How well do you know the movies of Batman Forever director, Joel Schumacher? Are you familiar with his directing portfolio outside of the Batman movies and The Lost Boys?

Well, today I’m throwing the spotlight on the movies that have been directed by Schumacher. From The Incredible Shrinking Woman and Flatliners, to Batman & Robin and Phone Booth, Schumacher has delivered an eclectic mix of motion pictures, incorporating horror, comedy, and comic books.

Want to know more? Then read on.

Oh, and as an added extra, in this post I will also highlight Schumacher’s most financially successful picture. Can you guess what it is? All is revealed below.

TV movies

To begin with, Joel Schumacher’s early work included script writing for projects such as the 1978 Diana Ross/Michael Jackson movie, The Wiz, as well as directorial work on the TV movies, Virginia Hill (1974) and Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill (1979). These projects – amongst others – are what led towards Schumacher moving further into a Hollywood film career.

OK, let’s look at Schumacher’s filmography, starting with the 1980s…



Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures

The 1980s was the decade in which Joel Schumacher got his first big screen break, directing the comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman. The film starred Lily Tomlin, Charles Grodin, and Ned Beatty, as well as future Batman & Robin actor, John Glover.

Following The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Schumacher directed Mr. T, Adam Baldwin and Gary Busey in Street Fleet, before taking on the coming of age movie, St. Elmo’s Fire. The film featured Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, and Andie MacDowell.

St. Elmo’s Fire was a moderate success, but it was 1985’s horror classic, The Lost Boys which really struck a chord with audiences and gave Schumacher one of his best-loved movies. To this day, The Lost Boys is regarded as a fan-favourite film and is beloved by a whole generation of horror fanatics.

Here is Joel Schumacher’s directing filmography for the 1980s:

  • The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981)
  • Street Fleet (1983)
  • St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
  • The Lost Boys (1985)
  • Cousins (1989)



Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

The 1990s was the busiest decade for Schumacher, and the one where he had some of his biggest commercial successes. He kicked off the decade with the Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts starring psychological horror, Flatliners, before reteaming with Roberts for the romantic drama, Dying Young.

Schumacher then followed this with the Michael Douglas movie, Falling Down, and the Susan Sarandon/Tommy Lee Jones legal thriller, The Client. The Client – an adaptation of a John Grisham novel – proved to be a huge financial hit for both Schumacher and Warner Bros., paving the way for 1995’s Batman Forever.

With Batman Forever, Schumacher was given the task of reigniting interest in the Batman Anthology – a series that was experiencing a bumpy ride due to the lukewarm reception that Batman Returns received in 1992. In Schumacher’s own words, “There wasn’t an enormous expectation, on anyone’s part, because we had gone into it being told constantly that no one wanted another Batman movie.”*

Expectations may not have been initially high, but once the marketing machine began on Batman Forever it soon became clear the film was going to be a huge commercial hit. Warner Bros. was so pleased with the response to Batman Forever that Schumacher was asked back for the sequel, 1997’s Batman & Robin.

Due to the overwhelming success of Batman Forever, Batman & Robin rapidly became one of the most anticipated movies of ’97 – perhaps too anticipated. Upon release it was a big critical failure and rightly or wrongly it turned into Schumacher’s most notorious movie.

Despite talk of another Batman movie following Batman & Robin (something I’ve discussed in the post, Six unproduced Batman movies), this was the end of Schumacher’s involvement with the Caped Crusader. But this didn’t cause too many problems for Schumacher’s directing gigs and he rounded out the decade with 8MM and Flawless, which were both released in 1999.

Here is Joel Schumacher’s filmography for the 1990s:

  • Flatliners (1990)
  • Dying Young (1991)
  • Falling Down (1993)
  • The Client (1994)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • A Time to Kill (1996)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • 8MM (1999)
  • Flawless (1999)

*Source: Shadows of The Bat: The Cinematic Saga of The Dark Knight – Part 5




Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures

During the 2000s, Schumacher continued to helm a succession of movies (this time on a slightly smaller scale than the Batman movies), beginning with 2000’s Tigerland, followed by 2002s Bad Company and Phone Booth and 2003’s Veronica Guerin. Arguably his most prolific release of the decade was 2004’s The Phantom of the Opera – a big screen adaptation of the world-famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

Rounding out the decade, the director re-teamed with Batman Forever star, Jim Carrey for the psychological thriller, The Number 23, and then worked with Michael Fassbender and Henry Cavill for the horror film, Blood Creek.

Here are the Joel Schumacher directed movies of the 2000s:

  • Tigerland (2000)
  • Bad Company (2002)
  • Phone Booth (2002)
  • Veronica Guerin (2003)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
  • The Number 23 (2007)
  • Blood Creek (2009)



Image: ©Hannover House

Moving into the 2010s and things quietened down for Schumacher, with just Twelve (2010) and Trespass (2011) filling out his portfolio. For Trespass, Schumacher reunited with Nicolas Cage, who he had previously directed in 8mm, and Nicole Kidman who had worked with the director on Batman Forever.

Schumacher’s filmography for the 2000s is as follows:

  • Twelve (2010)
  • Trespass (2011)


Outside of the above collection of movies, Schumacher has written screenplays, has been a costumer designer, a producer, and has directed episodes of TV shows, including House of Cards and 2000 Malibu Road. He has also directed shorts and music videos, including Seal’s 1995 Kiss From A Rose musicvideo, which was used as a tie-in to Batman Forever.

OK, so that’s Schumacher’s filmography, now onto his biggest success. What do you think is Joel Schumacher’s highest grossing movie?

*Pauses to build tension*

Joel Schumacher’s most successful movie is Batman Forever which currently has a worldwide gross of $336,567,158**. This is followed by Batman & Robin which has a current box office take of $238,235,719.

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

While Batman & Robin may have received a great deal of criticism upon release, the movie made a lot of money at the box office (as well as a lot of money from merchandising). But it’s Batman Forever which is Schumacher’s big hit and the film that gave him his greatest commercial success.

And now you know.

**(Source: Box Office Mojo)



Are you a fan of Joel Schumacher movies? What do you believe is his best (and worst)? Is there a film in his portfolio that you love? Do you think his Batman movies have gotten better or worse over time?

Whatever your thoughts and feelings about Joel Schumacher’s movies, sound off in the comments section below.

Read more: