Up until Live By Night, Ben Affleck had a pretty decent directing track record. Starting with his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, which was then followed up with The Town, the eldest of the Afflecks earned Academy Award’s recognition for Argo. So, you could say that Live By Night would have kept that streak going. However, the film was met with mixed reviews and underperformed at the box office. As a result, Warner Bros., the studio that distributed the film, is taking a $75 million loss. More on the story below.
The news comes to us from Variety, who says that the film cost up to $65 million to produce. This does not including the tens of millions that was put into the distribution and marketing. Since its Christmas release, the film has only earned up to $16.5 million.
Based on Dennis Lehane’s novel, Live By Night featured an all-star cast consisting of Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Cooper starring along with Affleck in a prohibition-era crime drama. While that may sound like something all of us would want to watch, critics panned the film for “revisiting familiar themes to diminishing effect.” Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 32% approval rating.
WB plans to cushion the blow through DVD and Blu-ray sales, plus rentals and TV licensing deals.
While this may look like something that would force WB to serve ties with Affleck, it is not going to happen anytime soon. The studio still has a very healthy relationship with Affleck, they released a joint statement yesterday revealing that Affleck would not be directing their standalone DCEU Batman film, though he will continue to co-write the script and reprise his Batman v Superman role as Batman. But, Affleck has helped give WB some major awards a few years back. Plus, Argo and The Town have all been financial successes for the studio. So, everybody is allowed one minor flop. Even if that flop costs upwards of $75 million.