Ben Affleck hints he’s done with IP movies

Actor Ben Affleck Says He May Be Done Making IP Movie Franchises After Ridley Scott’s Theatrical Release The last duel. Affleck and his longtime friend Matt Damon were co-authors of The last duel and also had roles there, playing Count Pierre d’Alençon and Sir Jean de Carrouges respectively. The box office performance of The last duel was disappointing, largely for audiences not fully returning to theaters due to the pandemic. However, another of Affleck’s films, The Tender Bar directed by George Clooney, found an audience on Prime Video, a subscription streaming service available from the comforts of home. This is one of the reasons Affleck is moving towards non-IP features.

Affleck spoke to The reading list on 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 over time and how much of a movement is heading towards streaming services.

“It’s funny because I was 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 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’s a renaissance going on, and I think it’s due to streaming. You may need to adapt to weather changes. I mean, this business has changed, right? You had vaudeville, silent films, walkie-talkies, color. Then there was television. It kept evolving and changing,” Affleck said.

The actor continued, “I got this with The way back. No one would go see this movie in the cinema. I could just feel it. I love the movie. It’s a good drama. That audience was like, ‘We want to air it. We’re not going to rush to see it. People were rushing to see movies that first weekend? The currency mostly looks like young people who just want to get out of their homes. And there is a large and growing audience for these interesting adult dramas. But that audience has now been acculturated, especially with COVID and with streamers and quality and they want to watch it at home. They do not care. They want to be able to pause it, take a leak, watch the rest tomorrow. And you can get a good 65-inch flatscreen for $180 at Walmart. It’s kind of democratized that access because it’s not the 11-inch black and white I had as a kid.”

He then explained how he used to be into IP movies, but now he only wants to do movies he is totally in love with. “TV means something different. And once it happened with The last duel, I thought, ‘Well, that’s probably the last theatrical release I’ll have.’ Because I don’t want to make IP movies, where you have that kind of built-in audience. It’s something that interested me and that I liked, and that I no longer like. I love others who do. And if you’re going to do it, you should like it. And I like something different. So I want to do this. Really, what’s important to me is that people see it. I mean, it’s in a limited theatrical release, and it’s great. I know 90% of people are going to see it on Amazon, and I want them to see it. I want them to see the movie. It’s more important to me.”

One of the biggest IP movies that Ben Affleck starred in over the past few years was Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which was the most discussed movie 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 of Justice League that he originally planned to create.

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Cover photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Kimberly B. Nguyen