Ben Affleck has had an abysmal 2023 box office record, but his next movie The Flash will fix it. Affleck directed and starred in Air, a sports drama about Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) and Nike co-founder Phil Knight (Affleck) pursuing basketball star Michael Jordan for a partnership that promised a shoe to revolutionize the world of sports and pop culture. Next up was Hypnotic, a sci-fi thriller written and directed by Robert Rodriguez in which Affleck plays a detective searching for his missing daughter, only to learn secrets about her disappearance that challenge his concept of reality.


For a star as big as Affleck, it’s surprising to see him have two box office bombs back to back, but 2023 isn’t over yet, and The Flash seems to offer just what he needs to get back in the winner’s circle. Affleck is an executive producer on several upcoming projects, including Kiss the Future about the Bosnian War, but he has one final performance in 2023 that should save a career-worst box office season. Fortunately, it’s in a superhero movie that while divisive, has several fail safes that make it too big to bomb, even if Affleck’s part isn’t huge.

The Flash Movie Will End Ben Affleck’s Run Of Box Office Bombs

Ben Affleck in The Flash movie pic

The Flash is expected to end Ben Affleck’s series of box office bombs. He’ll be returning as the DCEU’s Batman, and though his part isn’t large, it’s significant in shaping Barry Allen’s character, particularly dealing with the potential loss of his mother. When the Flash goes back in time to save her from being murdered, he inadvertently encounters General Zod (Man of Steel’s Michael Shannon) and has to appeal to the Batman of that timeline to stop the Kryptonian’s pursuit of world annihilation, which threatens everyone in the past, present, and future.

After the disappointment of Air, Affleck’s thriller was his second box office flop of 2023, but The Flash has a few irrefutable elements neither movie had that are sure to make it (and Affleck) successful. For one thing, superhero movies remain popular, and for another, Affleck’s Batman has been treated much kinder now than it was when he first donned the cape and cowl for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He’s also being supported by Michael Keaton’s Batman, whose version has been universally beloved since 1989 and is a highly-anticipated character in the movie.

Why Ben Affleck’s 2023 Movies Have Bombed At The Box Office

Ben Affleck as Phil Knight with his feet on his desk in Air

Despite having recognizable casts and intriguing premises, Affleck’s 2023 movies bombed at the box office for a few reasons. Air went up against The Super Mario Bros. Movie with a fact-based drama that, while achieving a period aesthetic and boasting some colorful performances by its main cast including Damon and Viola Davis, failed to really dig deep into any complexities and came across as one long Nike ad. It ultimately came across as hollow and lacking in character development instead of what should have been an embodiment of the American dream.

RELATED: It’s OK Ben Affleck’s Air Movie Bombed At The Box OfficeRodriguez had been developing Hypnotic for years, and while his story had all the mind-bending qualities of Inception or The Matrix, it was convoluted and messy. It required a great deal of exposition from characters for audiences to accept the complexities of the screenplay, and the payout from the end of Hypnotic wasn’t ultimately satisfying enough, even with a post-credits scene that promised a potential sequel. Affleck did the best he could with a stilted script that would have benefited from a few more edits and rewrites.

Ben Affleck’s Movie Choices Are Good, Even If They Bomb

Ben Affleck and Alice Braga talking to each other in Hypnotic.

Even if they bomb, Ben Affleck’s movie choices are not only good but important for his career. While Hypnotic isn’t a great movie, it’s a thought-provoking project for Affleck to take on that includes themes about memory, family, and free will as well as a major twist. Air continues Affleck’s trend of taking on supporting roles, which in turn allows him to play slightly more offbeat and quirky characters as he did in Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel. Both Hypnotic and Air showcase Affleck’s range and ability to appear in very contrasting parts while still maintaining believability and providing new challenges.

Both Air and Hypnotic were made for $65 – $80 million at a time when tentpole franchises continue to dominate the cinema landscape. There isn’t much room for mid-budget movies anymore because they can’t guarantee the same box office returns, but Affleck, who got his start writing them with Matt Damon in Goodwill Hunting, is still committed to making them as well as blockbusters. Though his next 2023 movie will be part of another big franchise, if The Flash is a commercial success, it will provide him the security to continue taking risks as a director and an actor.

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