24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Zack Snyder

With 2013 date, Superman will fly later than initially planned

July 21, 2011 |  2:10 pm

Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that it will release Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” on June 14, 2013, not in December 2012, as it had previously planned. The reboot will remain on schedule to commence shooting later this summer, with the added time used for postproduction.

Cavi A studio spokeswoman declined to offer a reason for the shift; in fact, she said it was not a change, pointing out that the reboot had never been given an official release date in the first place and that the December 2012 date was a tentative period announced very early in the development process. She waved aside the notion that more time is being taken because of any issues with the script, pointing out that the shooting schedule remains the same.

However it’s characterized, the new date does clear some space between the studio’s major upcoming releases: Warner Bros. will bring out the first installment of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” adaptation in December 2012; had it come out in December ’12, “Man of Steel” could have competed for studio resources during that period and also gone after a similar audience as that film. As it is, the studio will now have a major summer release at a time when its "Dark Knight" and "Harry Potter" franchises have ended.

Starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane, the new take on the caped hero is being guided by Christopher Nolan, who is producing and godfathering the project. He’ll now have a little more time to work on the movie in the editing room after his “The Dark Knight Rises” hits theaters next July. The June date does suggest the film will have the action-filled spectacle that characterizes most big-budget summer release (not that there was a tremendous amount of doubt).

The 2013 summer calendar is still fairly open, although Marvel Studios has said that it will bring out the next installment of "Iron Man" in early May. The "Man of Steel" move is reminiscent of another move from the holidays to the summer for a big-brand reboot: Paramount moved "Star Trek" from the holidays in 2008 to the summer in 2009, with the J.J. Abrams film going on to become a global hit.


Amy Adams brings a modern spin to Lois Lane

Henry Cavill as Superman: Why are Brits so appealing as American superheroes?

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Henry Cavill. Credit: Associated Press

Where does 'Sucker Punch' leave Zack Snyder?

March 28, 2011 |  7:30 am


He had a promising debut, a monster hit, a slight disappointment and a slightly larger disappointment. And in the last few weeks he's become one of the more polarizing directors out there.

But now things really get interesting for Zack Snyder.

The provocative filmmaker will in a few months begin shooting "Superman: Man of Steel," a reboot of perhaps the most beloved character in the history of movies (a point underlined Sunday with the news about Snyder's choice of Amy Adams to play Lois Lane). But just where exactly do Snyder's fan cachet, and box-office drawing power, lie in the wake of this past weekend's "Sucker Punch"?

The helmer of "Dawn of the Dead" (the promising debut), "300" (the monster hit) "Watchmen," (the slight disappointment) and "Legend of the Guardians" (the slightly larger disappointment) unveiled his girls-with-guns action-adventure this weekend. The Babydoll vehicle evoked some harsh words from critics, which could set up a hurdle with at least one group for the 2012 release of "Superman," albeit a group that doesn't much figure into the marketing of a Hollywood tent pole.

Although the "Sucker Punch" box-office results showed that Snyder still has plenty of supporters -- the movie opened to about $20 million, the second-lowest number of his career but a respectable figure that was in line with pre-release expectations -- the film also caused divisions among fanboys and fangirls, with some naysayers taking the opportunity to assess Snyder's "Superman" chops.

"Sucker Punch is a loud, gaudy, fetishistic, bombastic piece of cinema," wrote Ain't It Cool News contributor Ambush Bug. "It's also hollow, remedial, and bereft of substance ... as the minutes passed, bringing me closer to the time for the credits to roll, all I could think of was how wrong of a choice this director is for a Superman film." (Overall, the movie garnered a decent if not overwhelming B- CinemaScore among general audiences.)

Snyder riles up film-goers the way few other directors do -- it could be that some people really have their stomach turned by his movies, or it could just be that, like a sort of Comic-con version of "Dogtooth," Snyder movies somehow began eliciting both love and hate early on, and the arguments now just perpetuate themselves. Not every superhero director can be Christopher Nolan.

It's hard to say where the road turns next for Snyder. Warner Bros., which is behind both "Superman" and "Sucker Punch," drew a distinction between the two films, with Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president of distribution, telling my colleague Amy Kaufman that "a film like 'Sucker Punch' brought out [Snyder's] core fan base, but he has a lot of potential, and with a bigger, broader title, he can attract a wider audience, as he has in the past."

Much of the success of this mission will course depend on the quality (and, given one of the reviewer knocks on "Sucker Punch," the narrative coherence) of "Superman: Man of Steel." It should be noted that hardcore fans are often skeptical toward casting and filmmaker choices at first but come around when a movie opens. And plenty of directors, of both comic-book movies and every other genre, have managed to turn around even groups hard-wired to oppose them (see under: Oliver Stone and conservatives on "World Trade Center").

Still, once a filmmaker loses currency with the fan community, it's not always easy to get it back. That seems especially true for a property such as "Superman," where even those storytellers who come in with buckets of goodwill can run into problems (just ask Bryan Singer). Snyder has his work cut out for him. It just may not be superhuman work, at least not yet.

-- Steven Zeitchik
Twitter.com / ZeitchikLAT


"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" tops the box office

Hero Complex: Amy Adams will be Lois Lane

Critical Mass: "Sucker Punch"

Amy Adams brings experience, and a modern spin, to Lois Lane in "Superman: Man of Steel"

Photo: A promotional photo for "Sucker Punch." Credit: Warner Bros.


Amy Adams brings experience, and a modern spin, to Lois Lane in 'Superman: Man of Steel'

March 27, 2011 |  8:18 pm

My colleague Geoff Boucher broke the news earlier today that Amy Adams will play Lois Lane in "Superman: Man of Steel," Zack Snyder's reboot of the superhero franchise.

Among other things, the news represents a departure from some of the other superhero roles of late, which have tended to go to lesser-knowns. (Superman himself will of course be played by Henry Cavill, a relative newcomer to the big screen.)

The Adams casting also comes at a time when the actress has been headed to a more dramatic place.

After a career of largely sweet and sunny roles ("Junebug," "Enchanted," "Leap Year" and "Julie & Julia"; "Doubt" remains the major exception), Adams showed more dramatic chops as a tough-as-nails Lowell, Mass., bartender in "The Fighter," which garnered her her third Oscar nomination. Incidentally, Adams is more experienced at this point in her career than Margot Kidder, who when she was cast as Lois in the 1978 "Superman" in her late 20s had mostly genre movies under her belt.

Kidder, like the original Golden Age comics character, brought a more thick-skinned approach to Lois — in Adams terms, it was more Charlene Fleming than Giselle.

Which way Adams tilts the Superman character remains to be seen. Snyder does tell Boucher that, for all the attention to the original source material, he wants Lois, like Superman, to have a modern appeal, "relevant and real and ... empathetic to today’s audience."

— Steven Zeitchik



Hero Complex: Amy Adams will be Lois Lane

Henry Cavill as Superman: Why are Brits so appealing as American superheroes?

Photo: Amy Adams in "The Fighter." Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Critical Mass: 'Sucker Punch'

March 25, 2011 | 11:49 am


Sometimes a movie gets bad reviews. And sometimes it gets such bad reviews that the articles themselves become a source of entertainment.

Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch" is shaping up as a prime example of the latter. Although a select few critics liked the dreamscape story of butt-kicking women -- Betsy Sharkey in The Times called it a "wonderfully wild provocation" -- most found it lacking and had some great fun in telling us how. Rebecca Black got better notices.

The New York Times' A.O. Scott had perhaps the most memorable paragraph of the Snyder negative reviews with this arts-and-crafts conceit:

"You could go to see 'Sucker Punch' this weekend — a lot of people probably will, and a few may even admit as much back at the office on Monday — or you could try to make it yourself, which might be more fun, though not necessarily cheaper. Here’s what you will need: a bunch of video-game platforms; DVDs of 'Shutter Island,' 'Kill Bill,' 'Burlesque' and 'Shrek'; some back issues of Maxim; a large bag of crystal meth; and around $100 million. Your imagination will take care of the rest."

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Zack Snyder will mold the Man of Steel [updated]

October 4, 2010 |  3:30 pm

What was starting to feel like a lingering parlor game ended abruptly Monday, as Zack Snyder was confirmed as the director who will bring Superman into a new decade.

The director of "300" and the current "Legend of the Guardians" is in negotiations to take the reins of the Christopher Nolan-mentored, David Goyer-penned project. A number of intriguing candidates had revealed themselves over the last few weeks for the Superman gig, including "Black Swan" director Darren Aronofsky and "Let Me In" helmer Matt Reeves.

Snyder had remained a lead contender throughout, though, in part because he was known as a man who can direct physical action, a staple of the new version about the flying crusader. Snyder of course also took on superheroes, though of a darker variety, in last year's comic-book adaptation "Watchmen."

Some less experienced directors had also surfaced in connection with "Superman," but with Nolan said to be immersed in his new Batman movie, it's believed that he and Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures wanted a veteran director who needed less day-to-day guidance. The production time line remains a question; Snyder is still in postproduction on his upcoming femme-centric action film "Sucker Punch."

More from Snyder via our caped colleague Geoff Boucher shortly.

[Update, 3:42 p.m.]: Snyder tells Boucher at our sister blog Hero Complex that the movie will target a holiday 2012 release. He didn't offer much in the way of story detail, but acknowledged that the character, who historically is less flawed than Spider-Man or Batman, poses its challenges. "Chris and David have given this the shape with a great story," he said. "It is a hard character to crack."]

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Zack Snyder at Comic-Con 2010. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Comic-Con 2010: Who swam, who sank and who treaded water

July 26, 2010 |  7:30 am


What would happen if every day was Comic-Con? For one thing, we'd probably lose our minds. The show's hype is like lead paint -- a small amount is tolerable, even sweet, but too much leaves you prostrate and numb.  For another, if every day was actually Comic-Con no studio executive would ever lose his job. Every movie is a hit in Hall H, that magical place where dreams come true and where creators and executives can always turn for a validation fix. Thousands of people are cheering and taking cellphone pictures -- how can a film not be a blockbuster? (Here's the link, by the way, to the complete compendium of Comic-Con stories from our sister blog Hero Complex. Some more specific URLs below.)

Yet while a movie's reception at Comic-Con isn't predictive of either the very broadly oriented releases ("Avatar," which drew a mixed reaction last year) or the very fan-centric ones ("Kick-Ass" played extremely well in San Diego but struggled upon release), for the many movies in the vast middle, it can presage plenty. There's cheering and there's cheering; how loud the cheers come, and from whom, does indicate plenty about a movie's prospects.

With that in mind, we decided to run down a batch of movies from the show and offer a few thoughts about how, from where we sat, they all fared.

"Cowboys and Aliens"

The Pre-Con Status: Intense interest in Jon Favreau, the original graphic novel and the genre-jumping premise overcame some early distaste caused by Robert Downey Jr. jumping ship.

The Play: Emphasize the Harrison Ford of it all, let the panelists say very little (they're at a relatively early stage of production) and allow the hybrid-y extended footage (atmospheric period western turns into an explosion-heavy UFO-attack movie) do the talking.

The Payoff: The weird truth of Comic-Con is that sometimes the earlier you are in production, the better off your chances with fans. That helped here.The footage was also different enough from anything else that plays Comic-Con (or the multiplex), helping to make it one of the best-received of the studio panels. There was also plenty of good feeling from Ford's presence, though that's precisely the kind of Comic-Con moment that's long forgotten when a film finally comes out.

"Sucker Punch"

The Pre-Con Status: Zack Snyder could no wrong after "300." Then he did "Watchmen." His new film came into San Diego in an uncertain place.

The Play: Emphasize the "300"-esque stylized violence -- and the bombshell female cast, as about a half-dozen on the actresses joined Snyder for a panel.

The Payoff: The footage sometimes looked as slick and kinetic as "300," and this could be the rare Snyder films that brings in women. But the director wasn't hugely articulate/compelling in his own comments, and  while fanboys always like a whip-snapping woman hero, the panel might have played a little too pink-hearts-and-rainbows (hello, Vanessa Hudgens) to snag the all-important young-male demo. Women, for their part, could be an equally tough sell.

"The Green Hornet"

The Pre-Con Status: Questions about Seth Rogen's ability to pull off the superhero character -- not to mention similar questions about the film's tone -- have bedeviled this serio-comic take on the radio and TV character for a while now.

The Play: Let Rogen trot out his stoner comedy and lock down the slacker segment of the "Knocked Up" crowd, while simultaneously redefine him as as a swaggering hero.

The Payoff: The panel was vexed by the same problem as the trailer: the inability to choose, or find the right space, between comedy and the more serious business of superhero mythology. This one made few inroads at Comic-Con.

Continue reading »


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