Warner Bros. brings on Matt Reeves to direct 'The Batman'

Ending weeks of speculation and swirling rumors about the future of one of its most important comic book franchises, Warner Bros. announced that director Matt Reeves — whose films include “Cloverfield,” “Let Me In” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” — will take the reins of the next solo Batman movie.

“We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, the crown jewel of our DC slate,” Toby Emmerich, the president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement. “Matt’s deep roots in genre films and his evolution into an emotional world-building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through this next journey.”

Ben Affleck, who first took on the role of  Bruce Wayne in last year’s “Batman v Superman,” had initially been attached to direct the project, titled “The Batman.” But late last month he announced he was bowing out of the job in order to fully concentrate on playing the role of the Dark Knight.

In an interview with The Times in December, Affleck had expressed serious reservations about taking on such a closely scrutinized, high-stakes film as a director. “It’s not a movie to make just to make it,” he said. “Because you’ll just get destroyed if it’s not great. The bar is so high.”

Indeed, in the wake of Christopher Nolan’s widely acclaimed “Dark Knight” trilogy — and the widely panned “Batman v Superman” — fans will be watching with intense interest to see what Reeves does with one of the most legendary characters in the DC Comics canon.

In a statement, Reeves — whose next film, “War of the Planet of the Apes,” hits theaters in July — sought to provide assurance by offering his own personal Bat-bona fides.

“I have loved the Batman story since I was a child,” Reeves said. “He is such an iconic and compelling character, and one that resonates with me deeply. I am incredibly honored and excited to be working with Warner Bros. to bring an epic and emotional new take on the Caped Crusader to the big screen.”

Warner Bros. has not yet scheduled a release date for “The Batman.”

 

josh.rottenberg@latimes.com

Twitter: @joshrottenberg

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