These days there are few stronger movie franchises than the Batman films. But back in the ’90s, the Dark Knight’s box office success was far less certain. Nearly 20 years ago, Hollywood execs pulled the plug on a proposed sequel to 1997’s Batman & Robin after the George Clooney flick scored poor reviews upon its release. It was titled Batman Triumphant, the script was written by Mark Protosevich, and Batman & Robin’s Joel Schumacher was back as director.
Titled Batman Triumphant — because why not? — the film will show at a private screening at the Capitol Theatre in Arlington this Friday, with everyone who shows up getting a free DVD copy of the movie (message the directors via Facebook to get on the list). A cease and desist should follow within hours.
“I decided to make an edit of Batman and Robin, removing everything I deemed to be completely fucking stupid and was left with 22 minutes, including credits,” says Batman Triumphant co-director Christopher Brown of Vary Lumar. “I did some reading up on it, and a sequel was green-lit before it was released. When they finally released Batman and Robin to negative reviews and poor performance, they canceled the sequel. However, the script was already written, and it apparently leaked to the internet.”
So like most great ideas, what started out as a joke turned into a real project.
“My friend Eoin [Breathnach] and I had the talk of, ‘What if we did this with iPhones?’ during a lunch conversation,” Brown adds. “And by the end of lunch it was ‘Ok, cool.’ I think budget be damned, it’s at least as good as Schumacher could’ve done.”
The entire film — all 80 minutes long — was shot around Somerville, including Brown’s apartment, the Vary Lumar practice space, and Prospect Hill Monument… which, according to the trailer, posted below, gets blown up in a nice bit of low-budget visual spectacle.
“It would’ve been longer if we had sets worth doing long establishing shots with, but instead we had, like, our basement and the dirt lot down the road,” Brown says. “And frankly it couldn’t be fucking funnier. This is the grownup equivalent of putting on a play in your backyard when seven-years-old for your parents.”