In 1996 it was announced that George Clooney would be replacing Val Kilmer as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman & Robin – the fourth instalment in the Warner Bros. hugely successful Batman franchise. Clooney would share the screen with box office titan Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone and the returning boy wonder Chris O’Donnell. It looked like Clooney was about to do what the likes of Don Johnson, Tom Selleck and David Caruso had failed to do – have a viable cinematic career.
Batman & Robin opened in the summer of 1997 to dismal reviews and lackluster box office – it grossed $107 million in the US and $238 million globally.
The poor performance of the film mothballed the Batman franchise until 2005 when it was resuscitated by Christopher Nolan – it also cooled some of Clooney’s heat and made some entertainment watchers believe that Clooney’s charisma wouldn’t transcend the limitations of the living room. It would take Steven Sodebergh’s Out of Sight in 1998 to make him a big screen star.