Superman to return?

Variety recently speculated about the possibility of another Superman film after Superman Returns didn’t do the business Warner Bros was expecting this summer. Pamela McClintock writes:

Warner Bros. Pictures execs are mulling whether to go ahead with a planned sequel and ink another deal with director Bryan Singer. The film is not such a blockbuster that a follow-up is inevitable — but not such a disappointment that a sequel would be ludicrous. After all, the first “Austin Powers” pic was a modest hit that begat two huge grossers.

Word on the Warners lot is that the studio is trying to lock down a deal with Singer for a sequel. Many speculate that WB has invested too much time and money to walk away. What’s more, the film fuels a number of Time Warner outlets, including homevid, ancillaries and merchandising — even subsid DC Comics.

Warners and co-financing partner Legendary Pictures have a shot at breaking even on “Superman” once all the revenue streams are accounted for, but it’s going to be a long, tough haul.

Personally, I’d like to see another Superman film from Bryan Singer but I have a feeling that the final decision may well rest with the performance of the current film on DVD. Although there were certain problems with it (e.g. the casting of Kate Bosworth wasn’t quite right, Singer’s late arrival to the project) I was puzzled by some of the negative reactions. Brandon Routh was convincing as Clark Kent/Kal-El, the action setpieces were handled superbly and the reworked score from John Ottman was nicely judged. For most of its running time it was far more engaging than other summer blockbusters like The Da Vinci Code, Pirates 2 or Mission: Impossible 3.

It cost a huge amount because the various attempts to get it made stalled time and time again but Singer still demonstrated that he is very adept at handling action, character and special effects on a large scale. In hindsight it was a mistake to open so near to Pirates and – despite being a familiar excuse in Hollywood – the marketing was a mess. The posters and trailers just didn’t have the right impact and when a superhero film gets bogged down in bogus internet chatter about his sexuality, then someone somewhere has not been doing their job right.

But if there is going to be another Superman film then Singer should definitely be at the helm (X-Men 2 was a great example of a sequel expanding and improving on the original film) and perhaps he chould be bolder with the character and the universe surrounding the Man of Steel. Instead of the usual mad-plot-to-rule-the-world from Lex Luthor and the obligatory threat of Kryptonite, it would be interesting to see genuinely new threats and challenges for the Superman. They will have to weave in a key plot strand from the current film but that could work to the film’s advantage. If its bolder and a little more inventive then Warner Bros could well make up for its disappointing summer at the box office.

> CHUD with some thoughts on a Superman sequel
> Reviews at Metacritic for Superman Returns (it is hard to square these with the financial performance of the film)
> Box Office Mojo with all the numbers for Superman Returns
> Jeff Wells has some radical opinions for the sequel