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film news

UPDATE: Ben Affleck approached to direct WB's Justice League movie

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Warner Bros. seems intent on making its live-action Justice League movie. When the studio jettisoned their first creative incarnationfor the pic three years ago, at the time it seemed that WB wanted to pursue developing stand-alone superhero tentpoles like Christopher Nolan's Batman films, the Green Lantern movie that starred Ryan Reynolds and possible Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash movies. They also took a stab at a western, Jonah Hex, which bombed hard in the summer of 2010.

Warner Bros. is still interested in making Justice League. They hired a new writer, Will Beall (who penned Gangster Squad for the studio), and now word from Variety is that they're talking with Ben Affleck about being the JL movie director.

Why Affleck? Because he's carved out a new career for himself as a damn good filmmaker. Gone Baby Gone and The Town have met critical and commercial success, and his third movie, Argo, is set to come out this fall. So the studio with all these heavyweight superheroes and no creative plan had to sit on the sidelines and watch as Marvel Studios made a billion-and-a-half dollars this summer with its Avengers movie. WB may be following the equivalent of a corporate involuntary reaction, but if they don't try and develop Justice League their stakeholders will be asking for answers.

And in my own personal opinion, that's the problem. Nobody at Warner Bros. seems to have a clue about how to build billion dollar franchises from the DC superheroes. No matter how big the success of The Dark Knight trilogy is, that's owed because of Christopher Nolan and his creative team and not because of the studio. Warner Bros. should be sitting in the same position as Marvel Studios and Disney right now, with several hugely successful superhero movie franchises. Instead, they don't have an idea where to go after The Dark Knight Rises and it's too soon to know whether the creative reboot of the Superman universe in Man of Steel will bear fruit.

Ben Affleck may be a great director but Warner Bros. needs its version of Marvel's Kevin Feige, someone that can point to a star and give the order to set sail.

UPDATE: Over at Deadline, Michael Fleming's story on the Affleck/Justice League movie reads a little bit like sour grapes, but the former Variety reporter adds that his sources tell him Affleck's people say he won't take the job.

-Variety.

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