Clint at Moviehole seems to have some good contacts deep inside the Warner Bros facilities. I don’t know how some bloke in Australia managed to get those contacts, but bully for him, because sometimes they give him killer info. Info like this: Warner Bros is considering putting Superman: The Man of Steel into turnaround and just doing a Justice League movie with Brandon Routh.
Is this really happening? I have no doubt that, if Clint is hearing it, people at Warner Bros are discussing it. That doesn’t mean they’re discussing it seriously, or that it will come to pass, but I do believe that this is an option on the table for the folks at WB.
And it’s a good option. If I was them it’s the option I’d take. First of all, Bryan Singer’s running off to do another thriller for United Artists. Great move for him as an artist, but it could be delaying Superman: The Man of Steel (despite what the people at the Superman Home Page tell you, you never want your director going off to another project before he starts your project. It’s just too risky). With Superman Returns failing to use its heat vision to light the box office on fire, the studio is surely skittish about the expensive sequel, and without the ‘auteur’ of the last one things look a little more shaky. Meanwhile, the studio has begun developing a Justice League movie, but no one knew whether or not Superman would be involved. A JL movie is great for WB because they have all these lame, third tier superheroes from whom they would like to earn movie franchise money, but unlike Marvel, they don’t seem to understand how to launch these nobodies. Putting a bunch of them together in a big film creates perfect spin-off serendipity.
But of course there was the problem that with Superman and Batman in their own franchises, the Justice League was devoid of any name characters – so instead of a spin-off machine for third-tier characters, you have a movie stuffed to the gills with third-tier characters nobody cares about. Unless you can bring Brandon Routh as Superman in to anchor the whole thing.
Think about it – why did Superman Returns not do that well? Because there’s no action. It’s a superhero movie in the old vein, the Richard Donner vein, when they couldn’t afford to do anything but pick heavy objects up. And that doesn’t cut it in the 21st century. But that Superman character has name recognition, and if you put him in a movie with a bunch of other interesting looking characters and actually have them hit something/someone, you can get people into theaters.
Again, this could all just be borne from some guys shooting the shit at Warner Bros, but as far as I’m concerned, if there’s ever going to be a sequel to Superman Returns, it has to happen after the character is rehabilitated in an exciting, action-packed film hat doesn’t center on him being mopey. That film – that multiple franchise starter – would be a Justice League movie.