All of the major studios are currently hunting for that next great project which can be turned into a lucrative franchise. The Hollywood Reporter recently ran an article about this very subject, and they included updates on all of your favorite comic-turned-film icons. Here's what they had to say about the matter:
At some point within the next two weeks, producer Laura Ziskin and the top brass of Sony Pictures Entertainment will sit down together for the first time since Spider-Man 3 opened May 4 to discuss the franchise's future.
It's a crucial meeting, all the more so because director Sam Raimi will be there. And Raimi, who has sent contradictory messages about his future plans, might at last indicate whether he'll helm the next installment.
"It would be great to have everybody back," Ziskin says. "But no one is going to sign on the dotted line until we have a script. These are the questions being discussed now. The one thing we have answered definitively is: There will be more Spider-Man movies. We just haven't answered what shape they will come in and (Sony) hasn't given us a release date."
The upcoming meeting "will be the first step in a process," Ziskin adds. "Spider-Manwill continue; I can't tell you every person who will be involved."
It goes without saying just how critical the Spider-Manfranchise is to the studio's bottom line; at press time, the franchise had netted upwards of $2 billion in box office receipts, not to mention home video revenue and other income from ancillary ventures. But it is hardly unique in today's Hollywood.
At Fox, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand appears to have concluded the franchise -- at least in its present form. Instead, the studio is developing two possible spin-offs: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, and Magneto, which would follow the character portrayed by Ian McKellen as a much younger man.
Also at Fox, the future of Fantastic Four is unclear after the second installment, Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer dropped 66% in its second weekend, following an exceptional $58.1 million opening. Fox is developing a Silver Surfer follow-up and is considering another Fantastic Foursequel, but no script is in development, sources say.
The studio has been so eager to get Wolverine out next year that it has committed to go into production the instant Jackman finishes Baz Luhrmann's epic romance Australia, which Fox is tentatively set to release next year. "The idea is, they can finish him out in September or October and put this one on the fast track so they can get it out next summer," says one source.
For the time being anyway, it seems that Wolverine is the best hope for continuing the X-Men movie franchise. "There is no script for an X-Men 4, and there is none in the works," avers producer Lauren Shuler Donner.
The future of the studio's recent comic book adaptation, 2006's Superman Returns,is somewhat more dubious. That film cost $209 million (even after various tax rebates) and marketing costs sent expenses upward of $300 million, but director Bryan Singer's Man of Steel picture made only $201 million domestically. While insiders say the movie was profitable, the studio mandated major cost cuts before proceeding with a sequel.
"If we do a sequel to Superman Returns, we want it to be less expensive," Horn acknowledges. "I have to see a screenplay before I say yes to anything. But the studio would be willing to spend as much as $175 million if the screenplay and other factors warranted it."
Still, Singer has announced that he plans to direct a second Superman Returns project.