Ben Affleck To Play Batman In 'Man Of Steel' Sequel on August 23, 2013


Get ready to watch the Internet explode.

In a controversial move, Warner Bros. has set Ben Affleck to star as Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.

Affleck was long rumored as a contender to direct a Justice League movie, but the decision to put him in the Caped Crusader role comes as a shock. Many fans hoped that WB would find a way to bring back Christian Bale. That hope is now gone.

The official release from WB:

BURBANK, CA, August 22, 2013 - Ending weeks of speculation, Ben Affleck has been set to star as Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne. Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character in Snyder's as-yet-untitled project-bringing Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen and continuing the director's vision of their universe, which he established in "Man of Steel." The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.

Last month's surprise announcement of the new movie featuring both Superman and Batman created a wave of excitement and immediately fueled discussion and debate-among fans as well as in the media-about who would put on the cape and cowl of Bruce Wayne's alter ego.

Snyder successfully re-imagined the origin of Clark Kent/Superman in the worldwide blockbuster "Man of Steel," which has earned more than $650 million worldwide to date, and climbing. The director will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons together.

Affleck will star opposite Henry Cavill, who will reprise the role of Superman/Clark Kent. The film will also reunite "Man of Steel" stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

In the announcement, Silverman stated, "We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics' most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character."

Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, "Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry's Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can't wait to work with him."

Kroll added, "We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.' remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes."

Affleck recently starred in the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture "Argo," which he also directed and produced, earning acclaim and a BAFTA Award nomination for his performance in the film, as well as a number of directing honors. In 2010, he starred in and directed the hit crime thriller "The Town." His recent acting work also includes "The Company Men," "State of Play," and "Hollywoodland," for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Earlier in his career, Affleck starred in and co-wrote (with Matt Damon) "Good Will Hunting," for which he won an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.

The new Super Hero film is being scripted by David S. Goyer from a story he co-created with Zack Snyder. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan and Wesley Coller serving as executive producers.

Production is expected to begin in 2014.

The film is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman characters created by Bob Kane, published by DC Entertainment.


GERMANY: 'Elysium' Leads in Debut on August 21, 2013

Elysium-still.jpgElysium finished its German premiere at the top of the box office with a $3.1 million total. The sci-fi film starring Matt Damon played in nearly half as many screens as The Smurfs 2, the weekend's #2 film, and led the per-screen average in the territory with a $4,977 tally.

The Smurfs 2 is vying to overtake the $29.3 million gross of the original. The animated sequel has grossed $12.6 million after three weeks in release. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters fell shy of reaching the opening weekend of the franchise's previous installment with a $2.1 million bow. The original Percy Jackson film opened to $2.3 million in Germany in 2010.

The Lone Ranger fell 49% in its second frame for a $1.8 million tally. The troubled Disney release has grossed a total of $6.9 million in Germany. Despicable Me 2 is still putting up million dollar numbers after seven weeks in release. The Minions claimed a $1.1 million take to raise its German cume to $32.4 million.

Top 10 Films in Germany. August 16-18, 2013


FRANCE: 'Elysium' Dethrones 'Now You See Me' on August 21, 2013

Elysium-still.jpgElysium triumphed over the Percy Jackson sequel to lead the French box office over the weekend. A $4.1 million bow from the Matt Damon sci-fi film was enough to overtake the $3.8 million opening of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and dethrone Now You See Me from the #1 spot in its third week. Now You See Me finished its third frame with $2.6 million, reaching a $16.6 million cume in France.

The Smurfs 2 felll 50% from the previous weekend to post a $1.7 million result. The Smurfs 2 has grossed a total of $11.5 million over three weeks. The Lone Ranger was the only other release to gross over the $1 milllion mark last weekend, finishing its first hold with a $1.6 million take. The Lone Ranger is struggling in France with a $6.4 million total.

Top 10 Films in France. August 16-18, 2013


GLOBAL: 'Despicable Me 2' On Track to Become the Second Biggest Film of 2013; 'Pacific Rim' Posts Higher Numbers in China than in North America on August 18, 2013

DM2StillA.jpgDespicable Me 2 will overtake Fast & Furious 6 at the global box office, a feat that could come as early as next weekend. Fast 6 and Despicable Me 2 only trail Iron Man 3 as the year's most successful films at the global box office. The two films have been a major part in Universal's record-breaking year, helping the studio post the biggest overseas numbers in their history.

A strong $64.8 million run in China helped Fast 6 cross the $500 million overseas mark, a crucial component in its current $547 million overseas total. Fast 6 finished the weekend with a $785.4 million global total.

The Minions are not far behind. Universal's animated sequel reached a $435.2 million total over the weekend and is in striking distance of Fast 6's worldwide cume with a $781.2 million global total. Unlike Fast 6, Despicable Me 2 will have to finish its overseas run without a release in China.

Despicable Me 2 opened in Russia on Friday with $12.2 million, the second biggest opening for a Universal release in the market behind Fast 6. The strong Russian performance is four times higher than the original film's opening and is 2013's biggest animated debut in the market. Despicable Me 2 will open in 9 more territories over the next few months, including South Korea (September 12), Japan (September 21) and Italy (October 10). A worldwide cume above $800 million is only a matter of time for the Minions.

Monsters University is also part of the conversation among the year's top grossing global releases. The Pixar prequel has earned $397.5 million overseas and is currently reporting a $658.6 million worldwide total. The film is posting blockbuster numbers in Japan, where it has already grossed $78.6 million. The United Kingdom is the second biggest territory for the animated release with $40.2 million. Monsters University will open in Italy and China next weekend, and will have its last major market debut in South Korea on September 12.

Disney's Planes won't be able to replicate the same success as its latest Pixar venture. Planes posted a $2.9 million opening in the U.K. and a $2.4 million debut in Spain over the weekend. The DisneyToon production has earned a total of $7.3 million from 9 overseas territories. The film's global total is a modest $20.4 million. Planes opens in Greece, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Turkey, Philippines, Hong Kong and India next weekend. Planes will have to bring in a better performance across the board in order to make potential sequels more viable for the studio.

Any hopes from Disney for a new franchise in The Lone Ranger were extinguished with a lackluster response from critics and audiences alike. The Lone Ranger is one of the year's biggest disappointments after grossing $130.1 million overseas and reporting a $217.8 million global cume. The top markets for The Lone Ranger are Russia ($15.9M), Japan ($15.8M), Mexico ($10M), and Australia ($9.6M). The film has been a bigger flop in the U.K. than in North America; The Lone Ranger opened in fifth place in the United Kingdom last weekend and is reporting a $5.3 million total after two weeks in release.

Pacific Rim has now grossed more in China than in North America. Guillermo del Toro's high concept blockbuster didn't connect with audiences in the U.S. & Canada, where it has only grossed $98.4 million over six weeks. China has single-handedly lifted the global box office figures for the sci-fi film, contributing $100.1 million to its $286 million overseas cume. The global box office total for Pacific Rim is $384.4 million. The other top overseas markets aren't anywhere near the Chinese total; Pacific Rim has grossed $20.5 million in Russia, $18 million in South Korea, $15.8 million in Mexico, and $12.5 million in the U.K. 

World War Z is still raging around the globe. The zombie flick earned an additional $4.3 million from 2,306 screens in 43 markets over its 9th weekend, reaching a $319.3 million overseas cume. Japan is the weekend's top market with a $2.35 million hold from 342 locations, taking the Japanese total for World War Z to $12.4 million. World War Z has grossed over a half-billion dollars worldwide, currently posting a global cume of $517.6 million.

Paramount has to be happy about the film's overall performance at the box office, proving popular with audiences despite well publicized production problems that threatened to make the film one of 2013's most expensive flops. World War Z might not prove profitable for the studio, but it does come as a positive sign for potential sequels on a smaller budget. Low budget thrillers have impressed this summer season with films like The Purgeand The Conjuring get a high ROI for producers.

The Purge was reportedly made with a $3 million budget and has already grossed $83.6 million worldwide. The thriller starring Ethan Hawke has earned $19.2 million of that figure overseas, where it is currently in release in 14 territories with 15 more slated to open in the coming months. The Conjuring is an even bigger hit with a $193.1 million worldwide total after a reportedly being made with a $50 million budget. The top markets forThe Conjuring are the United Kingdom ($12.4M), Russia ($9.6M), Australia ($7.4M), and Spain ($6.9M). The Conjuring has grossed a total of $65.3 million from 20 overseas markets and has a number of more top markets on the horizon. If the studios are paying attention, smaller films like these could signal a new trend towards profitability rather than the current swing-to-the-fences high-risk/high-budget bets that have produced numerous flops this summer season. 

Kick-Ass 2 isn't expected to put up blockbuster numbers in the global box office but a limited overseas release is coming up with interesting results. The sequel opened in 110 screens in Mexico, a small screen count in the market, and outperformed the original by 50% with a $250k debut. The United Kingdom is the best performing market for the sequel, where the film opened in second place with $4 million in 482 locations. Kick-Ass 2 has a $6.3 million overseas total from 17 territories and a $21.6 million global cume from its day-and-date roll-out.

We're the Millers began its overseas run with $10.6 million from 13 markets. The ensemble comedy scored a $6.8 million opening in Russia after factoring in a week's worth of preview screenings. The film opens in the United Kingdom next weekend, followed by key premieres in Germany (August 29), Mexico (September 6), Italy (September 12), France (September 18), Brazil (September 27), and Spain (October 11). We're the Millers will hope to have similar success to the strong numbers emanating from The Heat. Paul Feig's comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy has grossed $50.2 million from 18 overseas markets and is currently reporting a $205.6 million global cume.

Elysium expanded to 20 new territories and finished the weekend with a $37.7 million overseas total and $93.6 million global cume. The film opened in first place across a number of major markets, including France ($4.1M), Spain ($3.3M), and Australia ($3.2M), and Germany ($3.2M). Elysium opens in the United Kingdom next weekend. 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters finished first in 10 of its 36 markets this weekend. The adventure flick has now grossed an overseas total of $46.5 million. Brazil led the new markets with a $3.9 million opening, followed by France with $3.6 million, and Germany with $2.1 million. The Percy Jackson sequel will expand to 11 additional markets next weekend, including a potentially big pay-day in Russia. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has grossed $75.4 million worldwide.

The Wolverine continues slashing its way through the overseas box office with a $216.4 million total. The superhero spin-off is only trailing the $225 million lifetime gross of X: Men The Last Stand to become the highest grossing entry in the X-Men franchise overseas. Top markets for the film include Russia ($21.7M), the U.K ($20M), and Brazil ($19.5M).

A $20 million push from the overseas box office helped The Smurfs 2 cross the $200 million global mark. The animated sequel is finding a hard time replicating the success of the original but has already reached the $150 million overseas mark. Audiences in North America, however, aren't as excited to see the Smurfs' second big screen adventure after contributing a mere $56.9 million to the film's total gross.

Follow Daniel Loria and BoxOffice on Twitter for more news and analysis on the global box office. 

GLOBAL PREVIEW: 'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters' Looks to Outperform the Original on August 16, 2013

pjseaofmonstesr.jpgBy Daniel Loria


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters expands to over thirty overseas territories after last weekend's soft day-and-date opening. 


The first Percy Jackson film was released in 2010 and went on to gross $227.2 million worldwide. The lion's share of that figure, $138.5 million, came from the overseas box office after a middling $88.7 million performance in North America. The sequel therefore has its sights set on replicating the original's success in the global markets.


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters opened day-and-date last weekend in seven overseas territories for a $9.7 million cume. The following table compares the openings in four of those markets to the performance of the 2010 original:

  • United Kingdom

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Opening Weekend: $2.35M (Cume: $11.93M)


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters - Opening Weekend: $3.29M

  • Mexico

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Opening Weekend: $1.68M (Cume: $5.73M)


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters - Opening Weekend: $2.65M 

  • Philippines

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Opening Weekend: $703k (Cume: $2.04M)


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Opening Weekend: $1.8M

  • Chile

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefOpening Weekend: $157k (Cume: $786k)


Percy Jackson: Sea of MonstersOpening Weekend: $372k


As the figures indicate, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is posting stronger debut numbers across several overseas markets. This weekend's expansion should bring similar results in what would be an important boost in the global box office for the Fox franchise. 


Expect Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters to hold its own in several top global markets, where it is only rivaled by Neill Blomkamp's Elysium. Sony's latest sci-fi tentpole expands to 20 territories this weekend but should draw a different demographic to theaters. Percy Jackson and Elysium will have head-to-head openings in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, and Croatia. 


Improvement across the following major territories opening this weekend will be key for the Percy Jackson sequel to remain on track in its quest to outgross its predecessor:

  • Brazil

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Opening Weekend: $2.26M (Cume: $8.6M)

  • France

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefOpening Weekend: $3.2M (Cume: $10.4M)

  • Germany

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefOpening Weekend: $2.36M (Cume: $8.14M)



Follow Daniel Loria and BoxOffice on Twitter for more news and analysis on the global box office. 


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