Let’s try to suss out what’s going on with Ben Affleck’s Batman film.But first, some context.
Warner Brother’s DC films of late have not been the critical or commercial successes that they hoped they would be. At least when compared to the Marvel films and WB’s own goals. Sources say that execs would have been shocked if Batman V Superman didn’t break a billion (it didn’t). What people do like, however is Batman, more specifically Ben Affleck’s Batman. The actor has risen from the Hollywood graveyard as an A-List director and many had nothing but praise for his take on the caped crusader. So what was the next logical step? A Ben Affleck directed Batman film.
X + Y = truckloads of money and praise right? Not so fast.
The Flash, which was set to start shooting in March, lost two directors due to “creative differences”. Meaning a probable delay from March 2018 and possibly out of 2018 in general.
James Wan’s Aquaman is getting pushed from July to October to give the director some extra time so nail down the effects heavy movie. Because, you know, everything is supposed to be underwater.
Gotham City Sirens is announced with David Ayer and is said to be getting fast tracked.
This leaves 2018 wide open as DC wouldn’t have a films coming out until October. With Gotham City Sirens freshly announced, and some people saying Batman is ready to shoot, one would expect that WB really wants Batman to come out sooner than later. Many are expecting a summer 2018 release date.
So because it’s Batman, any news is headline news for the project but when you really start to pay attention to the comments, the message is actually quite muddled.
- Warner Bros. Chief Kevin Tsujihara announced back in April 2016 that Ben Affleck was directing a solo Batman film.
- Months later in July Ben Affleck confirms that he is directing Batman.
- In pretty much every interview with Ben when Batman comes up he reiterates that he wants to get it right, and won’t move on it until he’s happy with it.
- Warner Bros. moves Justice League 2 to make room for Batman which set it for sometime in 2019.
- Joe Manganiello, who’s playing Deathstroke in the upcoming Batman film said that he expects shooting to start sometime in early 2017.
In an interview with The Guardian earlier this week, Ben says this about Batman:
“That’s the idea. But it’s not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it.”
That doesn’t sound like someone who would be ready to start shooting his own movie in a few months.
Dating back to April of last year, Ben Affleck has stayed with his “If I don’t like it, it won’t happen” message even though everyone else is saying it’s a done deal. So what about the release date?
To Affleck, it’s “There’s no release date.” to Warner Brothers, that’s a different story.
So we have the actor/director who would be acting and directing in WB’s easiest “lock” of the year. Still saying he has no script. This looks like a bit of a tug of war battle between Affleck and the studio. Batman went from no release date, to taking Justice League Part 2’s date to even a 2018. So the deadline for the movie is edging ever closer and we have Affleck saying he won’t do it unless he’s happy with it.
Newsflash. Fast forwarding a movie from (best case scenario) summer 2019 to summer 2018 is not a way to garner goodwill with your most high-profile star/director with your most high-profile project. Ben has had a really good relationship with Warner Brothers over these last few years. Argo, The Town and Live by Night were all under the WB name, and he’s starred in The Accountant, Batman v Superman and appeared in Suicide Squad.
The Flash and Aquaman’s reshuffling certainly has made things difficult for the upcoming DC slate, but Batman could be the one paying the price. As of now there is no official release date but lets end on this.
Co-stars, executives and official announcements are all saying Ben Affleck is directing the Batman movie and it’s going to start shooting soon. Ben Affleck is saying he has no script and says he won’t do it unless he’s happy with it.
The DCEU everybody.