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Guy Ritchie Offered 300 Prequel?

Xerxes, by Frank Miller

Warner Bros. has offered Xerxes, the follow-up to the 2007 box-office hit 300, to Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie, Vulture reports.

But what about Zack Snyder, who helmed the first film and has been developing the adaptation of Frank Miller’s long-discussed graphic novel prequel? Well, the website offers a couple of theories, one centering on “major third-act problems” in David S. Goyer’s Superman script, and the other on poor test screenings for Snyder’s heavily promoted Sucker Punch. Both films, like Xerxes, come from Warner Bros.

It’s the first theory that’s attracting the most attention, with comics and movie websites already asking whether Superman is in trouble. Considering that production isn’t expected to begin until June, it’s probably a little early for that speculation (never mind the involvement of producer Christopher Nolan, who helped to devise the story).

However, pointing to “insiders,” Vulture says Snyder is needed to focus on Superman, as the studio faces a “ticking clock.” That much is true, even if the website botches the facts a little: A judge ruled in 2009 that Warner Bros. must begin production this year on a new Superman movie, or risk opening the door for the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel to bring action over the lack of a rights-reversion clause in the studio’s licensing agreement with DC Comics. (The Siegel family had argued that DC gave parent company Warner Bros. a “sweetheart deal” when it licensed the characters for Smallville and Superman Returns, in violation of a profit-sharing agreement; a judge disagreed.)

The 2013 deadline is when Mark Peary, nephew and legal heir of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster, will be able to reclaim his uncle’s share of the U.S. copyright to the material published in Action Comics #1. That means, barring a licensing deal or an outright purchase, Warner Bros. no longer would be able to use certain early elements of the Superman mythos, including his Clark Kent alter ego, Lois Lane and the Superman-Clark-Lois love triangle.

Vulture’s other theory, that Sucker Punch is “like, really bad,” doesn’t seem that big of surprise, considering that the trailers leave the impression it’s a bit of a glorious mess. That’s probably what you should expect — even hope for? — from such a genre mishmash. But the website goes further, pointing to studio displeasure over the box-office performances of Snyder’s previous films Watchmen and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. I’ll give them the latter, which opened a little more than a week before Snyder signed on to Superman. So perhaps Warner Bros. wasn’t yet sure how the animated adventure would play out. But Watchmen? That opened in March 2009, and was a clear financial disappointment almost from the start. Maybe it’s a cumulative effect, but it seems strange for studio executives to still be grinding their teeth about Watchmen — after they’ve entrusted its director with the rebirth of the Superman franchise.

Miller’s Xerxes will be published later this year as a six-issue miniseries from Dark Horse. He describes the story as “a sweeping tale with gods and warriors” that takes place 10 years before Thermopylae, beginning with the legendary Battle of Marathon, which marked the end of Persia’s first invasion of Greece.


  • Scud

    I have high hopes for Xerxes, please don’t let me down Miller.

  • 2000filmfan

    Ritchie is phenomenal; more Hollywood film for Ritchie!

    Ritchie is one of the very best directors in the business. American audiences have a giant problem seeing through the tabloid journalism of his failed marriage to Madonna. This article explains why…

  • Kelly

    Not sure why we need a 300 sequel or prequel.
    Movie prequels are so retarded.

  • 2000milffan

    Guy Richie is a hack. But then so was Snyder – so I guess from one hack to another

  • 2000filmfan

    Care to elaborate, 2000milffan? Please don’t be shy.

  • David Stewart

    Does Mr Ritchie have a proven track record of making movies for closet-cases?

  • Leslie

    Guy Richie is all style and no substance. He relies heavily on technique but he can’t tell a story. So perhaps he is the right man for the job considering 300.

  • 2000filmfan


    Thanks you have the guts to stand behind a negative evaluation.

    If you are not 2000milffan thanks for filling in; though I don’t think anyone should hold you responsible for making nasty professional remarks about two well-known Directors. I assumed 2000milffan might have been brief because he was Tweeting and or was confused about the work of feature filmmakers. Some Fanboy’s don’t think filmmaking is an art and assume they have a right to excellent film making at all times. Again this may not be you, so lets move on.

    As you suggested: slick, dynamically composed and shot, I thought “300” was effectively grand. I thought “Watchmen” was an excellent adaptation for the Fanboy community but failed by many other standards of contemporary film; ultimately this film will probably end up being the greatest example of what-not-to-do when adapting a super hero subject matter. I don’t want to endorse Melrose’s assessment because I have not seen the “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” or “Sucker Punch” but the article does a summary job of describing other troubled evaluations of these films. I’m sorry Snyder won’t be working on Xerxes but he does have bigger Kryptonian fish to fry.

    In terms of Guy Ritchie, I believe you just have to ignore all of his work with Madonna; after all she was his wife, the mother of his children, and an entertainment giant in her own right. There’s little reason to believe he would be objective with “Star” or “Swept Away”, or anything involving her. Now that that’s out of the way, if you ever loved London Gangster films, I believe Ritchie was THE master of the genre. Other incredible attributes of the filmmaker; he’s an excellent non-linear story teller, is a stunning composer of ensemble casts, has an knack for delivering non-traditional content, directs diverse casts better than anyone except Spike Lee, and is slowly proving himself to be a fine director of period films as well. I think if you have seen “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”; “Snatch”; “Revolver”; “RocknRolla”; and “Sherlock Holmes” you may have seen some aspect of all of this. I can’t be more supportive; sorry you do not feel the same.

  • 2000filmfan

    Homophobia isn’t manly dude. Check your self before you wreck your self.

    If there is a Gay Anti-defamation league or NAACP maybe they should attend to your “Closet Cases” remark.

    Though I have no reason to, I’m going to assume you are straight. If you have the balls to build a marriage to one of the most powerful women in the world while making some of the most masculine films in recent entertainment history then it might be possible to consider you something more than a lunatic. Some how I doubt you have.

  • Drfate

    Ya more racist revisionist history!

  • 2000milffan

    Richie started out making some really good movies with Lock Stock and Snatch. But lately he has gone the way of the burned-out creators – with films like Swept Away, Revolver, and Sherlock Holmes. Films devoid of the originality and freshness of Snatch.

    Snyder on the other hand has made nothing but pretty moving pictures that are all action and no heart. Heck, he even managed to suck the originality out of one of the most original and fearless graphic novels in comics history. (although, I must admit, I am there for Snyder’s next film becasue anything with Vanessa Hudgins kicking ass is a win)

    In short, I’d like to see rich material like that created by Frank Miller in the hands of somebody who isn’t a popcorn-picture mass producer

  • 2000milffan

    @2000film – nice attempt at cyber-bullying dickless

    are you going to cry becasue I bit your user name also??

  • Saber Tooth Tiger Mike

    While Arabs have made important contributions to civilization, let’s not pretend there wasn’t an ideological difference between Western and Middle Eastern civilizations back then.

  • 2000filmfan

    Cyber bully who?

    What you parodied my name? Boo hoo hoo hoo
    Oh gross, you said I Iove mature women? Boo hooo hoo hooo

    If you had named yourself something like “I like filmmakers who can make films I can’t or don’t produce”, that would have been a surprise. Fanboy anger and attitude is kind of expected.

    Oh so you answered my question? I’ll check that out on down yonder page.

  • 2000filmfan

    Oh so you do have an opinion beyond all the gripes, cool.

    So you believe Ritchie’s missteps prove he shouldn’t be allowed near Miller’s work. Obviously you like Miller; I thought the second part of his Dark Knight sequel was really hard to read; Robin becomes Catgirl what was he saying about Dick Grayson; oops couldn’t tell? So no, I don’t agree with you that he’s a GOD. Yet, I have read the rest of his other work and I still to this day dream about RONIN. His movies… meh.

    O.k. doke, you don’t owe Ritchie anything. “Star” was funny. “Swept Away” was stupid. With filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, and Christopher Nolan around why bother giving Ritchie and Snyder a CBM shot? Sherlock Holmes must have broke sales records for most British directors that year, but that doesn’t faze you? All of these are valid opinions, yet obviously they really are not thinking about Ritchie anyway.

    Thanks. Next time providing more than snarky tweets would be worth the read.

  • David Stewart

    I am gay sir.
    I loathe Mr. miller for his homophobic slurs while at the same time making stories that are laughably seething in gay desire.
    The dude has obvious problems, I would say.
    And i giggled at your comment “some of the most masculine films . . .. ” That is the closet-case stuff of which I speak. Humorous but revealing that you fall right into it.

  • Lead_sharp

    I think someone at the top is pushing for Nolan, he’s pretty much been given the reins for the Superman/Batman and maybe more by WB thanks to the money generated by his Dark and pointy movies.

    So Nolan’s said, ‘Snyder knows action and style, give him Superman and we’ll steer him true.’ 

    If Supe’s sinks this time, there won’t be another Superman movie.