After weeks of talks, Tim Burton is in final negotiations to direct “Superman” with Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel for Warner Bros. The project is targeting a mid-October start date for a summer 1998 bow.

With Burton aboard, the director can now go about getting the script in order and finding the villains. One of the main villains in the films in expected to be Lex Luther. Kevin Smith wrote the last draft, but Burton is hiring another screenwriter.

With the project officially moving forward, the studio can also continue its massive marketing efforts which began several months ago.

The project reunites producer Jon Peters with Burton. Together they collaborated on the first film in what has become Warner Bros.’ most successful franchise, “Batman.” The film grossed $251.2 million domestically and an estimated $411 million worldwide, launched three other sequels and catapulted the studio’s merchandising and licensing division into the record books.

Cage will first star in Brian DePalma and David Koepp’s thriller “Snake Eyes” for Paramount Pictures. The studio is still looking for a co-star opposite Cage. That project is still scheduled for an Aug. 4 start.

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