Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to Start Independent Production Company, Artists’ Equity

Still, stars have a poor track record in running studios, much less trying to build them from scratch.

In 2006, Tom Cruise and his producing partner, Paula Wagner, were recruited to revive United Artists, then owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Mr. Cruise helped raise $500 million in financing, but their first movie, “Lions for Lambs,” bombed at the box office. A second film, “Valkyrie,” was a success, but its production and distribution were troubled. The management experiment was over by 2009.

In January 2016, Kevin Spacey was named chairman of Relativity Media, which was struggling with creditors. Two months later, he resigned, saying he just didn’t have the time.

Mr. Affleck and Mr. Damon founded a multimedia company, LivePlanet, with two partners in 2000. It employed more than 60 people at its height and made the HBO contest documentary series “Project Greenlight.” But their idea of integrating the internet into mainstream entertainment programming ran into real-world setbacks, including the 9/11 attacks. LivePlanet closed at the end of 2007.

While pointing to the LivePlanet experience as an indication of his long-held entrepreneurialism, Mr. Affleck said he knew he had taken on a difficult new role.

“I’ve had people sort of pull me aside and say, you know, that this is going to be a lot of pressure, a lot of work,” Mr. Affleck said. “And there was part of me, I have to admit, that was like — come on, these studio guys sit behind desks and make phone calls. The artists are the ones who have to go off and actually make the movie and do all the work.”

Mr. Affleck said he has been finding out how much work his new job will be. He cited dealings with hard-grinding agents.

“I have already been humbled,” he said, laughing. “But my only regret is that I didn’t have the sense of self to try this earlier. Now I feel very ready to do it. I’m right at that period of life where you have enough experience and confidence and self-assuredness.”


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