Live By Night: Affleck’s Artistic and Commercial Flop

As directed by Ben Affleck, artistically speaking, Live By Night is his worst film.  But the film also was a huge commercial flop, though before being seen it had been touted as an Oscar hopeful.

The expensive gangster picture was a passion project for Ben Affleck, sort of a one-man show (which is the main problem).  Affleck directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the story of a Florida rum runner.

Most critics dismissed the picture, which is dull and dramatically inert.

Warner, the studio behind the film flop, will take a $75 million loss, according to experts.

Ben Affleck Batman

Live By Night has made $16.5 million globally, and is not expected to have international appeal despite Affleck’s star power.

The film cost $65 million to produce and many more millions to distribute and market. Warner only gets a percentage of ticket sales. It will try to cushion its losses with home entertainment sales and rentals, as well as TV licensing deals.

The studio had a financial partner in RatPac-Dune Entertainment.

Live By Night is adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel. It co-stars Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Cooper, and centers on a Prohibition-era criminal who battles with the Ku Klux Klan and rival gangs as he struggles to corner the market on hooch.

Warner has a long relationship with Affleck, having backed his previous directorial efforts such as Argo, which won the Best Picture Oscar, and The Town.

He also played the Dark Knight in the studio’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad,” and the upcoming “Justice League.”

Affleck plans to direct a standalone Batman film.