It has not been a good month for the production of The Batman, the solo Batman film (that was at least planned to be) starring Ben Affleck in his third film as the famous crime-fighting caped crusader.
Just days after it appeared the film would be on track to have Matt Reeves take a seat in the director’s chair, a report has surfaced saying he is walking away from the negotiating table with Warner Bros.
Holy crap, Batman!
According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter on Friday, the negotiations between Warner Bros. and the director of Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have reached a bit of a standstill. Reeves has not walked entirely away from the film, however, and it is still a possibility he may end up directing the movie anyway as Warner Bros. pushes forward with the project. (Time’s ticking too, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)
It may just be that Reeves is a little preoccupied on other work, as he is currently in post-production for his latest Planet of the Apes film, War of the Planet of the Apes. The hope is Reeves still wants to do The Batman, but wants to focus more of his energy on finishing up his current project instead of using time to work out the contract details for The Batman.
So here’s the issue: Batman is the most valuable franchise Warner Bros. has in this DC cinematic universe, and it may need The Batman to hit it out of the park amid growing concern over the state and interest in its attempt at a cinematic comic book universe after a critically sluggish start with Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad (although the box office numbers are just fine).
Warner Bros. has two films coming out this year with Wonder Woman and Justice League, and The Batman is supposedly on track for a 2018 release. While Warner Bros. may struggle with its DC properties, it can usually count on Batman to prevail.
That is the hope here, which is why the pre-production issues and press this film is already receiving now should be a growing concern for the studio. Ben Affleck showing a desire to step away from the role of Batman is one thing that can be overcome (we have had five Batmen to this point, not counting Adam West), but having him step down from the director’s chair and the supposed need for some rewrites on the script have put the studio in a bit of a scramble. It needs a director, and it needs one yesterday.
If this attempt at a Batman solo film continues to keep hitting road blocks, it may be just about time to get Christopher Nolan back in the saddle for another go at a Gotham City adventure. And that’s not going to happen.