A Wall Street Journal article detailing Warner Bros. latest strategies says the studio aims to exploit DC Comics properties in ways that it hasn't been able to in the past, and confirms that a new direction for the 'Superman' franchise is likely.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov told WSJ that Warner aims to make even more big-budget tent-poles, possibly eight per year by 2011. DC Comics superheroes are central to that goal. The books would provide fodder for two of the six or eight annual event movies.
The article also talks about the long dormant 'Batman vs Superman' project as if it were a recently priority for the studio. It's not clear in WSJ has some new information about the long-rumored film, but the article suggests that Warner was thinking of positioning it as a follow up to 'Superman Returns'.
However, with 'Returns' underperforming, Robinov admits they're rethinking the Man of Steel entirely, which may mean the next movie does not continue Bryan Singer's vision.
"'Superman' didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to," says Mr. Robinov. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned."
"Had 'Superman' worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009," he adds. "But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all."
Robinov says he wants the superhero movies to carry a sense of serious, as witnessed in the summer's biggest blockbuster 'The Dark Knight'. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it," he says. That goes for the company's Superman franchise as well."
The article also mentions that Warner Bros has "quiety adopted Marvel's model" of doing individual character films and building to a cross-over, a la all of this summer's excitement with 'Iron Man' and 'Incredible Hulk' setting up 'The Avengers'.
Current focus for Warner is said to be on four superhero movies over the next three years: including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters, which could include 'Green Lantern', 'Green Arrow: Super Max', 'The Flash' or 'Wonder Woman'.