Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2012 by Angie Han
Back in 2010, around the time of the Inception DVD release, a rumor spread that legendary composer Hans Zimmer had signed on to score Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder-directed, Christopher Nolan-produced Superman reboot for Warner Bros. At the time, Zimmer denied the talk, unequivocally declaring that he was not involved with the project and had never even met Snyder.
Things have apparently changed in the past year and a half. Zimmer is now officially set for Man of Steel, giving us one more reason to look forward to the newest iteration of the classic superhero. More details after the jump.
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IESB is reporting a rumor that Christopher Nolan’s brother Jonah Nolan has been tapped to direct The Man of Steel. Would Warner Bros really give a first time-director the helm of a $150-$200 million movie? It sounds very unlikely to me. IESB claims that “the key reason behind Chris’ “Godfather” role is to help out li’l brother Jonah.” I’m not sure I buy this story as it sounds pretty improbable. But honestly, you never know. Christopher Nolan has directed one of the biggest films of all time, and he has the studio in his hands, so anything is theoretically possible.
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It’s a big day for movement on the comic book movie front. We just had word on Marvel’s casting approach to Captain America, and now there is some new detail about the next Superman movie from DC and Warner Bros. While recent reports that Christopher Nolan is mentoring the new Superman film were denied by DC and WB, we’re now told that David Goyer, who has worked with Nolan on his Batman films, has been hired to write the new Superman film, The Man of Steel. Read More »
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.
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Earlier this week when it was announced that Warner Bros would be taking pitches for the Superman Returns sequel, comic book writer Mark Millar self nominated himself to be considered for the job. Millar, who had always wanted to do a Superman comic book, had years of research, and was excited at the prospect of revamping Superman. One big problem: They won’t let him. Here is Mark to explain why:
“…for about fifteen minutes things were looking very sweet. I had a massive three-picture epic in mind, cribbed from notes I’ve been putting together for the last five years for a Superman comic-book revamp and the people I spoke to absolutely loved it. Everyone said this was very, very exciting, but…
Well, sadly, I’m a Marvel guy and we were surprised to find out that WB couldn’t hire me for a DC property. They were incredibly nice and superbly apologetic about it, but when they discussed the matter seriously DC explained just how associated I am with Marvel Comics at the moment and it’s against company policy to hire the competition. It’s absolutely nothing personal. I spoke to some friends at DC and they explained this has happened with a couple of big Marvel writers in the last couple of years and I absolutely respect that. It’s a business after all and to have a guy writing Fantastic Four, 1985, Kick-Ass and another super-big project for Steve McNiven this year which would be mentioned in every article about a Superman movie is not only an insult to their own writers, but makes bad business sense. I have nothing but respect for the DC high-ups and, though obviously disappointed, can absolutely appreciate their position. They’re the custodians of these properties and they obviously know what they’re doing.
So no Millar-penned Superman movie at this stage, I’m afraid. That situation may change, of course. As a Warner chum said to me last night, the last Superman movie had a number of starts and stops and who knows what will happen over the next couple of years, especially after my Marvel contract expires. In the meantime, I’m keeping my 200 pages of notes and sketches on a slow boil, just in case. As for the next movie, I wish whoever does land this gig nothing but the best of luck. I wanted to bring my vision to the screen out of nothing but pure love and hope to be as thrilled as everyone else. They’re talking to a couple of guys with a better screen-writing track record and, like the rest of you, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this sequel to Bryan’s first picture all works out great.”
I can imagine a few scenarios where Millar could be reconsidered for the job, but they are probably unlikely. What if Bryan Singer doesn’t walk from this project like most people expect him to? What if instead he says he wants to give Millar a try? It’s a big IF, especially considering the fact that Millar is excited to do a complete reboot of the franchise, and Singer is probably still attached to his first film.
Last night we reported that Superman Returns scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris are not coming back for the planned sequel, and that Warner Bros is now taking pitches for The Man of Steel. It will be interesting to see what writers come to Warner with story ideas. The first notable is Scottish-born comic book writer Mark Millar, who is best known for his work on Ultimate X-Men, Wanted, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, The Ultimates, and Civil War.
“My guys at CAA get into the office in about seven hours and my call will be waiting for them to talk about this. I want to revamp Superman like Hillary wants thin ankles. Revamping this franchise is what I as given fingers for and so, invited or not, I’m putting my plan together now. I’ve been asked to work on half a dozen screenplays lately, but this is the only one I have ever truly wanted. I have literally hundreds of pages of notes and sketches just waiting for this opportunity. This would be my dream gig and, as a fan, I know exactly what this project needs to work. This has to be Superman for the 21st Century, keeping everything we adore, but starting from scratch and making the kids love it as much as the 30-somethings. I would honestly write this thing for free. Anyway, my treatment is being polished as we type. Wish me luck. I want to do that Superman movie we all want to see.”
The revamp comment is reference to the Hollywood rumors that the studio wants to make a sequel which totally negates Superman Returns, much like Universal is doing with The Incredible Hulk. Warner Bros has denied this publicly, however, many believe that it is only a matter of time before director Bryan Singer leaves the project, which might allow the studio to begin from scratch.
Millar has been very public about wanting to write a Superman comic for DC for a long time now, however it is believed that his continued working relationship with Marvel and controversial comments about DC may have stalled this possibility from happening.
According to Wikipedia, Mark Millar is one of the most popular writers in modern comics, though he remains a controversial figure. His fans praise him for clever, provocative and edgy plots, which often have a social undercurrent, while his detractors point to an overuse of shock tactics and a tendency towards polemicism. He has been praised for his ability to inject new life into pre-existing characters, such as The Avengers, although he has also been criticized for his habit of always cherry-picking high-profile, big money projects.
I’m a casual comic book fan, and have not read much of Millar’s work. However, I found Civil War to be a huge disappointment, but that might be attributed to writing a comic by committee. His 2003-2004 comic book mini-series Wanted is being adapted to the big screen with James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie. The movie is set to hit theaters on March 28, 2008.
Hat Tip to Mel V