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‘Batman v Superman’: Ben Affleck on ‘Ton of Pressure’ to Succeed, Exploiting DC Comics

In case it wasn’t clear that expectations for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” are running extremely high at Warner Bros., star Ben Affleck put it in plain language.

“I think there is a ton of pressure on it,” Affleck said of the film, in which he plays Batman. “I mean I would be bulls—ting you to say there isn’t.”

Affleck was speaking about the March 25 film in connection with this week’s Variety cover story on Warners CEO Kevin Tsujihara. The actor-director spoke about how much he has enjoyed working with Tsujihara and how deeply involved the studio boss has been in the making of the superhero franchise picture and how he believes pushing the film into 2016 will pay off, big time.

Affleck said the press has had a lot to say about the struggles of many Warners’ films in 2015, but predicted that “Batman v Superman” will help launch a turnaround at the studio.

“You’ll see next year they are going to have a great year,” Affleck said. “They are now developing … probably the single greatest under-exploited IP asset in the entertainment business, the DC comic world. And now they have started to exploit that and you are going to see that blossom. And, when it does, it’s going to be massive.”

The Batman star praised Tsujihara for his deep involvement in “Batman v Superman,” which started with script meetings for the film.

“I was really impressed by that and by the intelligence of his notes, and the fact that he cared,” said Affleck. “It was not like some guys, especially at that level, where it would be, ‘We need a franchise movie … we just need a movie with the names ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’ on it and it doesn’t matter what it is. For him, that wasn’t it. He was willing to take longer to make the movie to get it right to make it a movie of higher quality.”

Affleck’s commitment to the DC world is large. The star and WB rearranged the rest of his film schedule to make sure he had time for another DC spinoff, believed to be titled “The Batman,” and for his work on “Justice League,” which is expected to begin shooting next spring. Two other Affleck projects — the Gavin O’Connor-directed “The Accountant” and an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel “Live By Night” — moved to accommodate the DC-based projects.

The actor sounded both annoyed and accepting of the massive expectations that await the “Batman v Superman” debut.

“We are a very kind of instant gratification culture when it comes to analyzing the film business. And there is a lot of hyperbole involved,” Affleck said. “Nonetheless, there’s a lot of pressure on it. If it doesn’t do well, that will be extremely disappointing.”

But he said he isn’t sure what will be judged as success, concluding: “I leave that to the experts to decide.”

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