Oscar-winner Ben Affleck is to direct and star in a standalone Batman movie, Warner Bros. told AFP on Wednesday, reprising his caped crusader role after critics savaged the character’s latest cinematic outing.
The film was among a raft of DC superhero features announced in a presentation by studio chief Kevin Tsujihara at the annual CinemaCon convention, and confirmed in an email to AFP. It marks the first official confirmation of the widely rumored project and comes after Affleck told a press event for the widely panned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that he was interested in directing a superhero blockbuster.
Dawn of Justice received almost universally poor reviews, although it enjoyed one of the biggest-ever domestic opening weekends and Affleck’s performance was widely acknowledged as one of the film’s few redeeming features.
The 43-year-old, who has already directed critical and commercial hits The Town and Argo, revealed ahead of the March release of Dawn of Justice that he had felt “emboldened” watching director Zack Snyder at work and would consider making his own superhero movie.
“I’ve wondered about directing movies like this before and it was a really valuable learning experience for me to watch Zack do it and see how he did it,” said Affleck, whose Argo won best picture at the Oscars in 2013. “For me as a director it’s about the material and the characters, so if I found the right material I would definitely throw my hat in the ring to direct something on that scale.”
Tsujihara announced from the CinemaCon stage in Las Vegas on Tuesday that the studio was “excited to know that we will be working with Ben Affleck on a standalone Batman movie” but gave no further details.
Affleck and Dawn of Justice co-star Amy Adams introduced several films from the DC universe in the pipeline over the next five years, including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg and a Justice League film also starring Affleck as Gotham’s Dark Knight.
The preview featured a glimpse of David Ayer’s DC anti-hero movie Suicide Squad, which stars Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie, and has generated significant buzz ahead of its summer release.
Meanwhile, Warner’s animation division is planning three new LEGO films—The LEGO Batman Movie, The LEGO Movie 2 and Ninjago. The studio is also behind one of the year’s most hotly anticipated movies, Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which comes out in November.
“CinemaCon is always one of the high points of our year, when we get to introduce our upcoming slate to our partners in the exhibition community who are responsible for bringing our films to audiences worldwide,” said Sue Kroll, the studio’s head of global marketing.