Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2012 by Angie Han
The timing of yesterday’s Justice League news initially made it seem as though Warner Bros. was finally getting the ball rolling in reaction to Marvel Studios’ super-sized success with The Avengers, but in fact the project’s been brewing for quite a while. Although we only heard about Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall‘s hiring last night, he actually signed on about a year ago and has been working on the picture ever since.
While the script hasn’t been finalized just yet, it’s apparently far enough along that word about it has reached Mark Millar‘s ears. According to the comic book writer, who knows a guy who knows Beall, Warner Bros.’ new take on the superhero team will be “dark and mature,” with a “very real-world” feel. Read his comments after the jump.
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Cracked have uncovered an unaired episode of Justice League of America’s Super Friends which involves President Barack Obama being kidnapped by Lex Luthor, and Superman‘s dark secret. Watch it now embedded after the jump.
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Geoff Johns, speaking at New York Comic-Con, confirmed that Warner Bros and DC are not currently planning for a superhero team-up Justice League of America movie. ComicBookMovie reports that when Johns was asked about the possibility of shared-universe films á la Marvel, Johns responded with the following:
“I’m going to speak frankly: I think our characters are bigger than Marvel’s.” He said that he’d rather spend time building each character on his or her own rather than “smashing them together.”
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Geoff Johns spoke at WonderCon today, and there were a few interesting bits said involving the future of DC’s superhero movie adaptations. First off, Johns explained his new role as the CCO of DC Comics, stating that he’s “in charge of the creative consistency of the DC Universe” and promised that we’re “going to see a lot more DC Movies.”
The most interesting bit came about when a fan asked if DC and Warner Bros were planning to do something like Marvel is doing with The Avengers, with the goal being a Justice League of America live-action feature film.
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Juno director Jason Reitman was also on the Howard Stern Show today and revealed that he turned down an offer to direct Justice League of America for Warner Bros. Howard’s first question was “How’s the script?”
“Good, FINE… You know, I mean. I had to sign something, they send me the script and it comes on this spy paper which cant be xeroxed,” revealed Jason Reitman. “They have a time when I have to have the script back to them and the script is fine and I could be spending…” Jason later continued: “What am I going to do with Justice League of America? So Basically I’ll make a movie that is not as good as X-Men, then I’ll be the guy who made a movie not as good as X-Men. Where just like you talking about, going to smaller stations, if I make another small movie, and it’s really good, it performs well…” “Right now I’m thought of as a particular type of director. I’ve got an oscar nomination. I’ve made two indie films that play film festivals that are considered thoughtful. I want to stay in that world, I like making those type of films.”
Reitman later let it slip that the budget for Justice League would have been $150 million.
Discuss: Would You have wanted to see a Jason Reitman directed Justice League movie? If not, who would be your dream director?
You’ve probably heard by now that a federal judge decided last week that Time Warner is no longer the sole proprietor of Superman. The court has ruled that the heirs of Jerome Siegel (of Siegel and Shuster) are entitled to a share of the US copyright to the character. The quick backstory goes like this: Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to Superman 70 years ago to Detective Comics for only $130. DC Comics has since given the creators each a $20,000-per-year annuity (later increased to $30,000). But then in 1997, Mrs. Siegel and her daughter served copyright termination notices which permits heirs to be able to recover rights to creations in certain situations (part of the 1976 Mickey Mouse copyright act). Compensation would be limited to any work created using the Superman character after their 1999 termination date.
And this gets a little more interesting because the Siegels don’t own copyright to the entire Superman universe, or to even the character of Superman, at least as you know him today. They only control the elements of the character/universe that were portrayed in Action Comics #1. Superman was really an early concept at that time and most of his powers, friends, enemies premiered in later editions. But Action Comics #1 contained mainly the following: the Superman name, the trademarked costume, Superman’s alter-ego Clark Kent and the character of Lois Lane are.
All is not over just yet. Warner Bros will appeal the court’s decision. But I honestly don’t see anyway the decision will be overturned.
So what does this mean for the movies? Well first off, Warner Bros probably owes the Siegel heirs a good chunk of change for Superman Returns. But the bigger news is that this might put both the Bryan Singer-helmed Superman sequel The Man of Steel and the already troubled Justice League of America in jeopardy. With the relatives of Siegel now officially part-owners of the character, who knows what the future may look like. It’s also possible that in 2013 the entire Superman copyright will be yanked out of Warner Bros’ hands completely, as Joe Shuster’s estate takes the other half.
If true, thank booze. Cinema Blend says they received an email from a reader who spotted future Flash Adam Brody at a bar in British Columbia. What a tip, eh? There’s more though. Brody, who was allegedly boozing it up with director George Miller, went on to rundown the cast for the newly/oddly titled Justice League Mortal. All of the names for the superhero team were the same names being reported in the press, with one exception: the reader says Brody told her that Jumper‘s Hayden Christensen is now Superman. And then Brody apparently signed her napkin.
Bogus? Perhaps. Now, the role is rumored to be filled by relative unknown D.J. Corona, and prior to that, Scott Porter (Music and Lyrics) was also tipped. Maybe the Blend should request a photo of the napkin (“Dude, that’s Brody’s lightning bolt!”). As the site points out, is the JLM cast currently bar hopping up there for the helluva it? But Christensen would also make sense for the troubled Warner Bros. production, which is apparently scouting locations in Canada after being leaving Australia over a tax rebate disagreement. A more recognizable name would draw attention away from the damp buzz. More on this as it develops. And yeah, I agree, Christensen is not an ideal Supes.
Discuss: Have you ever run into Adam Brody at a bar? Hayden Christensen did a good nerd journo in Shattered Glass, but he also put many to sleep (permanently?) in those prequels. Thoughts? Is Justice League Mortal a silly title? Should they just go ahead and add Kombat? Have any of our Canadian readers seen Brody recently?
After countless delays (to some fanboys’ enjoyment), the Justice League of America 2009 tent pole from Australian director George Miller has hit another snag, a major one that has been months in the making. The production was just refused a tax rebate vital to filming down under by the Australian government. Miller is right angry…
“A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Australian film industry is being frittered away because of very lazy thinking,” Miller told The Sydney Morning Herald. “If that’s going to be the final decision, they’re throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that the rest of the world is competing for and, much more significantly, highly skilled creative jobs. …It feels to me like I’m not fighting for this film. I’m fighting for the Australian film industry.”
The tax rebate was turned down because the powers that be think the film will be seen as All-American and not Australian upon release. What does this mean for the D.C. Comics dream team currently starring Megan Gale, Adam Brody and other unproven, fresh faces? Over at Action-Figure.com, a writer speculates that the suits want to move the film to Canada now, and goes so far to say that sources have told him Miller, who was key to getting the rebate, may be replaced along with the entire generally C-list cast. Wishful thinking or is Warner Bros. simply over it?
Casting announcements were supposed to be made more than a month ago, is Justice League delayed? Rumor has it that the start date has been pushed back from March to April/May or even possibly as late as July, this according to IESB. The site the studio’s concerns with the cast of unknowns as the main reason for the delay. But this sounds awfully strange to me.
I’ve also heard rumblings about production delays, but I’ve always gotten the impression it had more to do with the script (with the writers strike in full effect, rewrites are an impossibility). Who knows. One thing is for sure, a Justice League of America movie could be huge if done right. And by done right, bigger names need to be hired for these roles. I’m also not the only one hesitant with the age-range of the Teen Titan cast. Has Warner Bros not learned anything from Batman Begins?
Let’s forget everything we think we know about the Justice League film for a second and look at the facts: George Miller, the guy behind Mad Max and Babe, is attached to direct; the screenplay is from two unproven writers; Christian Bale and Brandon Routh are not in it; and as of today Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop is a lock to create the slew of iconic costumes for the 2010 tentpole. Knock, knock, it’s Adam Brody from The O.C. as the Flash. Get out Brody! You’re not a fact. You’re just “probably true”! Call me bonkers, but I’m not ready to trash this project yet, pretty no-name faces attached. Even with moderate expectations, I say some spectacular visuals from Miller’s vision the likes we haven’t seen before are guaranteed; and if they’re PG visuals, so be it.
Producer Barrie Osbourne (LOTR, Face/Off, The Water Horse) confirmed the involvement of the physical-effects arm of Weta to The Dominion Post and stated that Weta Digital might join the project at a later date.
“They are doing all the costumes and they’re doing a brilliant job. A lot of people thought it would be too hard, that you can only make those things in Hollywood.”
Osbourne also lent his full support to the project, sayingâ€¦
“George Miller has a great take on the material, so it elevates it to something that’s not a comic-book movie,” he said.
Does Weta’s involvement in any way change your hopes for the first movie that will see Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash and Aquaman together on screen?