Monday, March 19, 2007

Singerman 2 to be Shelved in Favor of the JLA Movie?

Take this one with a BIG grain of salt, but Moviehole has an article up today quoting "inside sources" close to W.B. Studios saying that they may be shelving any plans for Singerman 2 to move ahead with the Justice League of America movie featuring Superman as a lead character.

"I heard from a pretty reliable source this weekend – who, has some top contacts himself – who essentially confirmed that the WB are thinking of putting the next “Superman” movie into turnaround, and instead will just use the character in the new “Justice League” movie. (Funnily enough, Batman would not be involved in the new film – he’s too big to waste on a film like this, apparently).

Having now heard the same from about half-a-dozen reliable insiders, I checked in with a couple of sources near the Water Tower itself, who wouldn’t confirm nor deny the reports, but definitely haven’t dismissed that it’s a possibility. One of them would only say that there “could be something in [that]”

If true, that's quite interesting. The evidence would also seemingly be starting to mount against Singer getting the chance to have another go at the rotting corpse of Superman he left us or at the very least delaying it.

It seems they'd be taking Superman for the JLA film as a way to help try to drum up support for the Superman character after the lackluster box office from the first Singerman film. If the JLA film was a monster hit, the article muses, they might then go ahead with a Singerman 2. But does that make much sense? If someone is able to make the JLA a monster hit using Superman (hopefully, correctly this time) why would W.B. then want to turn around and hand him back to the guy who screwed it up the 1st time? Unless of course they mean, they'll go ahead with another Superman film perhaps not with Singer attached to direct again, but that's not really clear.

The article also states that they think Brandon Routh would most likely be donning the tights again in the JLA film, but I'm not too sure about that. If you believe some of the rumored script ideas for the JLA movie Routh's Superman wouldn't exactly be in continuity with it, although let's face it his Superman wasn't in continuity with ANYTHING. Another thing to consider is that he might have the stigma of being part of Singerman attached to him, and if WB's unhappy enough with the Singerman franchise to bale on it, or at the very least delay it for a while, why would they want to risk the public associating the two films by having the same star in the same role?

UPDATE: IGN has admitted hearing the same rumor over the weekend.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Singerman's Next Flight Could Be Delayed.

Just one day after Brandon Routh did an interview to remind the general public that he had not been sucked into a black hole and was still in fact here on the planet Earth, comes a report in today's Variety that the next installment of the Singerman travesty errr trilogy could be delayed due to Singer agreeing to make another film with United Artists and one of the few people with an ego bigger than himself, Tom Cruise. Some interesting bits from the article:
"United Artists toppers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner have
greenlit their second film, an original thriller that Bryan Singer will direct
as his next feature...

The film will delay Warner Bros.' hope of mounting a
sequel to "Superman Returns" in the near future

Hmmm... this is quite interesting on two fronts. First and most obivous, if Singer is directing this World War II film as his next project and they haven't even gotten to the pre-production phase yet, there's no way in hell it's completed in time that they start doing a Singerman sequel early next year for a 2009 release as has been speculated. As Variety says, it has to delay any kind of Singerman sequel, unless of course now that W.B. has cleaned it's "superhero house" with the exception of the Batman franchise, perhaps plans have changed?

Which leads me into the second front. Could this be the first sign that Singer is possibly on the way out of the Superman franchise? While it may be just wishful thinking on our part, seeing him taking on a film like this at this point in time does raise some eyebrows. Are Singer's "principles" somehow compromised by WB's mandate for a more action-oriented film with a scaled down budget? Or could the studio, who had a rough go of it in 2006, be looking for a new creative direction with a director who can do more with less? Too bad Zach Snyder is already signed on to do The Watchman next year. Now there's a guy who can do a comicbook justice. At one time, Singer was supposed to do a film in between Singerman and a potential sequel, but that was supposed to be part of his deal with WB and the project would be a WB project. This film has nothing to do with WB.

Some Superman "fan" sites have claimed this report is false, but offer no clue as to how they would know this? Given this report is from a credible industry source like Variety, I'm inclined to believe it for now. WB has made no official statement as of yet.

Monday, March 12, 2007

If you build it, they will come... Sometimes

"This is SPARTA!"

Well no. This is Singer's Superman Sucks. That image up there is Sparta, or more specifically, "300," the latest film from Warner Bros. that proved marketing works - as long as you listen to what your audience wants.

Grossing 70.9 million dollars, this tasty little masterpiece just became the highest grossing film ever to open in the month of March and is third behind The Matrix Reloaded and The Passion of the Christ for R-rated films. 300's opening included an estimated $3.4 million from 62 IMAX screens, surpassing Singerman as the biggest IMAX debut ever.

As Brandon Gray from Box Office Mojo pointed out...
Warner Bros. waged a striking marketing campaign for 300, based on the picture's hyper-stylized, digitally-enhanced look, the mythology of Ancient Greece and the high stakes premise of 300 Spartans fighting a vast army in the Battle of Thermopylae, replete with passing references to freedom to recall past audience favorites like Braveheart and Gladiator.
Steve Daly of Entertainment Weekly broke it down...

A tight 60-day live-action shoot began in fall 2005, and Warner got busy positioning 300 to the obvious fanboy-heavy, Sin City-loving audience. The studio organized a Q&A panel with director Zack Snyder and writer Frank Miller last July at San Diego's Comic-Con International, where they showed preview footage so gory and spiked with nudity it couldn't be posted on the Internet, thanks to MPAA rules about trailer content.

According to Snyder, Warner had given up on trying to appeal to a female audience. Then a pair of test screenings changed all that. "We got, like, a 100 percent recommend from women under 25," says the director. "They don't even get that kind of score on a romantic comedy." Why did women respond? In Miller's original graphic novel, Leonidas' wife, Queen Gorgo, appears only in passing. In the movie, Queen Gorgo (Brit Lena Headey) is a front-and-center partner to Leonidas, calming his nerves in bed (while both are very, very naked) and getting her own new subplot about political corruption as Leonidas marches off to war.

"At first I very much disagreed with it," Miller says. "My main comment was 'This is a boys' movie. Let it be that."' But the Snyders felt strongly that Leonidas needed something specific to fight for, and that female ticket buyers needed someone to identify with. The preview scores vindicated them. "Those numbers came back, and Warner said, Wow, we need to rethink this a bit," says Snyder. Instead of spending big on one 30-second Super Bowl TV spot, Warner sprinkled previews into more female-friendly TV shows, including Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, Lost, and American Idol.

If you missed it, the key was test screening and audience Q&A, something that is routinely done for big budget motion pictures but was reportedly undervalued by Singer during the production of Singerman. Warner Bros. pulled out all the stops but they seemingly ignored the one thing that would drive the film to boffo business: word of mouth.

It was by far, the most anticipated film opening in June. "More than any other studio, Warner Bros. has embraced the summer tentpole strategy. Spending huge sums to produce and market big titles, the studio regularly produces $200 million gambles that would make Vegas high-rollers blush." (Link) "On top of the $50 million or so it spent on its own marketing, Warner lined up promotions with Duracell, Samsung, Pepsi's Tropicana, Quaker, Aquafina, and Frito-Lay brands as well a Got Milk? campaign. Giant "S's" were projected on Chicago's Sears Tower, Niagara Falls, and other recognizable sites in about 10 major US cities. Sky divers made an "S" in parachuting formations in Boston, Dallas, and several other cities on June 27. (Link) "By the time 'Superman Returns' [opened], the 'S' logo was used to sell everything from soft drinks to motor oil. And toy manufacturers hoped that products like the Superman InflatoSuit would help to revive a sluggish licensing industry." (Link) Routh was seen on the covers of countless magazines, often more than once, and he, Bostworth and Singer made various appearances at press junkets worldwide. Warners also dumped a boatload of cash into Singer's blogs and ComicCon marketing. As Warners VP of targeted marketing, Viviana Pendrill once said, "you'd have to be living under a rock not to know about big releases like 'Superman,' 'Batman' and 'Harry Potter.'"

In terms of release, they covered all the bases. Print distribution was at blanket saturation levels. "Warner shipped out a whopping 8,500 prints of the film in North America, insuring there wouldn't be a cineplex in America that wasn't likely to have the big fella flying in." (Link) The studio "decided to wait until the World Cup ended July 9 to go outside Asia and Australia, launching in mid-July in Brazil, France, Mexico and the U.K.; it will wait until mid-August to open in Germany and Japan." (Link) Release date was carefully chosen; it was "perhaps the best date any studio has had in years: the Wednesday before a Tuesday holiday -- essentially giving "Superman Returns" a seven-day weekend." 'We're in good shape, and we have the primo date of the summer with a very long weekend ahead of us,' declared Warner Bros. distribution prexy Dan Fellman. 'Now it's up to the movie gods.'" (Link)

They should have started with the script writing gods, because an entertaining film will market itself.
"'Superman isn't caught up in the same angst that other characters like Spider-Man or Batman are,' says Gaetano Mastropasqua, Warners' corporate senior VP of global promotions and partner relations. 'Superman stands for truth, justice and a positive way of life.'"
Obviously, the suits in marketing had a handle on the big picture.

"In marketing Singer's version, Warner Bros. has paid particular attention to the comicbook's fan base, some of whom were wary of previous incarnations and expressed their opinions so on high-trafficked Internet sites. Last summer, in the midst of shooting, the studio flew Singer via private jet from the film's Australian location to San Diego, where he screened footage at the annual Comic-Con comic book convention. The response was enthusiastic.

'You are never going to satisfy everybody,' says producer Michael Uslan ("Batman," "Batman Begins"), who has started a new company called Comic Book Movies with financier M. Jonathan Roberts. 'But if you can't satisfy the main part of the fan base, you are going to have problems. These are people who are not only schooled in the characters, the mythology and the history but also in the creators over the years. They know what they like.'"
So what happened with Singerman? Was it the film itself? Why yes. Yes! We think it was.

Word of mouth is arguably, the single most important aspect of any film's success, and good WOM is directly related to how well a film reaches people. Look at the 2002 film year, for example. Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, a Los Angeles-based company that monitors box-office results, said...

"Without question, the two movies that exemplified the year (2002) were 'Spider-Man' and 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.' They couldn't be more different in terms of budgeting, marketing, everything. But they were both mega-blockbusters. It just says that moviegoers are open to anything. As long as it's a good movie of course."

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Kevin Smith NY Comic Con Footage

Thanks to a number of readers who submitted this over the past week. Sorry for the delay in getting it up. Here's the clip of Smith talking about Singerman at the N.Y. Comic Con a couple weekends ago. Instead of getting the details second hand, it's always more interesting to hear them directly from the source. Note how the audience is just eating up every bit of it. Guess that's what happens when you get a room full of people who understand the character of Superman. Why couldn't Warner Brothers do that?