'SUPERMAN RETURNS' writers won't script 'MAN OF STEEL'

Superman may 'Return' for The Man of Steel movie, but screenwriters Dougherty & Harris will not.
Scribes Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris have opted out of the sequel to Bryan Singer's 2006 flick Superman Returns, says Variety's MARC GRASER, despite previous reports (from the writers and others) of their involvement.

Warner Bros now is accepting story pitches from other writers for The Man of Steel.

Does this portend the imminent departure of helmer Singer himself (who worked with Dougherty and Harris on X2: X-Men United)?

"I wouldn’t be surprised to hear later this week/month that Singer has also left the project," wrote Slashfilm's PETER SCIRETTA. "The writing already seems to be on the walls."

This development caught by surprise some who remember recent comments from the Singer camp about how smoothly Man of Steel preproduction was proceeding. There even were postings that quoted at least one of the writers concerning plot points for the sequel.

"I wonder if the studio was unhappy with Dougherty and Harris’ take on Man of Steel?" Sciretta wrote.

The studio obviously was unhappy with Superman Returns, a sentiment shared by moviegoers. Skimping on action, dubious casting, and the controversial "Super-son" storyline resulted in a $200 million domestic haul (reports put the film's cost north of that number).

Industry rumors suggest that WB would prefer a series "reboot," akin to Universal's Incredible Hulk, by which Superman Returns would be retroactively erased.

But Warner insists that Brandon Routh likely will return for The Man of Steel. However, that film is taking a backseat to George Miller's Justice League of America flick and may not see a release date earlier than 2010.

Dougherty and Harris, meanwhile, are pursuing more directing gigs and non-movie writing projects.

A poster on the "DC UNIVERSE MESSAGE BOARDS" commented that "This is obviously one of those 'we have chosen to move on to other projects' statements you get from hollywood types after they got their Butt fired."
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