Singer makes Warner move
Helmer finds new home with 'Superman,' 'Logan's Run'
from the Daily Variety
August 5, 2004

Warner Bros. is opening a door for Bryan Singer now that 20th Century Fox is slamming one on his first-look deal at the film studio.

Details of the Warners pact were not available, but senior executives at the studio confirmed the deal.

In March, Singer -- who'd directed "X Men" and "X2" for Fox -- pacted with Warners to direct a remake of "Logan's Run."

Then in July, Singer's reps ended longstanding negotiations with Fox for Singer to helm "X3" and quickly completed negotiations with Warner Bros. for him to replace McG on "Superman."

That tentpole had been proceeding in fits and starts since 1998, first with helmer Tim Burton, then Brett Ratner and, most recently, McG. Eager to quickly move the movie into production, Warner went so far as to make a pay-or-play offer to Singer if he'd consent to make Superman fly post-haste.

He took it, and Fox soon notified him that his deal there was over.

While Singer doesn't believe that Fox studio chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos had the legal right to terminate his deal, he isn't going to contest the studio's request that he vacate his offices on the Fox lot.

Insiders said that Warner deal is not an expensive one, because Singer only develops projects he plans on shooting and is not the sort of producer who develops numerous projects or demands a hefty discretionary fund.

Compounding the awkwardness of his Fox departure, Singer was in the midst of directing the second episode of "House." That NBC Universal Television show, which he exec produces and is filming on the Fox lot, has already been picked up as a go series by Fox Broadcasting.

For now, who will direct "X3" for Fox remains unclear, as does its potential start date. Insiders say Singer would be happy to be involved with the pic even if only as a producer, but the ball is in Fox's court.

His relationship with Fox Broadcasting remains cordial, but the fracas certainly illuminates how highly competitive the tentpole -- and tentpole director -- game has become.

Calls to Fox execs were not returned.

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