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The Justice League movie might never see the light of day, if Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel, isn’t the runaway success Warner Bros. are hoping for this summer, according to Variety.

Warner Bros. new CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, has stated that much will depend on the box office success of DC’s new Superman movie, highlighting that a decision on the studio’s long-gestating “Justice League” project will only be made after the release of Man of Steel in June. If it under-performs, similar to previous WB/DC film”Green Lantern”, then it might be pushed back to a later date.

The news will come as a bit of a shock to DC fans, but judging from the positive feedback from the two Man of Steel trailers, it’s probably safe to say there’s nothing to worry about. Man of Steel will be a huge box office success, but whether it will make as much as Marvel’s “The Avengers” remains to be seen. If anything, this Superman reboot should be compared to Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” as the Avengers was the amalgamation of five solo movies and ten years of planning.

Even a “Justice League” movie might not reach the whopping earnings of “The Avengers” especially if it will be competing against the sequel in 2015. The worst thing would be for Warner Bros. to rush production to cash in on the superhero craze at the moment. Superman and Batman will always be relevant, either in two years time or ten.

Variety also notes that Warner Bros. “has not been able to effectively exploit the DC library” other than Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight Trilogy”. Warner Bros. and DC are still looking for a director to bring “Justice League” to the big screen, and while names such as Vince Vaugn and Ben Affleck have been thrown around, they might just wait and see how the Snyder/Nolan partnership performs in Man of Steel.

Warner Bros. will be keen to keep comic book God “Christopher Nolan” involved as well as writers David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan even though Will Beall is working on the first draft of a “Justice League” screenplay.

But why are Warner’s Bros. so cautious about Man of Steel’s success? Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns” was widely criticised yet that had a worldwide gross of $400 million dollars. Batman Begins made $30 million less than that but its sequel, the phenomenal “The Dark Knight” broke the 1 billion barrier. Man of Steel needs to be given a chance but even if it isn’t as good as it looks, it’s hard to see it making anything less than $500 – $700 million dollars.

The only reason I can think of as to why Warner Bros. are remaining weary, is that Man of Steel will indeed act as a direct launch pad for “Justice League”. Why else would they be so nervous of their biggest superheroes return? Man of Steel has an incredible cast with Henry Cavill perfectly cast as Superman. The tone set in the trailers looks epic and Christopher Nolan is producer. What could go wrong?

Either way, I’ll still buy 20 tickets just in case. Let me know in the comments if you think Warner Bros. has nothing to worry about.

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This article was first posted on January 30, 2013