Warner Bros. were hoping that Superman Returns would bring the Big Blue Boy Scout roaring back to the forefront of the public consciousness after he’d spent the better part of 20 years in cinematic cold storage. And while Bryan Singer’s mega budget blockbuster isn’t a bad movie by any means, it wasn’t what the studio or fans were expecting.
Most people thought Superman would make his grand comeback to the big screen in an action-packed extravaganza, but what they got instead was a very character-heavy piece that placed much more of the focus on emotion than spectacle. One of the most expensive projects in history at the time, the $200 million epic pulled in a decent $391 million at the box office, but the profit margins weren’t enough to justify further adventures.
Superman Returns came under fire for being too long, too slow and frequently uninteresting, but most critics were in agreement that the unknown Brandon Routh did a solid job as the title character. Unfortunately, however, his career never replicated that level of visibility again, but he’s nonetheless managed to carve out a decent amount of success. In a recent interview, the 41 year-old revealed why a Superman Returns sequel didn’t happen, and unsurprisingly, it all has to do with the studio’s bottom line.
“The intention was to do a sequel, always to do, with a big tentpole movie like that. They want to make more as long as they feel like they’ve recouped the money that they invested into the film. At the end of the day, the studio, Warner Bros., decided it was too much of a gamble for them to do a sequel. The creative entities, the writers and the directors were onto other things. Certain people at the studio who were excited about Superman had left to go on to other projects at other studios. So, it was both the passion and the interest in Superman dissipated and the movie, I guess for them, didn’t bring back enough monetary success for them to pull the trigger on it.”
Before the movie was even released in the summer of 2006, a second installment had already been announced, but after Superman Returns‘ lukewarm performance, the decision was made to reboot once again. And while Henry Cavill may have been playing the Kryptonian superhero for over seven years now, he’s still headlined exactly the same number of solo outings as his predecessor.