Warner Bros. Loses Superman’s Past

Published 6 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 1:38 pm,

superman origins Warner Bros. Loses Supermans Past

In case you haven’t noticed, a legal battle between DC/WB and the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel  and Joel Schuster over the copyright to Superman has been raging for going on a decade now.  In recent months, a judge ruled that in 2013, the Siegel/Schuster heirs will own the full copyright to Superman – however, many of auxillary elements of character developed by DC Comics after Siegel and Schuster’s initial introduction of the character have remained on the legal battlefield. Until now:

Warner Bros. no longer has access to Superman’s origins.

Variety reports that on Wednesday, Judge Stephen Larson ruled that the Siegels now control a lot of Superman’s early history, including his brief infancy on Krypton, his parents, baby Kal-El and the whole “sent to Earth from a dying planet” storyline. The Siegels also captured ownership of early Superman comic-strips and early Superman/Action Comics issues.

So what does this mean for film fans?

Well, we already reported that DC/WB is facing a ticking clock: Judge Larson has already ruled that unless the two companies get another Supes movie into production by 2011, they will forfeit the opportunity to do so entirely and the full rights to Superman (including any depictions of the character on TV/Film) will pass into the hands of the Siegel/Schuster heirs. With this latest ruling, I guess those of us worried that DC/WB would attempt to do a reboot of Superman for the next film can breathe a bit easier: looks like we won’t have to sit through yet another all-too-familiar origin story.

krypton1 Warner Bros. Loses Supermans Past

Won't be seeing this from Warner Bros anymore...

So what CAN another WB Superman flick offer?

Well, the studio still owns the rights to a lot of auxiliary elements of the Superman universe, including Lex Luthor, Superman’s ability to fly, kryptonite (the term), Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s powers and the character’s “expanded origins.” Plenty of stuff left to craft a fresh and original (key word) take on the Man of Steel. Time to get creative.

What do you think – does this latest ruling further hamper the possibilities of the next Superman film, or will it force inspire an injection of much-needed fresh perspective on the character?

Source: Variety

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  1. Aye! A origin story would be meaningless, mostly because it was perfected in the first Supe-movie, and it’s still being done in Smallville.

    What was so perfect about Superman 2, imho, was that it had everything. You had 3 super-villains with the same strenght as Superman, which was a good excuse for a lot of action, but you also had the very essense of rotten human selfishness, greed and evilness in form of Lex Luthor, which shows how that it’s not just muscles Superman has to fight to bring justice to the world.

    And we also also had the very down to earth and fun love-story between Lois and Clark, which almost could have been a movie on it’s own. It’s the only movie that really shows how much Superman was in love with Lois, and how much he was willing to give up.

    I know most people like no.1 more, but I honestly think the best thing they could do is to do something in the same vein as no. 2 (’cause no. 1 was mostly about the beginning, which only can be done once). Also, I think it’s better for the Superman movies to take more of a Spider-Man approach than Batman Begins, ’cause both the original Superman and Spider-Man had a lot more humour.

  2. I haven’t a clue why anyone would see this as the basis for a campaign of hate against the families of Siegel and Shuster – they are only finally getting their due, after all, and about time. It will surely also establish precedents for other creators to be able to pursue a similar path, and that can only be good – if the talent can be sure that they will benefit from good work, then that lets them concentrate on telling the stories and making the pictures we love.

    As Rix says, it will now just be a question of WB getting permissions to use whatever elements of the character they need -they could license them, or even buy out the rights to get them back in house (a bit like the Bond people buying up the Thunderball/ Never Say Never/ Warhead2000 James Bond stuff).

    As to a new movie – either spin it out of “Smallville”, which they should have done instead of the abysmal “Supes Returns”, or make a period-y movie in a streamline-art deco world, sort of like the Batman TAS/ Superman cartoon adventures world, and move away from the Christopher Reeve legacy…

  3. “HO NO DC/WB LOST RIGHTS SUPERMAN’S ORIGIN?! GOD HELP THEM THEY ARE SO SCREWED!”-snicker- Oh thank God they can’t do another origin story or as long and as drawn out but will never be as good as the first one. Haha. Looks like time to get creative you “genious” movie scripters you.

    I may be a little late to weigh in on this but it’s news to me. I enjoyed the original movie with Reeve as Superman. That will be my all time favorite adaptation of Big Blue. Like you don’t mess with Texas, You shouldn’t mess with the “S” either. Especially not in the way Singer’d done. Yes I think Routh shouldn’t be canned totally cast him as an extra maybe? -Lol, jk- However, I think the kid who played the infant Kal-El in Superman 1, should be given a shot at playing Superman/Clark. He’s actually got blue eyes and looks the type. All they’d need do is let his hair grow some, style it with a right way S curl and dye it black. (Superman having brown hair doesn’t work, not for me at least and I have brown hair)

    (hopefully you remember his more chubby cheeked face from when he played lil Kal saved Pa Kent from being smushed after they discovered him.) Another reason I’d pick him is because he LOOKS age appropriate for the part! Now a second choice to Aaron Smolinski is Tom Welling. My choices for either of them is that they both with natural blue eyes. (I am NOT a fan of contacts being used to achieve blue eyes especially when they look so dark and brown in bad lighting. It just looks like a massive “load” like that Batman and Robin movie from the late 1990′s) I’m aiming for quality guys.

    With that said and if Luthor which I’d dread,is cast as the main bad guy I think someone with more beef than brains should play him like… Vin Disle anyone? Not a meat head but someone who could be smart and tough. More than just a guy behind the science but actually thug-like but intimidating. However, I want someone who can give Superman a run for his money or his tights at least. Yeah Luthor can do that but he has been over done and No Gene “Hack”man did not perfect Luthor. Kevin Spacey did that thank you very much. Villains other than Mr. L. Toyman I think would be too timid but maybe as a secondary in tag team effort. I’d probably cast Robin Williams or Jim Carry if they’d sign up or need the money bad enough. -gut busts from intense side splitting laughter-
    But seriously, Brainiac, Mongul, DARKSIED, and any other major big bad villains should be considered by filmmakers.

    To love interest, GET RID OF KATE BOSWORTH, AS LOIS LANE!!! SHE PRACTICALLY BENT OVER FOR LUTHOR AND EVERYONE ELSE. There was nothing resembling other incarnations of the Daiy PLanet’s star hard nosed spunky reporter in high heels. They had the high heels right at least. I agree with most people on the kid too. No way unhh unhh. Made Lois too wimpy. Bosworth was better in Blue Crush than as Lois Lane. If Margot Kidder wasn’t so damn old or Terri Hatcher was interested they should have gone with either of them. Oh Erica Durance. The chick playing Lois on Smallville. I think the guy who played Olson did alright though. He wasn’t all bad but there’s gotta be someone better off the top of my head I really can’t think of any. Maybe the guy playing him Smallville, X-Men’s former Iceman actor. Too bad the guy who played Perry White on Lois and Clark isn’t around any more. I thought he did a great job. A much better one than Frank Langella in SR. Or hey maybe give Steve Martin a chance to play a serious role and cast him as White?

    Moving on, you know what would be great? Is if they figure out how like in current Marvel Movies (Before Marvel Sold out to Micky Mouse that is. God I see Spidy and Micky fighting together and it makes me wanna hurl.) I digress but, if DC/WB could do in there movies like in the Marvel movies forming the Avengers deal. They could start laying the bedrock for a JLA movie. Like at the end of this Movie show Supes Heading to Gotham at the end of his flick after taking out his villains and saving Lois etc. Maybe set the movie up into 3 chapters or something. Possibly 3 seperate movies. I donno but it would be just fantastic if they did something new and exciting to reinvigorate the franchise. To resurrect it from the dead. It’s been 30 years since a decent film for the Big Blue Boyscout. He’s long over due. And to those who think DC should abandon the Superman Film Franchise, think about what Comics or Comic Inspired movies would be if Superman: The Movie had never come about. Most likely there’d be no Batman, or Spider-man, etc. Yes I’d kill to see a good Flash, Green Lantern, or W.W. movie. But like in the beginning of DC Comics I think A retooled Superman movie should be the flagship paving the way!

    Have a great and blessed weekend y’all.

  4. WB brothers will not have to pay Siegel family and Shuster family for the Superman Trademark and image because WB brothers could put Superman in public domain before 2013.

    WB brothers will be only ones to own the Superman trademark and Superman will copyright free.

    WB brothers would have to go to The U.S. Copyright Office and give a note to them saying, “WB Brothers grants Superman to the Public Domain

    The most the Siegel family and Shuster family did was to force WB brothers to put Superman into public domain so they can keep the Superman trademark and everybody can own the Superman Copyright.

    WB brothers might not being putting Superman into public domain before 2013 because they may not know how to.

  5. I was wrong when I said WB brothers Superman can be released into public domain since the courts determine that WB Brothers/DC does not own Superman anymore.

    As you know Superman copyright will change ownership in 2013.

    Anyways Superman can become public domain in 2013 if DC Comics can convince Congress in 2011 to amend the Sonny Bono Copyright Protection to Act to harmonize it with Albania Copyright Law.

    Albania Copyright Law
    Life + 70 years

    70 years from publication (anonymous or pseudonymous work)

    70 years from publication; 70 years from creation if unpublished (photographic or audiovisual work of joint authorship

    25 years from production (works of applied art)

    U.S. Copyright Law

    Life + 70 years (works published since 1978 or unpublished works)

    95 years from publication or 120 years from creation whichever is shorter(anonymous works, pseudonymous works, or works made for hire, published since 1978

    95 years from publication for works published 1964–1977; 28 (if copyright not renewed) or 95 years from publication for works published 1923–1963 (Copyrights prior to 1923 have expired.)

    Amending U.S. Copyright Law to make Superman public domain in 2012 or 2013 instead of 2033 would be awesome.

    WB Brothers/D.C. Comics will have to only pay Siegel’s and Shuster’s money.

    Shuster may not own Superman because Joe Shuster nephew
    Mark Peary because he missed the missed the deadline to file for 1994′s window, and so must wait until Superman’s 75th anniversary in 2013 so
    WB/DC could still own have of Superman starting in 2013.