questions. One of the assistants is Jon Favreau – who can be briefly seen in the theatrical cut but has no lines. Bruce has just come back from meeting the President. He stops his assistants and then announces he needs to give himself a raise. (This scene is featured in the original script but we’ve never seen footage of it). 
  • Then we go to Bruce meeting Edward Nygma and being shown the prototype box. This is the same as the theatrical cut (there’s apparently a little more of him starting the machine – glimpses of this might be the ones seen in the U2 music video). 
  • As with the theatrical cut, Bruce sees the Bat signal, leaves Edward hanging, heads to his office and takes the chair luge thing to the Batcave. He gets dressed in the batsuit heads to the Batmobile. Alfred says “Can I persuade you to take a sandwich?”. Batman “I’ll get drive thru.” At this point, we have the main title! 
  • Now Batman arrives at the bank (there’s a few extra shots of the crowd). Everything plays out as the theatrical cut. When Batman comes out of the elevator he says ”Going down?” (as seen in the trailer). 
  • When Batman rescues the security guard with the hearing aid – there’s less dialogue between the two. The guard does not say “Oh no, it’s boiling acid.” There’s a few more shots of Batman standing on the vault. 
  • There are more effects shots of the helicopter going through the Ocu-Wash sign. Two-Face’s “If the bat wants to play, we’ll play” line (seen in the trailers and used in the video game) is also in this cut. 
  • There’s more of Two-Face in the helicopter after he’s shot the pilot – telling Bruce “You’re a killer too.” (This is probably close to what is the deleted scene on the DVD/Blu-Ray). There’s apparently a little more of Batman trying to get the lock off the flight stick and a few more effects shots of the helicopter hitting Lady Gotham’s face. 
  • As Batman falls into the water – this cut has flashes of young Bruce falling into the cave as a child. And flashes of the giant bat. I’ve got to agree with the Epic Film Guys, this is an odd placement for such a flashback. 
  • After Nygma kills Stickley there’s a little more of him being creepy – taking a photo of Bruce and smashing it on the ground. 
  • Bruce then wakes up in Wayne Manor and we get a little more conversation between him with Alfred. Alfred has the Batsuit in his hands (respect to Michael Gough – those suits were heavy!) and they talk a bit about Bruce being Batman. (Again, I’m assuming this is the extra bit from the script). 
  • The next change is the circus, there’s a few more shots Two-Face and a few more of Dick trying to get rid of the bomb but otherwise this is the same. 
  • When Dick Grayson arrives at Wayne Manor and Alfred tells him “Broken wings mend in time” Dick is looking at a newspaper with a headline about Two-Face. 
  • Chase’s scene where she tries to seduce Batman on the rooftop and moved back to after the circus scene and her dialogue makes more sense – “Two-Face’s coin. It’s his achilles heel.”- because she saw him at the circus. 
  • When Dick Grayson goes up against Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson’s skull faced gang leader – the audio isn’t dubbed. It’s Wilson’s actual voice which is a little flat. 
  • After Batman swoops down and scares the gang away apparently the scene of Dick punching Batman in frustration and yelling “It’s your fault” goes on longer and ends with Dick Grayson collapsing in exhaustion. Apparently there’s a cool overhead shot of in this. A unit still of this has been available for a while and I’m assuming this is how the shot ended. 
  • The scene of the Riddler coming up with his identity is slightly extended and after the Riddler looks over at his fortune telling machine we get a shot of his computer and see him making the costume on screen. 
  • During the montage of Riddler and Two-Face robbing locations there’s more of the Two-Face showing how to punch the guard. After Riddler hurts his hand, Two-Face smacks the guard and he crumples. (Note: the script and trading cards show the Riddler followed this up by beating the guard on the floor with his cane – I don’t think this is in this cut). The Epic Film Guys said this scene was much more menacing and sinister with Elfman’s music over the top. 
  • There’s an extra shot of the exterior of Chase’s apartment when Bruce goes to visit her. He also says “Thanks for her help with Dick” implying she is counselling him too. 
  • At the Nygmatech Party – Nygma does not ask Sugar “How’s my mole?” which I’m really sad about. That is GENUINELY my favourite line in the whole film. 
  • There’s a couple more shots of Batman climbing up the railings to get to the top of the Ritz Gotham. 
  • After Dick rescues Bruce and they’re back at the batcave we get more of Bruce watching a news report by an anchor called Kenneth Frequency who says Batman should retire and is just a menace to Gotham. Bruce then talks to Alfred who tells him he should call Chase and tell her how he feels. Alfred picks up the phone and calls Chase but Bruce can’t talk and hangs up. (This scene is on the DVD/Blu-Ray). 
  • Not an addition – but apparently all the cartoon sound effects are there during the part when Two-Face and Riddler break into Wayne Manor and blow up the Batcave. 
  • When Bruce wakes up after the attack, the bullet graze has given him amnesia. Alfred says they need to go to the cave beneath the cave. Bruce can’t remember anything about being Batman. Alfred beckons him to go into a small crevasse (not unlike the bit in Empire Strikes Back when Luke has the vision about fighting Vader on Dagobah). He goes into the small cave, finds the red diary and reads it. It is his father’s diary – the last entry says “Martha and I have our hearts set on Zorro so Bruce’s cartoon will have to wait.” The implication begin Bruce had blamed himself for going to the cinema the night his parent’s died. He says to himself “not my fault. It’s not my fault.” He stands up and sees a bat fly towards him. The giant turns out to be 7 foot tall (we’ve morphed into some kind of dream sequence) . He stretches out his arms, the bat stretches out his wings and the camera flies around them both. He comes back out the cave, sees Alfred and says “I’m Batman, Alfred. I’m Batman.” (This scene is on the DVD/Blu-Ray). 
  • There is apparently then a very cool but unfinished CGI shot after Bruce says this where a bunch of CGI bats fly out of the small crevasse behind Bruce. 
  • There’s some extra bit when Batman is talking to the Riddler in his throne room where we see Batman try to put his foot forward and notice that most of the floor is a hologram. 
  • There’s a little more of Two-Face on the ledge pointing his gun at Robin, Chase and Batman. 
  • There’s a little more of Edward in his cell pretending to be Batman. 
  • The film ends with Chase getting in the car and asking Alfred “Does it ever end?” to which he replies “Not in this lifetime.” The cut then goes to the Batman and Robin running in front of the Bat signal.
  • The Beauty Parlour scene (which was available on the DVD/Blu-Ray) – where Batman’s crime alert monitor in his Batmobile redirects him to a beauty parlour/hair salon and all the patrons laugh at him is not in this cut. Thank God! 
  • The Wooden Dummy scene - (which was available on the DVD/Blu-Ray) – where Dick is training on a wooden dummy with Two-Face’s picture taped to it. Bruce comes in and talks to him about Dick’s plans for revenge, and then kicks the dummy, snapping the top bit off. 
  • There is no scene of Dick Grayson showing Alfred kung-fu laundry. 
  • There’s seemingly no more of Edward Nygma on Claw Island after opening Nygmatech. The trading cards and sticker album did show that some shots of him were taken at a launch party (with two women with bright red hair) and some shots of him driving around in a little buggy with a hard hat. 
  • There is no scene of Sugar and Spice calling for a helicopter to come get them after the Nygmatech party. 
  • When Chase kisses Bruce at Wayne Manor there is no shot to show that she has figured out he’s Batman from kissing him. 
  • There is no shot of Riddler injecting Chase with a giant syringe and says “Nap time gorgeous.” 
  • There is no hero shot of Robin standing over Two-Face. 
  • After Two-Face falls there is no shot of his hand and a coin landing on it. As soon as he falls off the ledge that’s it. 
  • There is no scene of Batman talking to the deformed Riddler “Why can’t I kill you? Too many questions” … “Poor Edward I had to save them both. You see I’m both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not because I have to be, now because I choose to be.” 
  • There is no shot of Batman and Robin on a gargoyle at the end of the film – we know they shot this on a blue screen so maybe it was scrapped to save money or they ran out of time to finish the effect. 
Once again, thanks to the Epic Film Guys podcast - check their website here:-http://www.epicfilmguys.com/


  1. Wait a second, they had the ending shot of Batman and Robin running in front of the Batsignal?

    1. Yup, apparently didn't film that shot until early 1995 and this workprint is from November 1994. I suspect they shot Batman and Robin on the blue screen but ran out of time/money to complete it.

    2. So while they had lunch together with Lisa Marie, Tim told Joel to shoot a new ending and have a Batman 66 style ending, and Joel said "Okay, Tim." So, that ending was filmed.

    3. And during the introduction of Edward Nygma, in the background, it played the Breakfast Machine cue from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.

  2. GREAT breakdown of all of this material, Jack! It's such a shame that everyone who has acquired these workprints are too selfish to share them with a hungry public and are only distributing them for their own gain. All of these #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut hashtags are intended for people like them. Warners in their current state are way too stubborn to listen to such demands to release material like this or sure fire winners like the famed 134 minute long cut of Superman IV because the market for it is just film fans who are interested in alternate cuts of films that's not as appealing to the masses who can live with whatever theatrical cut they throw our way. The lack of original audio on the 4K editions of the Batman films and the rather botched release of the 4K Superman films are evidence of this mentality.

    This Joe Black fella (YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/@joedoable) only gave Kevin Smith his copy in exchange for Jersey Girl test screening cards he was auctioning off at his theater and is apparently a big enough fan to not only criticize Smith's movies but also give him a thumb drive containing his own films to gain his support, a mirror of the Edward Nygma and Bruce Wayne relationship in this film. Black is also trying to claim that the only copy he has of the workprint was on the thumb drive he gave to Smith which is HIGHLY unlikely and an unbelieveable attempt to attention away from him. I was not aware that he acquired this edit from another "tiny screening," which I'm sure was not met with the approval with whoever allowed that to happen.

    I believe there is also a later workprint that's been shown in snippets on a Twitter page with another unwilling owner who's not sharing what's not even theirs to begin with. The Internet is inundated with various workprints of this condition (RoboCop 2, The Mask, Beetlejuice). People had to live with a recorded version of the accidental screenings of the 70mm Blade Runner workprint until it was finally release decades later on the Blu-ray release. I guess everyone is holding out for a more polished version of this workprint but I'm much more interested in the film at this state of creation with the Danny Elfman music temp music and apparently material from Elliot Goldenthal's own score for Interview with the Vampire. Another high profile release of the workprint to the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie was only released thanks to the efforts of fans obtaining the material (through an eBay auction!) and letting it eventually be included as a special feature on the Blu-ray release of the film. I hope one day we'll get this as well, but it's gonna be a slow couple of years of waiting until the next landmark anniversary of the film when it appears to be just one upload away from being obtainable while screenings like Smith's are clearly being the draw in for his "unadvertised screeenings" commence without consequences from Warners that are rather taxing on fans like yourself that are simply too far away to see it.

    While this all "raises too many questions," I do appreciate all you do at keeping the legacy of Schumacher's Batman going and hope you get top priority in obtaining and viewing all of this material. As Bruce Wayne says, "Thanks, everybody! Keep up the good work! Factory looks great!"

    1. Hey Kamdan, thanks for the comments. Yes, it's frustrating how close we are to seeing this cut. Believe me I've made enquiries about getting my hands on it to a few sources but no luck so far. If nothing else, I'd love to see that Bruce and his assistants scene as I don't even think we have any stills from that! The Super Mario Bros extended cut is a great example of how WB could release this (I have that on my hard drive - need to make time to watch it). By the way, I think that other Workprint (the one the guy posts bits from on Twitter) is according to other people I've spoken to 99% the same as the theatrical cut.

    2. Wait a minute, they are going to have the workprint of Batman Forever?