Superman To Get New Owners – What About a New Movie?

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

superman logo Superman To Get New Owners   What About a New Movie?

This week, a U.S. District Court Judge made yet another ruling in the decade-long legal battle between DC/Warner Bros. and the estate of late Superman co-creator, Jerry Siegel. The latest ruling (in this convoluted case) stated that all was fair (legally at least) regarding the licensing fees WB paid to DC comics in 1999, in order to develop properties like Superman Returns and Smallville.

Here’s the part you’ll care about: while the judge found that the deals between WB and partner DC weren’t illegal, he did state that WB should’ve paid 3-4 times what they did, and that if WB doesn’t produce another Superman film by 2011, the heirs of creators Siegel and Joe Shuster (who will jointly own 100% of the rights to Superman come 2013) will be able to sue the studio to “recover their damages.”

So, will Warner Bros. try to get another Superman film into production by next year?

Here’s what Warner Bros. currently has going for them, as far as a new Superman movie is concenered: No script. No director. No Supes film of any kind in development. No star to play Superman. Bupkis, really. No Man of Steel sequel to Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns; no “dark” Superman Unleashed reboot. Nothing but Bupkis. So much for months and months of rumors…

So what’s the best move now for Warner Bros. and DC?

Understand: in 2013, when the Siegel/Shuster heirs take ownership of the rights to Superman, NOTHING gets done without their approval. DC doesn’t release one issue of the comic book or any animated features; Warner Bros. doesn’t put out any Superman-related movies or TV shows. Unless the Siegels/Shusters give the go-ahead, WE DON’T GET SUPERMAN.

That said, it becomes easy to see why DC/WB might suddenly halt other planned comic book films to focus all their attention on Superman. After all, Supes is the most recognized superhero in the world and anything released with his name slapped on it is automatically going to have a better chance at ma$$ appeal than any other superhero this side of The Dark Knight.

superman unleashed Superman To Get New Owners   What About a New Movie?

Whatevs, I wasn't too keen on a "dark Superman" movie anyway...

But what can DC/WB do at this point? Developing and producing a Superman film takes a great deal of time and a WHOLE lotta money. And 2011 is NOT far away; we all know how quick time passes as movies crawl their way towards theaters.

So, the big questions: Should DC/WB try to push out one more Superman movie before the legal deadline? Should they try to go live action, or focus on an animated feature like the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enimies? Should they be in backrooms right now, trying to beg the Shuster/Siegel heirs to cut them a new deal before Superman ends up playing for team Marvel (it is possible)?

And finally: will this legal stuff effect the rumored Superman cameo in the upcoming Green Lantern live-action film?

Let’s get to the debate. Leave your comments.

(If you want to read more about the current legal battle between the Siegel estate and DC/WB, you can do so here.)

Source: Variety

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  1. SUPES TO MARVEL!!!!!!

    Superman VS. Galactus?? Man of Steel VS. Dr. Doom?? Man of Tomorrow VS. Kang?? Please let this happen!!!!!!

    I dislike DC for the most part, but Superman has always been one I liked. Seeing him in a more realistic (is that possible in comics) world would be so good!! None of this every hero is 10x more powerful than their villain reality that DC is. Let him be a HERO….you know, one of those guys who has to fight against the odds to actually beat someone, not just fly in, heat vision, punch, done, and no “hey, I am a billionaire, I can do nothing physically, yet I can still beat superman” crap.

    Whoa, sorry, went offon a tangent there. I know the Marvel possibility isnt a very big one, but just the thought of it is giving me goosebumps.

  2. DC’s always been alright in my book

  3. Well, as smallville seems to go on forever, I hope the Siegels/Shusters force them to make him don the cape :)

  4. A greater threat to the GL cameo might be the fact they no longer have an actor playing Superman.

  5. Wait, you said WHEN the Siegel/Shuster heirs take over in 2013. If WB starts producing a Superman movie by then, that would negate the transfer right? Or, is there something else I’m unaware of that gives the heirs the rights in 2013?

  6. Routh as Supes, Terence Stamp as Zod (freshly crawled up through the artic ice looking for revenge) directed by Nicholas Meyer

  7. @ Keith Thomas

    From what I gather, the rights transfer to the Siegel Shuster heirs in 2013 no matter what.

    The 2011 deadline is what WB/DC is facing to put out any other Superman properties before the rights to the character and any subsequent use of him are no longer theirs, and they have to start begging Siegel/Shuster to use him.

  8. I just read the Variety story and it answered my question. Wow. The Siegels getting their hands on Superman entirely is a frightening concept. They’ll sell to the highest bidder. Dear Jesus, don’t let 20th Century Fox buy him. Please, please, please don’t let Fox anywhere near Superman!

  9. This will likely kill any possibility of seeing the red and blue in a Justice League film…

  10. I have a feeling that DC is going to appeal this decision, citing the amount of time needed to develop and release a movie of the magnitude of Superman films. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the appeal and got an extra year to get things done. I have to agree with Keith, we don’t need FOX anywhere NEAR Superman. The big problem in all this is money, and I think if DC gets some big cash kickback from WB the problem might be solved until 2013.

  11. Oops, I mean “I have a feeling WB is going to appeal this decision…”

  12. This is what the WB gets for thinking that a movie that made $200 million domestically wasn’t worthy of a sequel and needed a reboot. Can I just point out that SR is only 4 spaces behind Batman Begins at the all-time box office. The next Supes movie could have been out by now and it could have been great! The WB better start kneeling before Singer and Routh to get them back… and quick. I know people had there issues with SR, but Singer knows what we hated about it and what we loved about it, and I have faith that he would pull an “X2″ with the Superman sequel. The WB better get crackin’!

  13. WB probably don’t have to have the film in the can by 1 Jan. 2011 (the deadline set by the judge). Approving a script, hiring a director and cast should satisfy him.

    As for what happens in 2013, I have no idea but am immensely concerned. Perhaps our hosts at Screenrant could try to contact the Seigels’ and Shusters’ representation and ask?

  14. If their smart they’ll keep the rights, and get listed as ‘Executive Producers’ every time.

    That way they can keep their hands firmly around the cookie jar and still have a say-so as to who gets a cookie.

    The advantage for them (and us) is that they can make sure Fox or any other greedy bastards won’t ruin a good thing forever.


  15. ..sorry. “greedy rascals”

  16. too many people for just 1 cake :D

  17. Re. a “dark Superman”… is it just me or does everyone seem to misinterpret this as being like Batman?

    I just interpret it as “intelligent story with psychological depth”, unlike the goofy/naive stuff we’ve seen of Superman on film thus far.

  18. Well i think they should re-inact what the cartoon superman and smallville did with the doomsday thing.

    You are killing two birds with one stone at the same time and can also add a little flare of your own if you’d wish

    By bringing in doomsday at the beginning and superman dying after defeating doomsday (for the time being), you can bring out the dark superman (who was a clone made by lex luther) and bring in a few minor villians such as toy man and a few others. If superman producers wish to make this as long as the dark night movie then bring in doomsday’s “Father” general zod. You could even go as far as to make more evil supermen if you brought in villians like metallo, leech, and bizzaro.

    the sky is not even the limit when you are superman so go nuts with the new movie. GOOD LUCK (BUT I DON’T THINK YOU’LL NEED IT)

  19. I don’t think The Estate (Siegels/Shusters) care about executive producer credits. They, like most ordinary folks, would prefer to take a big cash payout. That, coupled with the animosity between them and WB/DC, leads me to think they’ll sell to highest bidder. Likely candidate? Sony. Superman’s really popular in Japan, too, as Toyota’s been using him to sell the Prius over there. Also, DC only got 13 mil off Superman Returns. That kinda cut tells me how bad their arrangement is with WB, and reinforces how little of a damn WB gives about the DC properties.

  20. “Superman/Batman: Public Enimies? ” Spell much?? Comic books aside, this as a film project should never come to be. A film with the two giants working together- yes!

    Here’s hoping for return of both characters with at least new sequels, with the same principles playing them. (Just leave please Spacey out of the next Supes- the guy is to unstable an actor and his take on Lex was way too vicious).

    Great website, thanks!

  21. @Spaceflight: WB has already dropped Brandon Routh’s contract. See the article earlier this month on that, here on screenrant. So, fortunately for us, no more androgynous, ugly uniform-wearing-with-a-vinyl-table-cloth-cape-having-knocked-up-and-run-out-on-an-obvious-teenage-Lois-Lane Superman. Maybe WB does need to lose the rights…

  22. I don’t see why everyone hated Kevin Spacey so much as Lex Luthor. He was one of my favorite parts of Superman Returns.

  23. I agree Alex. I thought Kevin Spacey was a great Lex. I’m just tired of having to have Lex Luthor in EVERY single Superman film.

  24. I’m sick tired of waiting. At this point i just want SOMEthing!

  25. If a movie needs to be produced fast, I think the cast of “Smallville” has been welled groomed for the characters and Clark Kent is itching to put on that flight suit. All the different story lines are in place, and the Justice League has been introduce as has the Legion of Super Heroes. Lex Luthor has gone missing and he is sorely missed from the series. Bizzaro has been introduced. I’d rather they just take the TV series out of Smallville and bring Metropolis to the Big Screen with all those well developed characters that we all know and love and make that “Superman Movie”

  26. I think the worst thing they could do is try a reboot. For twenty years we’d gone without an on-screen Superman, besides Dean Cain. There is a reason for all the troubles getting Superman back into the box-office. Sadly enough, it was Christopher Reeve. For ten years, he was Superman. After the franchise collapsed in The Quest For Peace, WB banked with Batman for a few years until that film franchise was beaten to death with a neon staff. Then there was Mr.Reeve’s accident which left no choice but to reestablish the Man of Steel with someone else. Not only was it finding someone else, but also either remaking his film history or somehow continuing what was left behind. After years of WB Execs, writers, and directors tossing ideas, Bryan Singer comes along and saves the day. The original Superman movie, to this day, stands alone as a classic film. To remake the origin is almost a slap. If you go to any movie store and look for any remake of any movie and you’ll find all the remakes piled up because people watch them and get curious about the original source. I’ve seen a store with overstock of The Omen, Hills Have Eyes, Assault On Precinct 13, etc, and maybe a few copies of the originals. In the case of Superman Returns, it too is overstocked but I feel if we had a follow-up, alot of those copies would get sold. It was a great movie with an interesting story arc. To leave it behind would be a mistake. My advice would be to finish what they started. The only trouble I have with watching Returns is that by the end, I see the follow-up not happening. If they reboot it, they’ll be dishonoring the efforts of the original and the Return. He should just return, again. If people need to know where he came from then there’s this perfect little film called Superman:The Movie that tells you what you need to know. “Why The Superman Franchise Needs Bryan Singer To Continue The Fight”

  27. I could careless about another Superman movie. I prefer Batman vs Superman movie and Justice League. Those two movies featuring superman will be satisfying enough.

  28. I believe that WB, if they go ahead and make a film, should utilize the Smallville cast to make their next movie. I heard a very vague rumor about a movie coming out to cap off Smallville potentially called “Metropolis” and I think that’s their best bet. You’ve got the cast, who has their characters down pat, and one of the best acted villains ever – Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. Depending on what they do in Season 9 of Smallville (since the Season 8 finale was ridculously vague in explaining what happened), they could also bring in Doomsday as well as Zod, who will be joining Season 9. Like someone else on here said, you’ve also already had the introduction of the Justice League (although Wonder Woman, Batman and Green Lantern are missing from the series, and they definitely need to be introduced to the Supes movie franchise) and the Legion, so what more could you possibly need? The characters are already there and have a loyal following, so use it! All I can say is, I hope they make a wise decision and don’t have a repeat of Superman Returns (the only high point of that movie, for me, was Brandon Routh – he did well despite a poor script and poor overall execution of the film).

  29. Not to mention, most Smallville fans (or at least me) are waiting anxiously for him to don the tights – he’s already so close to being Superman in the series that they can’t do much more before he is definitely seen as the Man of Steel to the rest of the world.