Variety reports that Warner Bros. Pictures is already planning the next installments to Batman Begins and Superman Returns, with respective helmers Christopher Nolan and Bryan Singer in line to return.

Neither director's deal is closed; the studio has hired Jonah Nolan -- Christopher's brother -- to pen the screenplay for the untitled Batman project. Studio has options on Batman Begins star Christian Bale and Superman Returns star Brandon Routh.

The next installment in the Caped Crusader franchise is further along in the process since Batman Begins was released last summer; Singer's Superman Returns, now in post, doesn't bow until June 30.

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Legendary Pictures, which put up half the financing for both Batman Begins and Superman Returns, is expected to board the sequels and split the budgets 50/50 with Warner Bros. In return, Legendary would split all profits, also 50/50.

One idea being tossed about is for Singer to direct a "Superman" sequel soon after he finishes with Warner's remake of sci-fi thriller Logan's Run, which he's also expected to direct.

Logan's Run is tentatively skedded to begin shooting this fall in Vancouver. If Singer did pact to direct the "Superman" sequel, that pic could be shot in Vancouver as well.

Singer is also set to direct The Mayor of Castro Street, which is in development at Warner Bros.

It's not clear when the Batman Begins sequel would begin shooting, although it would likely start production and be released before the Superman Returns sequel.

Christopher Nolan is presently shooting The Prestige, a Disney release that Jonah Nolan scripted from a Christopher Priest novel.

Batman Begins co-writers David Goyer and Christopher Nolan wrote a treatment for the sequel. Goyer, who recently completed The Invisible for Touchstone, also is set to write and direct "The Flash" for Warners.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.