Regardless of Ben Affleck’s reluctance to be too specific regarding when his standalone Batman movie might happen, it sounds like Warner Bros. is moving full-speed ahead. Just last week word surfaced that filming on the Justice League sequel was being pushed back to make room for The Batman. When production on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was ongoing, Warner Bros. ambitiously slated Justice League 2 for release in 2019 with the assumption that Zack Snyder would shoot three DC movies back-to-back-to-back. But tepid reception to Batman v Superman shook up WB’s plans, and now it appears that The Batman is the studio’s next priority while Justice League 2 is, for the time-being, delayed a tad.
So when is The Batman filming and when will it hit theaters? Speaking at a recent Variety screening of his latest directorial effort Live by Night, Affleck offered a positive but muted update on the status of the standalone Batman movie:
“We’re on the right track with that and everything is coming together. We’re still finishing up a script. I’m very excited… I respect all of those [Batman] movies. Christopher Nolan did an incredible job, Christian Bale did an incredible job, Tim Burton did an incredible job. At a certain point you have to look forward and try to believe in your own vision for it and not be looking over your shoulder the whole time. I go into that movie with a tremendous amount of respect for the people who came before me.”
Affleck has been working on the script with Geoff Johns for some time now, and during filming of Justice League this summer we learned that he had cast Joe Manganiello as The Batman’s villain Deathstroke. But just a few days ago, Affleck was more wishy-washy about when the movie might happen, stressing to the New York Times that he’s no fan of chasing a release date:
“We still have to get a screenplay and get it together.… I’m a real believer in not reverse-engineering projects to meet a window or a date, but rather when you get the right story, when the right idea, when the right thing, then you make the movie. That’s what we’re doing, and I’m hoping to get that done. I’m spending a lot of time working on that, but also working on other stuff.”
And then yesterday, we got even more conflicting news straight from Warner Bros. itself. In something of an exit interview with Deadline, Greg Silverman—the outgoing President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production—seemed to list The Batman as one of the many films Warner Bros. has slated for release in 2018:
“Then in 2018, there is a second Fantastic Beasts film, and Ready Player One feels like an ambitious movie by the world’s best filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, that will set the world on fire. There is Aquaman with James Wan, and Scooby Doo will be a huge launch and then there is Lego Ninjago. And then there is Ben Affleck’s Batman.”
Silverman added that production on The Batman begins next spring, and while it’s tough to tell if he’s including The Batman among the 2018 releases in that statement or just adding it as an addendum (i.e. “And we also have Ben Affleck’s Batman [coming soon]”), that date would certainly make sense. Warner Bros. recently dated James Wan’s Aquaman for October 5, 2018, but the studio also still has an untitled DC film slated for release on July 27, 2018. That seems like it could be a prime date to open Affleck’s new Batman movie, and if production indeed begins next spring, that would seemingly give Affleck just enough post-production time to finish the movie.
So while Affleck seems reluctant to pinpoint any sort of specific dates, it certainly sounds like The Batman could be in front of cameras before next summer. With Wonder Woman arriving next June and Justice League hitting theaters next November, it’s entirely possible that The Batman could be that next movie out of the gate.