We've been anticipating a change for the production timeline on Ben Affleck's next directorial project, Live by Night, ever since Zack Snyder's Batman vs. Superman - starring Affleck as an older, battle-hardened version of the Caped Crusader - saw its release date pushed back by some 10 months. Prior to then, Affleck's followup as director to his Best Picture Oscar-winning historical drama/thriller Argo, was slated to arrive on Christmas Day 2015.
Live by Night, for those who're unfamiliar, is based on the novel written by Dennis Lehane, whose literature has been adapted to film before by such prestigious directors as Clint Eastwood (Mystic River), Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island), and even Affleck himself (Gone, Baby, Gone).
Affleck, in addition to directing and producing, also intends to headline Live by Night as Joe Coughlin: a Boston man who, despite a strict upbringing by his police captain father, chooses to make his living as a criminal in Prohibition-era America, on his way to serving the most powerful mobsters in his home city. But, of course, such a lifestyle is difficult to maintain, amidst the continuing power struggle between the most ruthless (and ferocious) lawbreakers of Boston...
Lehane's source novel sounds like rich dramatic material just waiting to be mined. Indeed, a Live by Night film adaptation could perhaps serve as a more intimate examination of subjects that have also been covered in HBO's Boardwalk Empire TV show, with its focus on the experiences of just one man in the 1920s (rather than an ensemble of powerful historical figures, a la Boardwalk).
That said, between the later-than-expected start date for the Man of Steel sequel and Affleck needing time later this year to promote David Fincher's Gone Girl (which he costars in), it comes as little surprise to learn - via The Wrap - that Warner Bros. has moved Live By Night's U.S. debut back more than nine months, from December 25th, 2015 to October 7th, 2016.
December 2015 is quite packed, with such box office heavyweight contenders as Star Wars: Episode VII, Kung Fu Panda 3, and Mission: Impossible 5 all slated to open in theaters. While that doesn't necessarily mean Live by Night would've gotten lost in the shuffle (had it stuck with its previous date), the new October launch pad should allow it more room to breathe. Plus, that September/October frame has served Affleck the director well in the past, as both The Town and Argo did solid box office business opening during those months.
As for Affleck's superhero duties: Warner Bros. has confirmed that Snyder will direct a Justice League movie after he finishes Batman vs. Superman, with Affleck reprising his Caped Crusader in that DC superhero team-up. Rumor has it that Snyder will shoot the Man of Steel sequel and Justice League back-to-back, but the new date for Live by Night suggests that might not be the case - and that, instead, Affleck could wind up getting a break to shoot his own movie, before putting his Batsuit on again. Best to wait and see on that one, though.
Live by Night opens in U.S. theaters on October 7th, 2016.
Source: The Wrap