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WB production chief Lorenzo di Bonaventura has long vowed to revive the "Superman" saga as part of the studio's push to capitalize on its DC Comics characters. Not only does "Superman" represent yet another potentially lucrative franchise, but the studio has already sunk millions into the project and has yet to see a dime in return.
Between 1996-98, Warners was dead set on getting the "Superman" franchise out of the phone booth and into the air, spending millions on scripts by Kevin Smith, Dan Gilroy and Bill Wisher.
But with the budget spiraling toward $140 million and a script that still wasn't quite right, di Bonaventura pulled the plug on pre-production for "Superman Lives" in April 1998.
While the move reflected fiscal prudence for a studio that had been walloped by ill-conceived films with bloated budgets, some damage had already been done. "Superman Lives" helmer Tim Burton and its star, Nicolas Cage, both had pay-or-play deals -- meaning they get paid even if the project goes ahead without them -- and neither is involved with the McG/Abrams incarnation of "Superman"; the new team plans to start from scratch conceptually.
Jon Peters, whose latest effort was Sony's very expensive "Ali," will produce the mega-budget picture.
"Superman" will likely be McG's next film after "Charlie's Angels 2: Halo," which will begin production this spring. That film is a summer tentpole for Columbia Pictures, which has scheduled a June 20, 2003 release.
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