I think Bryan Singer was very brave to come to Comic Con this year. Superman Returns is probably not going to get to 200 million dollars at the box office, let alone make back its production budget, and the fan response to the film has been mixed. Add to that the fact that the Comic Con crowd can be less than kind sometimes (although they seemed to be screening questions at Singer’s panel), I figured the guy might stay away. He did cut back his promised one on ones, however, and by the time I got to him I was given a whopping two and a half minutes. As a result I had to cut right to the chase…
Q: We’re living in a world today where Superman Returns can make 170+ million and still be underperforming because of the budget. Is the film’s box office a sign that we’re coming to a time when the budgets will have to be scaled back, when it’s becoming impossible for a movie to earn the kind of money needed to make it profitable?
Singer: The audience’s palate has increased so much that it costs more. When you talk about 170 million dollars, 200 million dollars, these amounts of money – you’d be surprised how down the road they tend to do OK. Studios don’t collapse. There are failures that are scary, where the studio spends 75 million dollars on a movie and 30 market and it’s almost straight to video. That can be dangerous.
The audience’s palate requires a certain amount of investment in digital effects, and digital effects are expensive because of the manpower and computers involved. So people are going to have to get more clever and creative in their storytelling. Stories have to hold up.
Q: You’ve made one of the most expensive movies of all time. I know you’ve said you’re looking at 2009 for a sequel, but in the meantime are you considering something small to recapture your roots?
Singer: Yeah. I did that a little with the show House, when I directed the pilot episode of the show House. Getting that show off the ground to me was very much a throwback to Usual Suspects days, but I would very much like to do a smaller film in between. Cathartically I need to do it. And I need to do one where I’m in more of a vacuum, where I can have more fun. With less pressure.
Q: And what about Logan’s Run?
Singer: We’re going to hold that one for a while.