Monday, June 17, 2013

'Man of Steel' sequel rumored to be fast-tracked for 2014; 'Justice League' in 2015

Marvel has done a boffo job at combining superheroes, releasing individual films in a such as a way as to excite audiences, then releasing "The Avengers." The Wall Street Journal theorized on Sunday that the huge box office results of "Man of Steel" could mean that Warner Bros. -- which owns DC Comics, by the way -- will fast-track both a "Man of Steel" sequel and a "Justice League" film.

Dan Fellman, Warner's president of domestic distribution said,
It's (Superman) more than just a franchise for us; it really opens up the door to do combinations of the DC Comics characters. We can build them up like Marvel did and benefit from the history of DC.
However, Warner Bros. hasn't greased the wheel with alternate and lesser-known characters as Marvel and Walt Disney Studios did.

"The Avengers" starred Iron Man, who had already starred in two feature films by the time of the supergroup movie; The Hulk, well-known from several films and TV; Thor and Captain America, who had recently debuted as lesser-known characters; The Black Widow, who had a supporting role in "Iron Man 2;" and Hawkeye, who had a cameo in "Thor."

With that, as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. from earlier Iron Man films, Marvel and Disney had plenty to work with.

Looking at DC Comics, though, Batman and Superman are the only big-screen successes of note. 2011's "Green Lantern" was an underperformer, taking in $116.6 million domestically in total, and $219.9 million globally. The film was critically panned, as well, and had a budget of $200 million.

A "Justice League" film would need to expand beyond Superman and Batman. Green Lantern is considered a mainstay of the League, and a revamped GL is expected for the film, including a more serious Hal Jordan. Wonder Woman is known from TV, but has not been a big screen character.

Others that most comic book fans would expect in a big-screen Justice League film would be The Flash and perhaps Aquaman or maybe even Hawkman or The Atom.

Notably, the inclusion of The Black Widow and Hawkeye in the first Avengers movie would have taken some by surprise, as neither was among the original Avengers team. The original Justice League of America, or JLA, included neither Superman or Batman, but began with Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and The Flash in its debut in comics (above).

The WSJ's report claims a "Man of Steel" sequel is being fast-tracked for a 2014 release date. The rush there is so that Warner Bros. can similarly fast-track a JLA movie, with "knowledgeable people close to the studio" saying that a "Justice League" film could come out "as soon as 2015."

"Man of Steel," the latest Superman reboot, scored a record for June, with $113.1 million taken in during the traditional Friday to Sunday period, ahead of "Toy Story 3" ($110.3 million). Including Thursday night group sales, it came in at $125.1 million for its debut, the second-best opening of 2013 so far behind "Iron Man 3."

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