Even as Justice League barrels toward its November release, Warner Bros. is struggling to stabilize the next solo film for its most lucrative superhero.
Last month, Ben Affleck backed out of directing The Batman, his first solo outing as the character, but things took a positive turn when it was reported that War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves would (hopefully) take over directing duties. Now, amid rumors that Affleck himself just plain doesn't want to be Batman anymore, Reeves is apparently backing away from the film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, negotiations between Reeves and Warners "have broken down," and Reeves has walked away from the table. It's unclear at this point what caused the rift or whether Affleck's role (or lack thereof) had anything at all to do with it. THR report does note, though, that this doesn't mean Reeves is altogether out, and talks could resume when everyone calms down.
Reeves might be a bit distracted at the moment, as he's working to finalize the next Apes flick before its July release, but Warner Bros. might not make time for him. The studio is reportedly hell-bent on making The Batman "no matter what" to keep the character's box-office potential rolling. Remember, we thought we were just getting a Man of Steel sequel until Zack Snyder threw Batman into the mix, and then Superman died at the end of Dawn of Justice, while Batman stuck around to be the de facto star of Justice League. Warner Bros. still loves to bank on the Dark Knight.
Again, none of this means Reeves is out for good, but Warners was reportedly eyeing Ridley Scott and Fede Alvarez for the film as well. If Reeves delays too long another name will rise to the top of the list, which, given WB's history of director trouble with their DC Comics films, might ultimately work out in Reeves' favor anyway.
What do you think? Is Reeves wise to walk away? Can Warner Bros. make the behind-the-scenes mess of The Batman into a watchable film in the end?