Ben Affleck is everywhere lately. Not only in the tabloids, after his return with Jennifer Lopez, but because several of his latest films hit screens over the past year; all but one: Deep Water, the erotic thriller that he starred in with his already ex Ana de Armas and that Disney is burying.
With The Last Duel still fresh on people’s retinas, the George Clooney-directed drama The Tender Bar arrived on Prime Video last week, starring Tye Sheridan and with Affleck giving one of his most acclaimed performances to date as his character’s uncle.
Entertainment Weekly has taken this chance to publish an in-depth interview with Ben Affleck, conducted by none other than his inseparable friend and partner in crime Matt Damon. The most interesting thing about it is how the duo position themselves on the future of the Hollywood film industry and the fact that their latest joint screenplay, The Last Duel, has been a box office failure in theaters but is making very good numbers in Disney+ and VOD.
“So it means that there is an audience, just one that was unwilling to go in the middle of a pandemic to the theater,” Damon argues before asking Affleck what he thinks about it, since he just released another movie in the same adult drama category such as The Tender Bar.
“If I had to bet, a drama like Argo would not be made theatrically now. That wasn’t that long ago. It would be a limited series,” Affleck replies after pointing out how streaming platforms are hosting productions with complex, adult themes, citing as an example the series Narcos: Mexico, Succession and Mare of Easttown, but also films such as Roma by Alfonso Cuarón.
“I think movies in theaters are going to become more expensive, event-ized. They’re mostly going to be for younger people, and mostly about ‘Hey, I’m so into the Marvel Universe, I can’t wait to see what happens next,’” Affleck adds. “There’ll be 40 movies a year theatrically, probably, all IP, sequel, animated,” a prediction that isn’t far from what Steven Spielberg and George Lucas guessed in 2013.
Back to The Last Duel, Affleck admits he was affected by the poor reception of the Ridley Scott film at the box office. “I’ve had bad movies that didn’t work and I didn’t blink. I know why people didn’t go — because they weren’t good. But [with The Last Duel] I liked what we did. I like what we had to say. I’m really proud of it. So I was really confused,” he says. “And then to see that it did well on streaming, I thought, ‘Well, there you go. That’s where the audience is.’”