Ben Affleck Hints He's Done With IP Movies
Actor Ben Affleck states he may be done making IP movie franchises following the subpar theatrical release of Ridley Scott's The Last Duel. Affleck and his longtime friend Matt Damon were co-writers on The Last Duel and also had parts in it, playing Count Pierre d'Alencon and Sir Jean de Carrouges, respectively. The box office performance of The Last Duel was underwhelming, in large part to audiences not fully returning to the theaters due to the pandemic. However, another of Affleck's films, The Tender Bar directed by George Clooney, has found an audience on Prime Video, a subscription streaming service available from the comforts of home. This is one reason why Affleck is trending towards non-IP features.
Affleck spoke to The Playlist about The Last Duel and The Tender Bar. When the topic of conversation turned to directors praising The Last Duel on social media, Affleck explained how entertainment is changing with the times, and how a lot of the movement is towards streaming services.
"It's funny because I was just talking to Paul the other day, Paul Thomas Anderson — I saw Licorice Pizza and it's amazing — And we were watching a movie, and he was kind like, 'Yeah. At first, I heard about the movie. And then it was like I heard this whole other wave.' So, I feel like there is a rebirth to it, and I think that's due to the streaming thing. You may have to adapt to the changing times. I mean, this business has changed, right? You had vaudeville, silent movies, talkies, color. Then there was television. It's continued to evolve and change," Affleck said.
The actor continued: "I had this with The Way Back. No one was going to go see that movie in the theater. I could just feel it. I love the movie. It's a good drama. That audience was like, 'We want to stream it. We're not going to rush out and see it.' People were rushing out to see movies that first weekend? The currency is mostly like young people who just want to get out of the house. And there is a big and growing audience for these interesting adult dramas. But that audience now has been acculturated, especially with COVID and with the streamers and the quality and they want to watch it home. They don't care. They want to be able to pause it, take a leak, watch the rest tomorrow. And you can get a good 65-inch flat screen for $180 at Walmart. It's kind of democratized that access because it's not the 11-inch black and white that I had when I was a kid."
He then explained how he was once into IP movies, but now he only wants to do movies he's totally in love with. "Television means something different. And once that happened with The Last Duel, I thought, 'Well, that's probably the last theatrical release I'll have.' Because I don't want to do IP movies, where you have this sort of built-in audience. That's something I was interested in and liked, and I just don't like anymore. I like other people who do it. And if you are going to do it, you should love it. And I love something different. So, I want to do that. Really, what's important to me is that people see it. I mean, this is in a limited theatrical release, and that's great. I know that 90% of people are going to see it on Amazon, and I want them to see it. I want them to see the movie. That's more important to me."
One of the bigger IP films Ben Affleck has starred in over the last several years was Zack Snyder's Justice League, which was the most discussed film on Twitter for 2021. The movie finally saw its official release on HBO Max, and allowed director Zack Snyder to show the world his true vision for Justice League that he originally set out to create.
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