It’s been rumored for longer than he’s been Batman on-screen, but now it’s confirmed: Ben Affleck will direct the upcoming solo Batman movie.
The long-rumored project was confirmed Tuesday at CinemaCon, a convention in Las Vegas for theater executives to get a sense of what’s coming up for each studio. According to Mashable’s Josh Dickey, “During his opening remarks at the Warners’ presentation at Cinemacon, [Warner Bros. studio head Kevin] Tsujihara said the studio was excited to be going ahead with the film, which has long been rumored but never confirmed — as well as an Aquaman movie by James Wan.”
At the end of March, it was reported by The Hollywood Reporter that Affleck had already been working on his own solo Batman movie. “He’s contracted to do at least Justice League One and Two, so at least three times wearing the cape,” said WME-IMG co-CEO Patrick Whitesell at the time. “There’s a script that he’s written that is a really cool [Batman] idea, so that’s out there as an option.”
Whether or not Warner Bros. will use the script Affleck has already written or ask him to work with another screenwriter is yet to be determined. At this point, all we know for sure is that Affleck’s solo movie was not put in jeopardy by the critical scorching that Batman v Superman received. Nor was it derailed by the good, but not great box office returns.
Having been one of the critics who did the scorching, it wouldn’t be surprising for me to have my doubts about anything WB does with their DC properties moving forward. To the contrary, I was a huge fan of Affleck’s take on Batman. He may well be the best on-screen Batman we’ve seen yet. So a solo movie is exactly the sort of thing I’d like to see. And we know that Affleck has the chops behind the camera. From Gone Baby Gone to The Town to Argo, his track record is proven. With his next film Live by Night already in post-production and Justice League ready to start shooting, it probably won’t be long before we start hearing more about this Batman movie. My guess is that things will begin heating up toward the middle of 2017 as Affleck’s schedule becomes slightly more open.