Director Joel Schumacher recently said he owes an apology to every Batman fan for “Batman & Robin,” which turns 20 years old this month. While George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne did mark a low point for the franchise, Schumacher is just one of many directors to critcize their own work, regardless of whether they place the blame solely on themselves or studio executives forcing unwanted changes.
Click through the gallery to see 9 more directors who have publicly slammed their films.
Joss Whedon had his fair share of battles with Marvel executives over the studio cutting scenes he wanted in 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Ultimately, Whedon just gave up. “I was so beaten down at that point that I was like, ‘Sure, OK — what movie is this?’ he told Empire Film Podcast. Whedon later regretted badmouthing the movie, saying at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival that doing so “did a disservice to the movie and to the studio and to myself.”
Tony Kaye famously fought to have his director’s cut of “American History X” released rather than New Line’s version, and when the studio refused, he tried to take his name off the film. “My problem all through ‘American History X’ was that I could never tell anyone what I wanted to do with the film,” Kaye wrote in a guest article for the Guardian. “Sometimes I didn’t even know myself.”
Michael Bay has apologized for for 1998’s “Armageddon,” saying the 16-week schedule was not enough time to pull off such a big movie. “I would redo the entire third act if I could,” he said during an interview with the Miami Herald.
David Fincher jumped at the opportunity to direct “Aliens 3” as his first feature film, but quickly discovered the reason so many other directors had abandoned the project — the script was a mess. Fincher did his best to rewrite the screenplay, but when the movie flopped at the box office and attracted weak reviews, he admitted the production was doomed from the start.
In his first-ever Facebook live interview in May, Woody Allen said he had to change the ending to 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” after failing to execute his vision for the movie. “I didn’t earn the tragedy or the pathos that I was going for,” Allen said. As a result, he abandoned his original ending where Michael Caine ends up alone and longing for Barbara Hershey.
After making his second feature, 1997’s “Mr. Jealousy” Noah Baumbach tried to shoot another film with the same actors in just six days. That movie, “Highball,” was such a misfire in his eyes that he took his name off of it. “It really was an experiment, and kind of a foolish experiment, because I didn’t think about what the ramifications would be if it didn’t work,” Baumbach said in an interview with The A.V. Club. “It was just too ambitious. We didn’t have enough time, we didn’t finish it, it didn’t look good, it was just a whole… mess.”
Alan Taylor had almost complete creative control while shooting “Thor: The Dark World” for Marvel, but hardly any when it came to editing the film. “In post, it turned into a different movie,” Taylor said in an interview with Uproxx. “So, that is something I hope never to repeat and don’t wish upon anybody else.”
Just days before 2015’s “Fantastic Four” hit theaters, director Josh Trank hinted that he wasn’t happy with the final product. “A year ago, I had a fantastic version of this, and it would’ve received great reviews,” Trank tweeted. “You’ll probably never see it.” The movie was a box office bomb and got panned by critics.
Stanley Kubrick’s first feature film, 1953’s “Fear and Desire,” was praised by critics but didn’t perform at the box office. Years after it opened in theaters, Kubrick relayed through a Warner Bros. publicist that he considered the movie to be “a bumbling amateur film exercise.”