In a move that sent shock waves across the entertainment world, yesterday executives from Warner Bros announced that Oscar winning actor/director Ben Affleck will be taking over the role of Batman from Christian Bale. Affleck will appear as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel alongside Henry Cavill's Superman. Like Man of Steel 1, the film will be directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan. It's expected to be released sometime in July 2015 and will be the first time DC Comics superheroes Batman and Superman have ever appeared together in the same movie.
Immediately after the announcement was made, the internet exploded with a wide range of opinions and emotions. On the one hand, Ben Affleck has been on quite a hot streak over the last few years. He received critical praise for both starring in and directing 2010's "The Town" and 2012's "Argo". On the other hand, many moviegoers still have not gotten over some of Affleck's most embarrassing flops like "Daredevil", "Gigli", "Surviving Christmas and "Reindeer Games".
Regardless of what you think of Ben Affleck, you gotta admire his willingness to take on the massive challenge and sky high expectations that go hand in hand with playing Batman. He follows in the footsteps of five other actors who have portrayed the reclusive crime fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne to varying degrees of praise and derision. And if Ben can pull it off, his loudest critics might be silenced once and for all. So in terms of wealth, how will Ben Affleck stack up against his fellow Batmen? Here is a list of the richest Batman actors:
Adam West – $5 Million
Adam West appeared in 120 episodes of the Batman TV series between 1966 and 1968. He also appeared in the 1966 film Batman: The Movie. This version of Batman is often described as campy and much less dark than the later versions or even the original comic book. After the show ended, West went on to appear in dozens of other television shows and films. He eventually reprised his role on a number of occasions, especially in the form of a voice actor for several incarnations of the Batman series. More recently, he is probably best known for voicing the character "Mayor West" on Family Guy.
Michael Keaton – $15 Million
After working together on Beetlejuice, Tim Burton fought hard to cast Michael Keaton for the 1989 film Batman. Burton believed Keaton was the only actor alive who could accurately mix the equally dark and light emotions that his version of Batman would embrace. If it makes Ben Affleck feel any better, Warner Brothers received thousands of complaints after they announced Keaton would take over as Batman. Critics complained that Keaton was not tall, suave or handsome enough for the role and was more suited for the light comedic roles he was known for at the time. Burton and Keaton silenced critics when their version went on to become one of the most beloved of the Batman franchise, earning more than $400 million worldwide. Today Michael Keaton is considered by some to be the best Batman of all time. Their sequel "Batman Returns" was well received and earned $270 million worldwide. Keaton was set to return for a third Batman, but when Tim Burton dropped out as director, he declined as well. Despite the fact that Warner Brothers increased their offer to a then-record setting $15 million.
Val Kilmer – $25 Million
Unlike Michael Keaton, at least Val Kilmer naturally had the physique and brooding emotional personality that audiences typically expect for Batman. Kilmer was cast after the new director Joel Schumacher saw his performance as Doc Holliday in Tombstone. (I'm Your Huckleberry.) Val apparently accepted the role of Batman without reading a script or learning that there was a new director. "Batman Forever" was released in 1993 and was a commercial success, earning $336 million worldwide on a $100 million budget. On the other hand, the movie received very mixed reviews (especially when it came to the addition of nipples on the Batsuit). Kilmer, who reportedly did not enjoy working with director Joel Schumacher, did not return for a sequel.
Ben Affleck – $75 Million
To be determined.
Christian Bale – $80 Million
I can safely assume that most people reading this article consider Christian Bale to be the best Batman of all time. He gained 100 pounds of muscle from his previous role in The Machinist to appear in the Christopher Nolan directed smash hit Batman Begins. Nolan and Bale's three Batman films went on to earn billions of dollars around the world. Christian was reportedly offered $50 million to make an eight minute appearance in a Robin sequel, but turned the money down. That would have been the highest single paycheck per minute in the history of Hollywood.
George Clooney – $180 Million
George Clooney is the richest Batman actor of all time, so far. He strapped on a bulging codpieced version of the Batsuit for 1997's Batman & Robin. Despite having an all star cast and a $140 million production budget, Batman & Robin turned out to be laugh out loud bad. The movie was so bad that it essentially shutdown the Batman franchise for almost a decade. Clooney himself called his acting terrible and the film "shit" and "a huge waste of money". Fortunately for George, the criticism didn't stick to him and he has obviously gone on to become one of the most respected and highly praised actors of our time.
So, what do you think of Ben Affleck as Batman? Think he can pull it off?