June 30, 1997 12:00 PM

HOLY HYPEFEST, BATMAN. AT THE June 12 Los Angeles premiere of Batman & Robin, even the Caped Crusader (George Clooney), his Boy Wonder sidekick (Chris O’Donnell) and Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) were a little surprised by the to-do outside Mann’s Village and Bruin Theatres. Helicopters whirred; in-line skaters, dressed as the movie’s villains, whizzed by the Batmobile; and screaming fans, six rows deep, crowded the barricades. Guests had their own take on what was behind the Batmania. “It’s my Academy Award performance,” deadpanned Elle Macpherson, who plays Bruce Wayne’s gal in the fourth installment of the series. Ashley Judd offered another theory: “George is dreamy. Love the cocoa-brown eyes through the bat mask.”

Afterward, Courtney Love, Danny DeVito, Salma Hayek and other revelers chowed down on chicken tacos at a Gotham-themed party. Dean Cain, whose own superhero series has been canceled by ABC, was among those duly impressed. “Superman thinks Batman has a lot cooler gadgets,” he said, “and makes a lot more money.”

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