It’s rare when comic book movies bomb; even The Suicide Squad, which tanked in movie theaters, allegedly did gangbusters on HBO Max. But when they do it’s like a redwood going down. One of the genre’s most notorious black eyes is 1997’s Batman & Robin. It grossed $100 million domestically…but against a $160 million budget. And it ensured that the Caped Crusader, who had once ruled the superhero film, was AWOL for almost a decade. It has some fans now, but its star is definitely not one of them.
George Clooney attended a screening of his latest directorial opus, The Tender Bar, where a Variety reporter reminded him of one of his cinematic nadirs. They were discussing how he’s one of the old Batmen not asked to be in the multiverse-loving The Flash, which features Tender Bar star Ben Affleck as well as Michael Keaton. Clooney had a simple reason for that.
“He won’t let me watch it,” Amal Clooney says of George Clooney’s Batman movie.
— Variety (@Variety) October 4, 2021
“The truth is I didn’t want to do it,” he joked, before adding, even more bluntly, “No, they didn’t ask me.” He had a reason for that, too. “When you destroy a franchise the way I did, usually they look the other way when The Flash comes by.”
Amal Clooney, his wife, then revealed that he “won’t let me watch it.” Why? “There are certain films I just go, ‘I want my wife to have some respect for me,’” he said.
Clooney did agree with the Variety reporter that in the film he did “have great nipples,” referring to an unusual sartorial addition to the iconic Batman suit. But when Amal pointed out that one day their kids may want to watch it, his eye-roll was as over-the-top as Batman & Robin itself.
This is far from the first time Clooney has dissed his stab at DC’s most brooding superhero. “I always apologize for Batman & Robin,” he said on The Graham Norton Show back in 2015. “I thought at the time this was going to be a very good career move. It wasn’t.”
You can watch Clooney’s old Graham Norton appearance below. Please enjoy his spot-on impersonation of Batman & Robin director Joel Schumacher.