By Edward Davis | The Playlist February 16, 2011 at 12:43AM
WB's 'Sucker Punch' Said To Be Testing Poorly
One story connects to another. A few minutes ago, Vulture reported that "Sherlock Holmes" helmer Guy Ritchie was evidently being offered the director's chair for the"300" sequel, unofficially known as "Xerxes." Folks stop and ask, wait, isn't this a Zack Snyder project?
Well, yes it was, but it appears that all things Snyder-related are facing some major issues.
According to Vulture's sources, "Superman" is facing some script issues and they want the filmmaker focused on the task on at hand.
These problems are apparently third-act issues from the script written by David S. Goyer ("The Dark Knight"). Another rumor floating is potential buyers' remorse, that the suits at Warner Bros. are less-than-thrilled with the responses that are coming from a recent test screening for Snyder's ambitious upcoming female-lead fantasy action pic "Sucker Punch." An insider says, “It was bad; like, really bad. [Warner's brass] really not happy with it over there.”
Combine all this with the expensive, under-performing (and expensive) "Watchmen" and the forgotten animated owl movie "Legend of the Guardian" and you have a director who is suddenly cooling as a studio fave. Again, this is all speculation; but the pieces make some sense (totally anecdotal: an audience this writer was with who watched the trailer recently snickered in confusion about what exactly they were seeing).
As much as we were not keen on Snyder taking over the helm of the Christopher Nolan-produced "Superman," you've got to at least give this story a close look. While, sure, we're not shocked to hear "Sucker Punch" might be a total mess, Snyder will be busy with "Superman" until its release in December 2012, so it may just be a matter of time which the "Watchmen" director simply won't have. He's going to be busy and "Xerxes" will stall without a director so, why not Ritchie who resurrected his career with "Sherlock Holmes" after two major bombs ("Swept Away" and one picture that didn't even come out in the U.S. "Revolver") and one film that did okay critically, but didn't move the needle commercially ("Rock N' Rolla"). Note, Vulture's own reporting by admission is just "theories," so buyer beware how you frame this one.
However, as the publication does not know which is true, there is a pressure-ticking clock going on with "Superman." To quote them (which is entirely true), "Legally speaking; if a Superman film isn’t in production by 2013, Warner Bros. loses the rights to the entire Superman franchise and would have to re-license it from its original creators — the estates of Detective Comics writers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — at great if not prohibitive expense."
Correct, so while production will likely start this year, script issues could delay their start. Keep an eye on this one, but don't panic quite yet.