A Lawsuit Over THE BATMAN Reveals Why Matt Reeves Didn’t Direct Ben Affleck’s Version of the Movie — GeekTyrant

A lawsuit was filed against Matt ReevesThe Batman claiming that Warner Bros. and the director plagiarised the story. The lawsuit was filed by writer Christopher Wozniak, a for DC comic book writer and freelance artist in the 1990s.

U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer recently ruled that WB and Reeves did not copy Wozniak’s story, which was titled “The Ultimate Riddle” (now titled “The Blind Man’s Hat”), which he submitted to DC numerous times after writing in 1990. Wozniak also claimed he had sent the story to a film producer, Michael Uslan, in 2008 as the basis for The Batman‘s script. 

When the lawsuit was initially announced, Wozniak’s attorney, claimed: “There are so many original expressions from my client’s story found in the defendant’s movie that we believe this is a clear case of copyright infringement. The similarities are just too uncanny to be accidental.”

In his ruling, Judge Engelmayer not only ruled in favor of WB, but also pointed out that Wozniak’s story was a violation of DC’s copyright laws: “The story’s use of the Batman character and the surrounding protected elements is an act of clear and blatant copyright infringement.” 

It was also pointed out that the framework of the story for The Batman was too commonplace to be the source of a lawsuit. The judge just didn’t believe Wozniak had any substantive proof that Warner Bros. had come into contact with his story and then retooled it into The Batman.

The court documents have been made public and they include a declaration from Reeves, and it revealed that he was initially approached in January 2017 about directing Ben Affleck’s version of the movie and how he didn’t want to tell that story. He said: “Warner Bros. sent me a pre-existing screenplay written by a writer named Chris Terrio and the writer and director Ben Affleck. Upon reading it, I determined that the story and resulting film was not a project that I felt I wanted to do.”

He added: “[If Warner Bros.] wanted to use this pre-existing script, it should use another director. I also told them an idea I had for an original Batman story that I conceived: a Batman detective story where solving the case led to discovering something unexpectedly personal for Batman. Warner Bros. liked the idea and hired me to make The Batman.”

Reeves also shared: “I did not use any material from the previous script written by Chris Terrio or any other material provided by Warner Bros. other than the Batman characters and universe.”

He also addresses the notes he received from the studio and how that impacted which gadgets he did and didn’t use in the story. It’s kind of interesting to get this bit of insight into the project, and how Reeves had no interest in directing the film that Affleck and Terrio had been putting together. That film would’ve revolved around the Deathstroke dismantling Bruce Wayne’s life.

You can read Reeves’ declaration below.

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