Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov has revealed to The Wall Street Journal that the studio has made up its mind about the future of not just the Superman franchise but much of the DC superhero line-up which it owns the rights to develop.
Rather than doing a sequel to 2006's disappointing "Superman Returns", the studio plans to reboot the feature much like Universal rebooted the "Hulk" franchise this year.
Robinov says "'Superman' didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to, it didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned. Had 'Superman' worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009. But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a [previous] Batman and Superman movie at all."
The studio has also nixed the "Batman vs. Superman" and "Justice League" projects for now as they plan to adopt the same model Marvel Studios is doing right now - releasing a single film for each character, and then using those movies and their sequels to build up to a multicharacter film a few years down the line.
Also like Marvel, the aim is for the DC Comics label to supply two of the 6-8 tentpoles per year that Warners releases by 2011. The studio is aiming to release four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. They presently have Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman projects in development.
Unlike Marvel though with its lighter and more fantasy based approaches (ala "Iron Man," "Spider-Man"), the aim here is the dark realistic tone of "The Dark Knight" for all their heroes - "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it" says Robinov.
Official plans and hopefully dates of these projects will be announced in the next month.