9. Tim Burton’s Batman Forever (1995)
Following the disappointing box office returns of Batman Returns – earning just $266 million following Batman’s $411 million – Tim Burton was booted from what would otherwise have been his third Batman flick, Batman Forever, with Michael Keaton also reprising his role as the Caped Crusader. Warner Bros. attribute Returns’ “failure” to the downcast tone of the film, which turned parents off and also made it difficult for Warner to milk the film for kid-friendly merchandise.
Burton had planned to use The Riddler as the antagonist, though saw no place for Two-Face in his story (as wound up in Joel Schumacher’s unfairly derided version), while Robin was going to be a street-smart black kid, influenced by both Jason Todd and Dick Grayson.
Casting-wise, Robin Williams was lined up for The Riddler – a casting rumour that resurfaced during early pre-production on The Dark Knight Rises – Billy Dee Williams was going to return as Harvey Dent, Rene Russo as Dr. Chase Meridian (played by Nicole Kidman in Schumacher’s film), and perhaps most curiously, Marlon Wayans as Robin, who was initially considered for the original 1989 Batman.
So, what happened? With Burton kicked to the curb, Keaton followed, turning down a $15 million payday. The role was re-cast with Val Kilmer donning the suit, causing Russo, who believed she was too old for the role, to bail, with Kidman filling the slot. Wayans was meanwhile paid off to leave, and Chris O’Donnell took his place, essentially making the film resemble little of the original vision.