In the space of about an hour, the internet flared up when Variety reported that Ben Affleck won’t direct a Batman solo film as well as starring in it.
The question is whether this marks another extension of the seeming jinx surround the DC Comics movie universe.
Variety quoted from a statement from the actor and studio Warner Bros. that said it was a joint decision for Affleck to concentrate on acting in the movie.
“It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require,” Affleck said in the statement. “Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film.”
It didn’t take long for stories to emerge saying the situation was more complicated.
Affleck was star-writer-director of Live by Night, a period gangster drama that bombed. The Hollywood Reporter’s story on the subject had this passage.
One insider says that Live By Night’s poor performance caused Affleck to rethink his approach to his projects after the film bombed with just $18.9 million at the box office.
Two DC Comics-based movies (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) were Nos. 8 and 9 in the U.S. and Nos. 7 and 10 globally, according to Box Office Mojo. Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman was in both.
Yet, both movies got terrible reviews. And despite Batman v. Superman generating $873.3 million worldwide, it was considered a disappointment that it didn’t have $1 billion in box office. Meanwhile, rival Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War broke through the billion-dollar mark.
DC/Warners has been doing a mid-course correction, promoting Geoff Johns, a veteran comic book writer, into a key position for the films.
Johns has promised more optimism in the DC movies compared with Batman v. Superman, where Batman spent much of the film trying to kill Superman. Johns and Affleck co-wrote the script for the solo Batman effort, titled simply The Batman.
Warners is releasing two more DC-based movies this year with Wonder Woman and Justice League. There has been a lot of buzz about The Batman, including how it was being moved ahead of a planned Justice League sequel, according to Digital Spy and other outlets.
The studio has a lot riding on its DC Comics movies. As a result, the films are getting a lot of scrutiny. Other planned films have had delays, but Batman is the flagship.
Until The Batman signs a new director and begins filming, people are going to wonder if DC/Warners is ever going to match Marvel’s film success.