Man of Steel made all the money this weekend, rocking the third highest opening June weekend (adjusted) with $125M domestic and another $71.6M international for good measure. The extent of its success will depend on whether audience reactions are positive enough to propel it to large numbers in the following weeks (because getting to a billion isn’t easy), but it’s not surprising that the team at Warners is excited about the sequel/franchise possibilities. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, they might be looking to release Man of Steel 2 as early as next year.
But how realistic is that?
It’s true that Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer are both back as director and writer respectively, but even with main talent in place, the timeline seems truncated. After all, it was three years between Christopher Nolan sharing Goyer’s concept with Warners and the release of the new Superman. Plus, Man of Steel took at least 7 months to shoot — that’s without counting post-production and effects. So, essentially, they’d better start tomorrow if they want a Summer 2014 slot.
Obviously the other major questions are whether fans will want to see Superman return so quickly, and whether or not it’s a good move for Warners considering their overall plan to move forward with a Justice League movie. That Wall Street Journal piece pegs its potential release in 2015, which seems downright ridiculous considering the lack of work Warners has done with the other characters and their renewed focus on the one that brought them to the dance. Is that really enough time to introduce us to new incarnations of Wonder Woman, The Flash and (possibly) Green Lantern? Doubtful. There are clearly a lot of people out there who loved Man of Steel, and this might be welcomed news, but it all feels a bit like Hollywood Math being done by a studio blinded by the success of Disney/Marvel and The Avengers.
“Hey! We have superheroes, too!” is not a business model. Neither is rushing out of the gate because you’ve seen a hint of success.