To the surprise of no one, Warner Bros. has officially confirmed that a standalone Batman movie is in development with Ben Affleck. The announcement came during the studio’s panel at CinemaCon in Las Vegas—a kind of Comic-Con for theater owners—and Collider’s own Steve Weintraub was in attendance when WB chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara touted that there are 10 DC movies planned over the next five years, adding “We’re excited to be working with Ben Affleck on a standalone Batman film.”
It’s unclear if Tsujihara meant to confirm that Affleck is indeed directing this Batman movie or if they’re simply “working with” Affleck on the film as its star, but word has been rumbling about Affleck’s involvement with the project as a filmmaker since last summer. He’s been developing a script with DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns, with word surfacing last month that a draft of the script has already been completed. Even Zack Snyder seemed to suggest that an Affleck-helmed Batman movie is very much a possibility, but the main question mark here appears to be Affleck.
Snyder mentioned that Affleck likes to focus on one film at a time, and it’s clear that Warner Bros. and Co. would love nothing more than for Affleck to direct a standalone Batman movie, so the ball’s been in Affleck’s court. He is just coming off of wrapping his first directorial project since the Best Picture-winning Argo, a Prohibition-era gangster story called Live by Night, and will be toiling away at post-production on that Warner Bros. flick during and after shooting Justice League, which just recently kicked off in London.
Live by Night is set for release in October 2017 so Affleck has some time to finish up that picture, but it’s possible that he could have his Batman movie ready to go before cameras by the first half of 2017. Warner Bros. has unspecific DC movies set for release on October 5, 2018 and November 1, 2019, so it’s likely this Batman movie would be slotted into one of those dates. Assuming Affleck’s officially signed on to direct, that is.
Update: Ben Affleck will indeed be directing the standalone Batman movie.