Skip to main content

Matt Reeves Talks How He Used Planet Of The Apes As An Excuse To Not Do A Batman Movie At First

Robert Pattinson suited up as Batman
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Let’s say you wanted to get out of trying to make a movie like The Batman... because that’s actually something people would try to do. If you’re writer/director Matt Reeves, you’d need a pretty good excuse to try and avoid your place in the history of Batman movies. Well, in the situation we’re about to lay down, he had a rather sterling alibi for not wanting to make his forthcoming directorial effort: he was too busy making the Planet of the Apes movies. 

To be fair, the initial ask was years ago, and for Matt Reeves to direct the script that was to be the basis of Ben Affleck’s aborted Batman solo project. In that context, any filmmaker might tell Warner Bros. that they wouldn’t want to mess with someone else’s vision of the Caped Crusader. Matt Reeves told The New York Times that he tried to find a way to circumvent the opportunity, saying, 

I just didn’t know how I would direct that. I don’t think you’re going to want me because I wouldn’t do this. And then they asked me what I would do. I said, 'I’m in the middle of making this Apes movie so I can’t really tell you.'

As he was in the middle of post-production work for War for the Planet of the Apes, the stakes of the Batman movie felt like ultimate disqualification to Matt Reeves. That could have continued to be the case had Warner Bros. executives not shown confidence and patience. Reeves’ response resulted in the studio essentially waiting for him to finish his Apes trilogy so they could hear his pitch out – with the rest being franchise history.

Further stories about the exacting measures Matt Reeves executed in The Batman’s script show just how serious the process is to the filmmaker. You could imagine how intense and well-planned that pitch meeting had to be in order for Matt Reeves to sell a vision of Robert Pattinson’s incarnation that’s both fresh and familiar. This was no mere play for a base hit, as it sounds like he wanted to swing for the fences. 

Matt Reeves faced similar franchise pressures with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and its sequel, and the results from that exercise probably spoke so loudly that the brass at Warner Bros. thought he would be worth the wait. As you can read in the first critical reactions, hiring Matt Reeves to make his vision of Batman sounds like it made absolute sense, with studio and creator meeting in the middle to blow the world’s minds. All that’s left at this point is for the audience at large to have their say, which isn’t all too far off.

The Batman delivers vengeance and justice in theaters this weekend, starting with early showings on Thursday night. If you’re interested in which format Matt Reeves is giving the most hype to, read why he’s most excited about the IMAX version of his film. Should you already have your tickets locked in, and want to see what else is heading to the movies in the months to come, the rundown of upcoming movies is available for just such investigations. 

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.