Ben Affleck’s brief tenure as Batman could come to an end because of high post-rehab insurance costs, TheWrap reports, citing industry experts.
The Justice League star re-entered rehab earlier this week at the urging of ex-wife Jennifer Garner after Affleck was pictured receiving a box full of beer and liquor. According to TMZ, insiders say Affleck “fell off the wagon a while ago” and has gotten “progressively worse.”
A recovering alcoholic, Affleck’s rehab admittance marks his second in just over a year and his third in the past two decades — a status quo that could force studio Warner Bros. to drop Affleck from headlining the Matt Reeves-directed The Batman or future Justice League installments because of pricey insurance costs.
“More than likely the studio will replace him because the insurance costs are going to go through the roof,” a representative for an undisclosed completion bond company told TheWrap.
An attorney who specializes in insurance and bond products explained Affleck “would be bondable, but the deductible would be really high, probably the budget of the film.”
The bond company source told TheWrap insurers could demand half of the film’s budget to be set aside in escrow as a deductible, which could still prove costly for the studio. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, cost at least $250 million, and superhero team-up Justice League cost around $300 million.
A budget for the Batman solo has yet to be disclosed, but according to the insider, if a Justice League sequel moved forward with Affleck and such a hefty price tag, the deductible could drive the budget upwards of $450 million — even before taking typically costly marketing expenses into account.
Iron Man and Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. navigated similar waters before landing his cushy Marvel Studios gig. Insiders told TheWrap Affleck may have to explore a similar path and first prove his mettle in lower-budgeted indie films before insurers again feel comfortable backing him for bigger-budgeted films at a more reasonable rate.
“A track record of completing projects without incident, that would likely show the underwriter that the risk has gone down and would likely lead to them lowering premiums and the cost of the bond on future projects,” the attorney explained.
Though Affleck completed upcoming Netflix films Triple Frontier and The Last Thing He Wanted without issue, the troubled 46-year-old star’s most recent trip back to rehab coming off the heels of his last visit ups the risk.
“Anytime you have an event that is going to change the risk, you would expect to have an increase in the premium,” the attorney said. “The greater the risk the greater the premium.”
If Affleck returned, the bond company rep said he would be subject to a medical exam and daily on-set drug tests administered by medical professionals selected by the insurance company.
“Financiers and producers are going to want to see some evidence that his recent round of therapy was effective and that there are going to be some steps taken that he will be sober on his next project,” a content financier said, suggesting a “sober monitor” be hired.
“Affleck will have to be on his game on his next project,” the source said.
Plot details on the project remain under wraps. When most recently commenting on the direction of his DCEU entry, Reeves characterized his film as noir-driven detective story not based on Batman origin tale Year One or any particular comic book story.4comments
After a June report from The Hollywood Reporter claimed The Batman would be centered around a “young caped crusader” instead of Affleck’s middle-aged veteran crime fighter, one fan floated the idea of digitally de-aging Affleck, a move that would have allowed the star to headline the film.
Warner Bros. has yet to stake a release date for The Batman.