Monday , December 18 2017

Affleck in older, more physical ‘Batman’ – ‘Dawn of Justice’ to soar to $300m-plus global debut

This image released by Warner Bros Pictures shows Ben Affleck (left), and Henry Cavill in a scene from ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’. (AP)
This image released by Warner Bros Pictures shows Ben Affleck (left), and Henry Cavill in a scene from ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’. (AP)

LOS ANGELES, March 22, (RTRS): Superheroes are not the only ones seeking redemption in the new “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” film. Actor Ben Affleck also wanted a do-over playing a superhero after being panned in Marvel’s 2003 film “Daredevil.”

“In the last superhero movie that I played, I was not happy with (it),” Affleck, 43, told Reuters. “I just thought it was not up to what it should have been.”

In “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which will be out in theaters on Friday, Affleck becomes the latest A-list star to don Batman’s black mask and cowl, this time to take on Superman in the sequel to 2013’s “Man of Steel.”

The two superheroes come to blows over responsibility for the controversial mass deaths of civilians in “Man of Steel” as the public wrestles with what kind of superheroes it really wants.

Affleck’s Batman and alter-ego, reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne, is older than the previous on-screen iterations and also wearier, still scarred by the death of his parents and from fighting thugs in Gotham.

Numerous actors have donned the iconic batsuit, including Michael Keaton, George Clooney and most recently, Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” franchise from 2005 to 2012, which grossed more than $2 billion worldwide.

Superhero

Affleck said he wanted to do a superhero movie “that really worked as a real, substantial, thoughtful movie,” and will continue the Batman role in three Warner Bros’ films — “Suicide Squad” later this year, superhero ensemble “The Justice League Part One” in 2017 and “The Justice League Part Two” in 2019.

The casting of Affleck was dubbed “Batffleck” and initially received mixed reactions as fans debated whether he would live up to Bale’s critically acclaimed portrayal.

Affleck acknowledged he was “following in very big footsteps” and said his Batman is “a little bit more of a brawler, he’s more physical.” He said Batman also would be “contemplative” going forward.

“He’s sort of looking for something,” he said.

Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, said Affleck’s Bruce Wayne harnessed “this jadedness, this world-weariness. It’s almost like there’s a core of justice there but surrounded by scar tissue.”

As Affleck is putting his own imprint on Batman, Cavill indicated he is not done putting his own twist on Superman.

“We’re seeing the guy making mistakes, we’re seeing the guy having emotional reactions to stuff,” Cavill said. “When we get into those final development stages of Superman, then you’ll start to see my stamp on the character.”

Meanwhile, it all comes down to this.

Warner Bros has been on the ropes for over a year, taking punches as flops like “Pan” and “Jupiter Ascending” piled up around the studio. Throughout the body blows, the company has held up DC Comics as its salvation. On Thursday, the studio unveils “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice,” a superhero matchup that is intended to kick off an ambitious series of interconnected comic book movies and serve as Warner Bros’ answer to Disney’s Marvel universe. If it works, the trips to Neverland and Wachowski world will be forgiven. If it doesn’t, Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara will be feeling the heat.

“They need this one to be good,” said Eric Handler, an analyst at MKM Partners. “This is the birthing of a new DC universe. It leads to Wonder Woman and Justice League movies. It’s a very important film.”

Directed by Zack Snyder, the slo-mo aficionado behind “Man of “Steel,” and starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman, the film carries a whopping $250 million price tag. The gamble appears to have paid off. “Batman v Superman” is expected to generate as much as $150 million when it hits 4,200 screens domestically, and more than $300 million globally when it rolls out across more than 60 major territories, including China, the world’s second biggest market for film.

“This is basically their ‘Avengers’” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “There’s a ton of buzz about it. They need to open bigger than any DC Comics film ever has.”

Chance

Warner Bros isn’t leaving much to chance. The studio is making the film available in all the myriad premium forms. The superhero rumble will unspool across 390 Imax screens, 3,600 3D venues, 470 premium large format locations and 150 motion seats. Pre-sales have been robust, with Fandango reporting that “Batman vs Superman” is the fastest-selling superhero film in the ticketer’s history, beating previous record-holders, “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” at the same point in its sales cycle.

In related news, Warner Bros has set an Oct 20, 2017, release date for Ben Affleck’s period crime drama “Live by Night” — a year after its original release date.

The studio had decided last August to move “Live by Night,” Affleck’s first directorial effort since “Argo,” out of its been Oct 7, 2016, release to an unknown date in 2017. It’s the first title to land on the 2017 date.

The film is based on Dennis Lehane’s Prohibition-era crime novel and stars Affleck, Sienna Miller, Chris Messina, Zoe Saldana and Elle Fanning. Shooting began in October in Georgia.

Warner Bros has also set a Feb 17, 2017, release date for “Fist Fight” through New Line. Village Roadshow is co-producing and co-financing the comedy, starring Cube, Charlie Day, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, and Tracy Morgan.

“Fist Fight” is the fourth title to land on Feb 17, 2017, after Sony’s “The Dark Tower,” Fox’s “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” and Universal’s “The Great Wall.”

Additionally, New Line will release “Annabelle 2” on May 19, 2017. Variety reported in October that Gary Dauberman was returning to write a script for a sequel to its 2014 horror hit.

“Annabelle,” directed by John R. Leonetti with Peter Safaran and James Wan producing, generated over $250 million in worldwide grosses on a $6.5 million budget as a spin-off from Wan’s 2013 hit “The Conjuring.” The film was based on a possessed doll named Annabelle, as described by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, and set in California in 1969.

“Annabelle” starred Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton and Alfre Woodard. “Annabelle 2” is the second title to land on the date after Paramount’s reboot of “Baywatch.”

Warner Bros will also release an untitled event film on Aug 11, 2017.

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