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BATMAN & ROBIN Director Joel Schumacher Dies from Cancer at 80

Photo via Jim Carrey on Twitter

BATMAN & ROBIN Director Joel Schumacher Dies from Cancer at 80

By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor

Movie director Joel Schumacher died June 22, 2020, of cancer at 80 years old. Schumacher’s movies BATMAN FOREVER and BATMAN & ROBIN won Movieguide® Awards.

BATMAN FOREVER was one of the Best Movies for Mature Audiences in 1995, and BATMAN & ROBIN was one of the Best Movies for Mature Audiences in 1998.

“When Joel Schumacher and I took over the franchise, our mandate from the chairman of Warner Bros. was to bring family values back to Batman,” said producer Peter MacGregor Scott at the Movieguide® Awards. “We are very happy to receive the Teddy Bear from MOVIEGUIDE. It is our second one for the BATMAN series.”

MOVIEGUIDE® close friend, Barry Reardon, was president of Warner Bros. Domestic Theatrical Distribution and committed to winning the box office by demanding family oriented moves. During his tenure at WB, he led Warners to the number one at the box office for eight out of sixteen years, and number two for five out of the sixteen, even when Warners had some lackluster movies.

Schumacher later apologized for making his two BATMAN movies so family oriented, and claimed that the studio forced him to do so.

Schumacher wasn’t always in the movie industry, though.

Variety reported Schumacher’s beginnings:

Born in New York City, he studied at Parsons the New School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He worked in the fashion industry, but decided to instead pursue a career in filmmaking. After moving to Los Angeles, he applied his fashion background to working first as a costume designer and worked in TV while earning an MFA from UCLA.

Schumacher identified as homosexual and claimed that he slept with thousands of men but was raised by a Baptist father. Not all of Schmacher’s projects extoll Christian values but many do.

In addition to the BATMAN series, Schumacher directed PHANTOM OF THE OPERA which has a strong Christian allegory.

According to the review of PHANTOM:

Whether or not you like the movie may depend to a large degree on whether you already like the source material or enjoy musical theater. That said, the movie retains the redemptive, Christian allegory of the original, and even adds to it. All of the dramatic, visual and musical motifs come beautifully together in the inspirational ending.

PHANTOM’s lead actress, Emmy Rossum said, “I am in tears learning of Joel Schumacher’s passing. He was a force. He was one of kind. Creative. Intense. Passionate. He played a huge part in the shaping of my life. I don’t have the right words right now.”

Schumacher had 35 directing credits to his name upon his death such as A TIME TO KILL which stresses the value of grace and doesn’t take the Lord’s name in vain, PHONE BOOTH with Colin Farrell, and THE NUMBER 23 with Jim Carrey.