If you heard that collective groan roll through comic book and superhero movie fans last week, you can bet they were reacting to the news that the much- anticipated Superman-Batman movie was cast. At least the last piece fell into place. Hollywood A-lister Ben Affleck will be the next man to don the mask and cape now that Christian Bale hung up the cowl.
While Affleck was once a golden boy to comic fanboys everywhere – he starred in several Kevin Smith-directed films that landed HUGE with this demographic – Ben’s turn as blind Marvel hero Daredevil was critically panned. By important critics – comic book fans. Despite his opt-lampooned tone of voice, Bale was well accepted as both the Dark Knight and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne. Fans were hoping for a step up. Others were still pining for the days of Michael Keaton wearing the mask.
When Affleck was cast, fanboys (and a few girls) from coast to coast screamed in frustration. For most, Affleck was on the “Absolutely Not” list. They may have loved him in Chasing Amy, but they still haven’t forgiven him for his turn as the Guardian of Hell’s Kitchen.
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations, says, despite the fan’s reactions, he understands the move. “It’s easy to see things from the studio’s perspective. Affleck brings definite star power to a movie stocked with relative unknowns in the lead roles. His casting in the ultimate superhero role brings a level of Big Hollywood legitimacy that Henry Cavill – despite a well-received turn as Superman – can’t hope to match.
And for Affleck, who maintains a legitimate love for comic book culture, the chance to play Batman is a PR opportunity like no other. “Not only does he have a chance to play the ultimate ‘regular guy’ super hero, but if Affleck kills it as the caped crusader, he can redeem himself in the eyes of his first fans,” Torossian added.
There aren’t too many true second chances in Hollywood. And few that have this sort of “stood on its head” dynamic. A legitimate A-lister needs to kill in a movie any up-and-coming actor would kill for. If he does, the fanboys will flock to the other movies Affleck signed for with this deal. See, he’s not just committed to Batman now, he’s signed to play the role in the upcoming Justice League movie as well as a standalone Batman film.
If he tanks…this top tier actor and director, famed for films such as Phantoms and Argo, may be remembered for a role no one wanted him to take.
Ronn is the CEO of 5WPR and author of best selling PR book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, and a regular contributor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything-PR and more.