DC Films and Warner Bros have another headache to work through: Ben Affleck has opted out of directing The Batman.
According to Variety, Affleck will remain a producer and continue to star as the titular superhero, but came to the decision with WB to relinquish the director’s chair. Read his official statement:
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”
It’s likely no coincidence that this news comes shortly after Affleck’s latest film, Live By Night, was drubbed by critics and virtually ignored by moviegoers. Box office analysts believe the period picture will cost Warner Bros. something in the ballpark of $75 million.
Still, the studio’s own statement jibed with the star’s, saying it was a mutual decision: “Warner Bros. fully supports Ben Affleck’s decision and remains committed to working with him to bring a standalone Batman picture to life.”
Affleck and co-writer Geoff Johns penned the screenplay for The Batman, which was set to go into production this summer. It remains to be seen whether production will shift to a later date, especially since Affleck and Warner Bros. are currently searching for a replacement.
Nevertheless, Affleck’s Batman will next appear on screen when Justice League bows on November 17th.