OPINION: Is This the End of Superman on Film? by Eric Holzmann

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When The Hollywood Reporter article dropped about Henry Cavill being out as Superman, I was not really surprised.  With the lukewarm reaction to 2013’s Man of Steel, and the critical failures of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League it has been pretty clear that audiences just did not connect with this version of Superman.

It would be irresponsible of me at this point not to mention the director of all of these movies, Zack Snyder.

Let me first say that I have enjoyed many of his films, so I do not want people calling me a Zack Snyder hater.  However, the proof is in the pudding.  He has directed 3 of the 5 DCEU films and had input on the other two.  Only one was a commercial and critical success — 2017’s Wonder Woman directed by Patti Jenkins — who had final cut on the film.

It’s painfully obvious that Snyder was not the right director to helm the DCEU, and his vision, whether you personally like it or not, has lead us to where we are today.

Which leads ME to ask…

Is this the end of the cinematic Superman?

It’s a fair question, and I’ll explain why.

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Part of the THR article that got somewhat lost in the Cavill situation was that Warner Bros is not even developing a Superman film.  Instead, they are going forward with a Supergirl movie.  They could be trying to capitalize on the female empowerment movement that is trending in Hollywood right now, and that’s fine.  They are a movie studio and their focus is making money.

However, and I say this with all due respect, does anyone really care about a Supergirl film?

The Supergirl TV show is doing OK numbers on The CW Network, where superhero programming makes up a large portion of their primetime lineup, but it was originally airing on CBS and was moved because viewership tailed off after a strong start.  Knowing this. there doesn’t seem to be too much mainstream interest in the character, but they’re looking to do a movie anyway.

On the flip side, Superman fans want another film with Henry Cavill reprising the role.   All you need to do is hop on social media and see how many fans were upset at the news of his departure to know the demand is there.  Also, we know Cavill wants to do it.  His Instagram video and his manager’s statement following the fallout from the article are clear indicators of this.

But, Warner Bros is stepping away from the project, and apparently, Cavill is moving away from it as well.  Rumors are out there that there is mutual interest by he and MGM/Eon for him to take over for Daniel Craig as James Bond after the next Bond movie.

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They can spin it that the disappointing box office and critical response to Snyder’s movies is the main reason why, but the real reason is right in front of our faces: They don’t want to pay Cavill the money he wants to play a character that was largely rejected by audiences.

Not only that, but they feel so strongly that the Superman character is damaged goods they don’t even want to continue making movies about him.  It’s a crazy thing to accept that in the golden age of comic book movies the 4th most popular superhero in the world (and one of the pillars of the DC brand) has become too toxic to make a film about.

Yet here we are, and with no plans to develop a Superman movie in sight, it’s safe to assume we may never get one again. – Eric Holzmann