There isn’t a superhero property under more scrutiny or media focus in Hollywood right now than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The movie has the potential to finally launch the DC Cinematic Universe into direct competition with front-runner Marvel, but it also has the ability to send the hopes of dreams of the fans crashing to the rain-soaked concrete of Gotham City. With so much riding on the movie — the double entries in the Justice League, and all that follow it, are relying on a box-office blitz from the superhero smackdown — Ben Affleck has confessed to feeling the pressure that comes with featuring in such a huge franchise.
Speaking to Variety, Affleck participated in an honest interview to talk about the pressures of making such a huge blockbuster. When asked about the reputation and expectations of the DC franchise, one that has stumbled horribly before, he stated the following.
“I think there is a ton of pressure on it. I mean I would be bulls—ting you to say there isn’t. We are a very kind of instant gratification culture when it comes to analyzing the film business. And there is a lot of hyperbole involved. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of pressure on it. If it doesn’t do well, that will be extremely disappointing.”
To say Ben Affleck is feeling the pressure is an understatement; the actor has a lot riding on the future of Batman, an iconic comic book character he is expected to be connected to for the foreseeable future. Let’s also remember that Batman flunked once before when George Clooney and Joel Schumacher nearly destroyed the entire franchise — a feat that Clooney regularly apologises for, as reported by the Telegraph. With a patchy Batman legacy, and so much riding on this movie, it has to be weighing on Affleck’s mind.
Ben Affleck’s commitment to DC is a complex one. The actor met with Warner Bros. Pictures to rearrange his future film schedule, to ensure he had the time and care for another DC spinoff, The Batman. Two other Affleck films — The Accountant and Live By Night — were shifted to accommodate the incoming DC superhero projects. With the Dark Knight featuring prominently in Justice League and the sequels, as well as potential cameos in Wonder Woman and a yet untitled Aquaman movie, you can expect Affleck to be busy for some considerable time.
In the interview, Affleck commented on what 2016 holds for the DC Cinematic Universe, and reiterates just how important the year is for the studio.
“You’ll see next year they are going to have a great year. They are now developing … probably the single greatest under-exploited IP asset in the entertainment business, the DC comic world. And now they have started to exploit that and you are going to see that blossom. And, when it does, it’s going to be massive.”
The Oscar-winning director also praised Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara for his dedicated involvement in the project, which began way back in the script meetings for the movie.
“I was really impressed by that and by the intelligence of his notes, and the fact that he cared. It was not like some guys, especially at that level, where it would be, ‘We need a franchise movie … we just need a movie with the names ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’ on it and it doesn’t matter what it is. For him, that wasn’t it. He was willing to take longer to make the movie to get it right to make it a movie of higher quality.”
It seems the Warner Bros. higher-ups are taking Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice seriously. And they should; if the film is critically successful, there’s every chance the project can smash the $1 billion threshold at the box-office, much like the previous Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan. It’s also a chance for DC to take a slice of the cinematic superhero scene that is currently dominated by Marvel, and has been for the past decade.
Let’s not forget that Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy melted the box-office with a record-breaking take of $2.463 billion across the three movies. There is certainly a demand for more Batman. Yes, the films were slightly different in tone to Snyder’s take on the universe– which began with Man of Steel in 2013, a film that took a cool $668 million itself — but there’s no doubt that pitting two of the biggest superheroes in comic book history against one another is going to bring in the profits. It’s a sure-fire hit, isn’t it?
Well, we’ll find out come 2016. Directed by Zach Synder and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Gal Godot, and Jesse Eisenberg, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit U.K. and U.S. cinemas on March 25, 2016.
[Featured image via Warner Bros. Pictures]