Warner Bros. is restructuring its DC Films division, and Matt Reeves is recasting Ben Affleck as the DC Extended Universe’s Batman.
Following both the critical and commercial disappointment of Justice League at the box office, Warner Bros. has opted to restructure its current DC films operation, Variety reports.
Jon Berg will be stepping down from his position running the comic book’s film production division and will instead become a production partner with The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee. The studio has already begun a search for Berg’s replacement according to insiders.
DC creative chief Geoff Johns who worked closely with Berg on the creative direction DC’s shared cinematic universe is expected to remain in his current position, however, Johns may serve in more of an advisory capacity moving forward. The overhaul is expected to begin this January.
Justice League debuted with a franchise-low opening of $93 million for the current cinematic universe and has gone on to make a total of $200 million domestically and $572 million worldwide. Compared to other films in the DC film universe, Justice League falls in last place both domestically and internationally, falling behind Wonder Woman at $412 million, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at $330.3 million, Suidice Squad at $325.1 million, and Man of Steel at $291 million. Overseas, Batman v Superman leads the pack with $873.3 million, followed by Wonder Woman with $821.8 million, Suicide Squad with $745.6 million, and Man of Steel with $668 million.
Previous reports have detailed how the studio’s goal was to pivot and lighten up the dark tone of the DC films universe established by Zack Snyder after Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck’s BvS, aiming for one similar to Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. This resulted in Snyder compromising with the studio as Whedon was brought on to lighten up the film’s script just as he and his family suffered an unimaginable tragedy when his daughter died by suicide. Snyder had hoped to remain on the project but this proved to be too challenging. Whedon was then tasked with lightening up the tone while he was said to be maintaining the integrity of Snyder’s vision as he saw the film through additional photography as well as the post-production process up until it’s release.
While the studio was said to be not happy with what some insiders referred to as a Frankenstein, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and President and Chief Content Officer Toby Emmerich reportedly opted not to delay the release of Justice Leauge in order to preserve bonuses they may not have gotten should they not have remained with the studio next year following the WB’s merger with AT&T. Currently, there are no plans for Snyder to return to direct any more DC films but he will remain attached to Wonder Woman 2 and Aquaman as a producer, per his production deal with the studio.
The trade also reports that Ben Affleck may not be appearing as the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves’ upcoming standalone film The Batman. According to sources close to the project, Reeves is planning to search for a new actor to fill the role. However, Ben Affleck is reportedly expected to appear in Flashpoint, the standalone Flash film that is still in development.