In This 'Superman' Story, the Executives Do the Fighting
By LAURA M. HOLSON
LOS ANGELES -- WHEN the subject is blockbuster franchise films, no other movie studio can match the record and reputation of Warner Brothers in recent years.
But if one prize has eluded Warner Brothers, a unit of AOL Time Warner, it is reviving "Superman," the popular serial it distributed from 1978 to 1987 starring Christopher Reeve as the vulnerable man of steel. For a decade, Warner Brothers has tried to breathe new life into that franchise, but with little success. Its latest attempt, fraught with plot twists that would make even Lex Luthor shudder with delight, is set to hit theaters in two years. And even that is an optimistic schedule, given the production's storied past.
Last month, Warner halted preproduction on "Batman vs. Superman," a dark story about the two warring superheroes that had been in development for nearly a year and had been given the studio's greenlight.
In its place, Warner decided to make the more epic and hope-filled "Superman," the first script in a trilogy delivered to the studio only two months ago and written by J. J. Abrams, a creator of "Felicity," the college-girl drama on the WB network, and "Alias," ABC's sexy spy thriller.