Ben Affleck could hang up his cape as Batman due to insurance cost issues post rehab
After Ben Affleck recently checked into rehab for the third time, insiders speculate that the increased cost of insuring him might lead Warner Bros to drop him from upcoming films.
Ben Affleck might have to hang up his cowl and cape for good, as his brief tenure as Batman could come to an end because of high post-rehab insurance costs, The Wrap reports, citing industry insiders. The Justice League star re-entered rehab earlier this week at the urging of ex-wife Jennifer Garner after Affleck was pictured receiving a box full of beer and liquor. According to TMZ, insiders say Affleck “fell off the wagon a while ago” and has gotten “progressively worse.”
A recovering alcoholic, Affleck’s rehab admittance marks his second in just over a year and his third in the past two decades — a status quo that could force studio Warner Bros. to drop Affleck from headlining the Matt Reeves-directed stand-alone film 'The Batman' because of pricey insurance costs. “More than likely the studio will replace him because the insurance costs are going to go through the roof,” a representative for a completion bond company told The Wrap.
An attorney who specializes in insurance and bond products explained Affleck “would be bondable, but the deductible would be really high, probably the budget of the film.”
The bond company source told The Wrap insurers could demand up to half of the film’s budget to be set aside in escrow as a deductible, which could still prove costly for a studio like Warner Bros. 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' cost at least $250 million, and 'Justice League' cost around $300 million.
A budget for the Batman stand-alone film has yet to be disclosed, but according to the insider, if a 'Justice League' sequel moved forward with Affleck and such a hefty price tag, the deductible could drive the budget upwards of $450 million.
Affleck would not be the first star to face issues getting bonded. It's a requirement of most studio films, in which insurers provide monetary payouts in the event of unforeseen problems involving the director or top stars that result in the suspension or cancellation of production.
Robert Downey Jr. faced similar issues in the late ’90s and early 2000s due to his past substance abuse and legal issues and had to wade through a host of lower budget indie flicks (remember 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'?) before establishing himself as the pioneer superhero of the MCU. Insiders told The Wrap that Affleck may have to explore a similar path before insurers again feel comfortable backing him for bigger-budgeted films at a more reasonable rate.
“A track record of completing projects without incident, that would likely show the underwriter that the risk has gone down and would likely lead to them lowering premiums and the cost of the bond on future projects,” the attorney explained.
Though Affleck completed upcoming Netflix films 'Triple Frontier' and 'The Last Thing He Wanted' without any issues, the troubled 46-year-old star’s most recent trip back to rehab coming off the heels of his last visit ups the risk.
“Anytime you have an event that is going to change the risk, you would expect to have an increase in the premium,” the attorney said. “The greater the risk the greater the premium.”
If Affleck returned, the bond company representative said he would be subject to a medical exam and daily on-set drug tests administered by medical professionals selected by the insurance company.
“Financiers and producers are going to want to see some evidence that his recent round of therapy was effective and that there are going to be some steps taken that he will be sober on his next project,” a content financier said, suggesting a “sober monitor” be hired. “Affleck will have to be on his game on his next project."
Plot details of Reeves' 'The Batman' still remain under wraps. When most recently commenting on the direction of his DCEU entry, Reeves characterized his film as "noir-driven detective story not based on Batman origin tale Year One or any particular comic book story." Meanwhile, The Wrap previously reported that Reeves is already exploring the idea of casting a younger actor as the Caped Crusader in the upcoming standalone film.
Of course, it still remains to be confirmed if Affleck would be returning to the screen as the caped crusader. One thing that he does have going for him is the fact that fans - and Hollywood - love a comeback story!