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Home to such superheroes as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, DC has struggled to find the same success on the big screen as its Walt Disney Co.-owned rival Marvel Entertainment — despite having a better known collection of characters.
Nolan’s Batman movies have been its only hits of the past decade, surrounded by modest flops such as 2006′s “Superman Returns” and 2009′s ”Watchmen” and such major money-losers as 2010′s”Jonah Hex” and last year’s ”Green Lantern.”
As a result, top Warner executives had hoped that Nolan, who is producing next summer’s Superman reboot “Man of Steel,” would agree to serve the same role on the studio’s “Justice League,” which may hit theaters in 2015. ”It was a conversation we had,” Warner Bros. film group President Jeff Robinov said. “Obviously anything you can get Chris involved in is great.”
However, Nolan has declined the studio’s overtures, the filmmaker confirmed last weekend in interviews promoting the release of his final Batman installment.
Like all the Hollywood studios, Warner craves new film franchises, which tend to perform best overseas, generate sequels and drive sales of DVDs, toys and other ancillary products. But none of the DC movies currently in the works has a producer, director or cast, save for Zack Snyder’s $200-million-plus “Man of Steel.”
As a result, it will likely be at least three years before a new DC title hits the big screen, according to several knowledgeable people close to Warner Bros. who were not authorized to speak publicly.
Catwoman and Bane were not necessarily Warner Brothers’ first choice of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy finale. Instead, the studio had envisioned Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of the Riddler.
“Rises” screenwriter David Goyer recently revealed to Empire magazine that the studio essentially thrust the idea of DiCaprio as the Riddler upon he and Nolan after the release of 2008′s “The Dark Knight” around the same time Nolan was pitching “Inception” to them, in which DiCaprio starred.
WB’s top execs said, according to Goyer: “Obviously it’s gonna be The Riddler, and we want it to be Leonardo DiCaprio.”
In an interesting twist, the DiCaprio proposal — while ultimately unsuccessful for unknown reasons — may have spawned other casting choices. You see, much of the “Inception” cast carries over into “Rises”: Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt — who wasoriginally thought to be cast as the Riddler.
Goyer also revealed in his Empire interview that the ending of “Rises” was conceived at the outset of his partnership with Nolan in the film franchise (via Screen Rant):
“The final scene of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is exactly [the] scene we talked about [when Christopher Nolan and I started the trilogy with 'Batman Begins']. It remained completely unchanged. We both knew in our hearts that we were onto something special. I have to tell you, having finally seen everything strung together a little while ago and seeing that scene, I got a complete lump in my throat.”
The proverbial lump in the throat — along with other widespread speculation – has had film geeks pondering for months whether Batman lives or dies in “Rises.” No one, so far, has a definitive answer.