We can’t wait for Ben Affleck’s Batman movie in 2018, right? However, Affleck says we might have to.
Despite the pleas and wishes of Warner Brothers and DC Comics movie fans, Ben Affleck continues to insist that he’s not ready to make the solo Batman film that he’s set to write and direct. Affleck has said all along that he holds a Batman movie to the highest standard and if the script he’s writing with DC Entertainment president (and renowned comic book writer) Geoff Johns doesn’t meet that expectation, the project won’t move forward.
Warner Brothers has a slot open for Summer 2018 and would love The Batman (tentative title) to be one of its blockbusters for that year. However, it’s more likely that an Affleck Batman film would premiere the following summer, taking the place of Justice League 2, which has been pushed back due to director Zack Snyder wanting to take a break from DC superheroes and shoot a different film first.
Affleck appears to be pushing back on any pressure from Warner Bros. to get The Batman up and running as soon as possible, preferably sometime this year. But the actor-director is currently making the promotional rounds for his latest film, Live By Night, and whenever he’s asked about that Batman movie, Affleck is doing all he can to pump the brakes on the Batmobile. Speaking to The Guardian‘s Martyn Palmer, he maintained that the script isn’t finished and it’s obviously important to him to get that locked before filming begins.
“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 echoes what Affleck has been saying all along, but most recently during a public Q&A with the New York Times‘ Chip McGrath.
“I’m a real believer in not reverse engineering projects to meet a window or a date. So, that’s what we’re doing. I’m really mindful of that. I’m not in any hurry to jam a mediocre film down the pipe.”
Warner Brothers and DC Films obviously feel differently, eager to get The Batman in theaters as soon as possible. Last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were disappointments with critics and fans (though successful at the box office), and WB is eager to turn that perception around in its competition with Marvel for global superhero movie domination. Wonder Woman and Justice League both come out this year, which could restore DC Films’ reputation. But Batman movies have always been hugely successful for the studio, and having a prestige director like Affleck attached would greatly increase anticipation.
However, Affleck might feel even more strongly about making sure his Batman film is good, after all the questions he had to face about Batman v Superman‘s critical drubbing during interviews and junkets. That clearly wasn’t a pleasant experience for him.
Getting The Batman rolling might also be in Affleck’s best interests. Live By Night has not been getting great reviews (currently drawing a 35 percent negative ranking on Rotten Tomatoes) before its wide Jan. 13 release. But that may also have to do with the high expectations Affleck has set as a director, coming off the Academy Award-winning success of Argo, along with critical acclaim for The Town and Gone Baby Gone.
What we may have here is a bit of a standoff between Affleck and Warner Bros. through the press. WB likely doesn’t care if Affleck makes the best Batman movie ever. Just get it into theaters and start counting the money. But given his success as a director, the studio probably will ultimately cede to his wishes, even if there are blockbuster release dates to fill. With other actors cast for the project, such as J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon and Joe Manganiello as bad guy Deathstroke, the movie is going to happen. However, it’s more likely we see it in 2019.