×

Inside Move: New dynamic for WB duo

Are franchise heroes ready to fly again?

Pity Superman and Batman. Two of the mightiest figures in the history of comicbooks, they’ve remained locked in the Warner Bros. vaults as rival spandex-clad do-gooders Spider-Man and the X-Men reigned at the multiplex.

But Superman and Batman may at last have their day.

Warner execs and helmer Chris Nolan are readying “Batman” for a production start in early 2004. And the long-delayed “Superman” is showing new signs of life.

Warners has long sought to revive the franchises, but the studio has had several false starts, as helmers Wolfgang Petersen, Kevin Smith, Darren Aronofsky and Brett Ratner took turns flirting with the projects.

Last week, WB and Nolan tested several actors — among them Jake Gyllenhaal, Christian Bale, Joshua Jackson, Cillian Murphy and Eion Bailey — to determine who will next don the bat cape. A casting decision is expected as early as this week.

Film, developed from a script by David Goyer, should hit theaters in 2005.

Meanwhile, the studio has just received a new draft of the “Superman” script and is going through the budgeting process with helmer McG, following the departure of Ratner, who fell out over casting and other issues.

Though no deals are in place with McG and the pic does not have a greenlight, if Warners can get to a budget that works, the next step could be casting. If all goes well, “Superman” could see a 2005 or spring 2006 release.

Ratner wasn’t the only “Superman” casualty. Longtime production chief Lorenzo di Bonaventura parted ways with the studio in part over a creative battle with WB prexy Alan Horn to push the edgier “Batman vs. Superman” into production first.

Insiders say a final clash of the superheroes is still possible, but the studio is determined first to breath life into “Batman” and “Superman” as separate entities — a function of Horn and WB chairman-CEO Barry Meyer‘s mandate to build AOL TW’s lucrative library gradually.

To that end, the next superhero out of the bag will be Halle Berry as “Catwoman,” clawing her way into theaters next summer.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • San-Sebastian

    San Sebastian, Zurich to Take Up SXSW, Tribeca Titles at Newly Created Film Markets

    The San Sebastian and Zurich film festivals have teamed to launch new film markets that will cater to the gaps created by the cancellation of SXSW and the postponement of Tribeca due to the coronavirus pandemic. The programming of both fall festivals will feature titles originally scheduled for spring fests SXSW and Tribeca. The markets [...]

  • Coronavirus Placeholder COVID19 Variety

    Japan's Toei Closes Tokyo Studio After Coronavirus Infection

    Toei closed its Tokyo studio Tuesday after actor Reo Komiya was diagnosed with the coronavirus. The star of the “Mashin Sentai Kiramager,” a sci-fi/action show broadcast on the TV Asahi network, seventeen-year-old Komiya tested positive for the virus while shooting new episodes at the studio. His condition is not known at the present time. A [...]

  • Aqute Media Takes North America on

    Aqute Media Takes North America on Helen Reddy Biopic 'I Am Woman'

    London-based sales agent WestEnd Films has closed a North American deal with Jeff Sackman and Berry Meyerowitz’s company Aqute Media for “I Am Woman,” the biopic about Australian singer Helen Reddy. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival as the opening film of the Special Presentations section. The film also recently [...]

  • Sundance Film Festival Placeholder

    Sheffield Doc/Fest Rejigs With Fall Programming, Virtual Forums in Lieu of Festival

    The Sheffield Doc/Fest pitching forums, MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Talent Market are to take place virtually in June, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The rest of the June festival is being replaced by a series of programs that will take place on weekends through the fall. The planned programming will include film screenings, talks, panels, [...]

  • Southland Tales

    Streamer Mubi Partners With Prada Foundation on 'Perfect Failures' Film Series

    Specialist streaming service Mubi has teamed up with fashion label Prada’s Fondazione Prada foundation on “Perfect Failures,” a curated selection of movies deemed to have been “widely misunderstood” upon their release. The joint project will launch on both the Mubi platform and the Fondazione Prada’s website on April 5 with U.S. director Richard Kelly’s 2006 flop [...]

  • Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) in

    'Morbius,' 'Ghostbusters' Sequel and More Sony Movies Pushed Back to 2021

    Sony Pictures has pushed back many of its major tentpoles — including “Morbius,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Uncharted” and “Peter Rabbit 2” — to next year, the studio announced on Monday. Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” has moved from July 10, 2020, to March 5, 2021; Jared Leto’s “Morbius” has been pushed back from July 31, 2020, to [...]

  • Anne Hathaway to Star in 'French

    Film News Roundup: Anne Hathaway Stars in 'French Children Don't Throw Food'

    In today’s film news roundup, Anne Hathaway will portray an American journalist in Paris, blockbuster director Michael Bay signs with Sony Pictures, and “Extra Ordinary” and “The Etruscan Smile” are added to arthouse streaming services. CASTING Anne Hathaway is starring in the movie “French Children Don’t Throw Food,” based on Pamela Druckerman’s autobiographical book, “Bringing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content