×

Ben Affleck As Batman Gives Warner Bros. Upper Hand In 2015 Dating Game

Studio sets mega-franchise for July 17, 2015

Warner Bros.’ choice of Ben Affleck as Batman — and its dating of its mega-franchise film for July 17, 2015 — underlines the high stakes faced by Hollywood’s studios as they scramble to secure key opening slots two years in advance.

Setting the still-untitled Batman-Superman team-up with a prime release date gives Warner Bros. a chance to match or top Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” as the leading movie in the 2015 summer — and makes that summer one of the most competitive ever.

Fans Petition Warner Bros. to Remove Ben Affleck as Batman

The 2015 summer has already been heavily scheduled after May following Disney’s May 1 launch of the second “Avengers” and Paramount’s animated “Monster Trucks” project on May 29.

Pixar’s animated “Inside Out” and Fox-Ubisoft’s  videogame project “Assassin’s Creed” will open on June 19. Paramount will launch the fifth iteration of “The Terminator” a week later.

July has already seen two major titles set — Fox’s reboot of “Independence Day” opens on July 3 and Disney’s fifth “Pirates of the Carribean” on July 10 — along with another “Smurfs” film from Sony on July 24.

Popular on Variety

Batman Backlash: Ben Affleck Has Nothing on Michael Keaton

Warner Bros. has used the third weekend in July for its last two Batman movies, both which starred Christian Bale and topped $1 billion in worldwide grosses. “The Dark Knight” opened on July 18, 2008 and “The Dark Knight Rises” launched on July 20, 2012.

Man of Steel,” starring Henry Cavill, has grossed nearly $650 million worldwide since opening in mid-June. That was a solid performance but well below some expectations — which had been raised partly due to former studio chief Jeff Robinov’s prediction that it would be the top-grossing Warner movie of all time.

Before Ben Affleck: Critics’ Takes on Past Batmans

The second “Avengers” will be formidable in light of last year’s “Avengers” taking in $1.5 billion worldwide. That’s the third highest gross ever after “Avatar” and “Titanic.”

When Warner execs announced the Batman-Superman project as a follow to “Man of Steel” at last month’s Comic-Con, they did not disclose the date but the presumption was that the tentpole would be released in the summer of 2015.

SEE ALSO: Comic-Con: Superman and Batman to Team Up in Movie

Thursday’s announcement of Affleck’s casting included the July 17, 2015 launch date — which is likely to keep any other major titles out of that month.

More Film

  • The 40-Year-Old Version

    'The 40-Year-Old Version': Film Review

    In Radha Blank’s semi-autobiographical comedy “The 40-Year-Old Version,” it’s been more than a decade since the Harlem-based playwright who shares her name earned a promising “30 Under 30” award, and now, instead of getting her work produced, she’s teaching drama to half a dozen high school students. Tastemakers are constantly looking for the hot new [...]

  • Pamela Tola

    Göteborg: Pamela Tola Proves There is an Audience for Different Stories

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden —  Chosen to close the discussion dedicated to discrimination against elderly people at the Göteborg Film Festival, Pamela Tola’s “Ladies of Steel” fitted right into this year’s focus on feminism and gender at the Swedish event. Which managed to deliver on its 50/50 promise, with 54% of the presented films being directed by [...]

  • Shirley Chen and Jose Angeles appear

    'Beast Beast': Film Review

    Writer-director Danny Madden’s “Beast Beast” clatters to life with organic percussion: a stick rat-a-tatting against an iron fence, a skateboard scraping on concrete, a rifle pinging bullets against a defenseless tin plate. Together, these sounds combine into jazz, despite the discordance of the three teens making such a ruckus. Krista (Shirley Chen), the stick thwacker, [...]

  • Sundance: PBS POV Acquires Kenyan Doc

    Sundance: PBS POV Acquires Kenyan Doc ‘Softie’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    PBS’s documentary arm POV has snapped up U.S. broadcast rights for Kenyan director Sam Soko’s “Softie,” fresh off its world premiere in the World Documentary Cinema competition at Sundance, Variety has learned. The film, which is the first Kenyan-produced movie to premiere at the festival, will air as part of the series’ 33rd season, which kicks [...]

  • Will Smith as Mike Lowrey in

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Rules Over 'The Gentlemen'

    STX’s “The Gentlemen” proved no match for Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life,” which again left box office competitors in the dust after collecting $34 million in its sophomore outing. Those ticket sales, pushing the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence-led sequel past the $100 million mark, were easily enough to claim the No. 1 spot for [...]

  • Kajillionaire

    'Kajillionaire': Film Review

    The world is a weird place. Miranda July knows that, but the rest of us sometimes forget. Or maybe we just don’t want to admit how bizarre it is that society more or less agrees that back rubs and hot tubs and flavored chips and McRibs are an appropriate reward for a bazillion years of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content