SUPERMAN Franchise Finds Lawsuits as Debilitating as Kryptonite

     November 25, 2009

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Who knew that after all these years it wouldn’t be Lex Luthor who ultimately stopped Superman but legal disputes?  According to Anne Thopmson, Warner Brothers wants to do a complete reboot of the series but they need settle with the families of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster because the families will regain the copyright in 2013.  If Warners can work out a deal with the Siegel and Shuster families, then they could merge all the rights and confidently restart the series without worrying about losing the sequels.  Sequels is why we’re experiencing this delay.  As lucrative as a new movie could be, it won’t matter if Warners loses the sequels because even the ridiculous success of this year’s Star Trek which resurrected the franchise, pretty much broke even after all the legal wrangling necessary and investment to get the Enterprise flying again.  But because the relaunch of Trek was a massive success, we can expect more adventures J.T. Kirk and the Gang.

Comparatively,  Superman Returns cost $232 million to get made but WB felt it could’ve done better than its $391 million worldwide take.  While that puts the film in the black, you also have to factor in marketing as well as the non-starters of Brett Ratner and McG’s separate attempts to get the franchise off the ground before Singer finally got the job done.  So the “disappointment” of Returns means a total reboot (in which we’ll probably have to sit through the character’s origin even though non-comic book fans already know it by now) but until the rights are settled, the Man of Steel may as well go wait in the Fortress of Solitude, because there’s nothing happening in Metropolis.

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