Supermania has arrived, and it's good news for comic book fans. The phenomenal opening-weekend success of "X-Men" undoubtedly means that lots more superhero movies are on the way.
With that in mind, Hollywood.com has compiled a list of some of the most talked-about comic book movies on the horizon, and their current production status:
"Spider-Man" According to recent trade reports, Columbia Pictures is expected to announce within a few weeks the name of the actor who'll play the red-and-blue-suited wall-walker from the classic Marvel comic book. Director Sam Raimi plans to finish this one in time for a fall 2001 release.
"Superman Reborn" Word on the street has it that Warner Bros. is close to reviving this project, which has been on and off again over the past several years and has already gone through one director (Tim Burton) and several screenwriters. Warners is said to be pleased with the new screenplay by Bill Wisher, and the candidate for Most Unlikely to Direct is ... Oliver Stone. The Hollywood Reporter printed a story earlier this year saying Stone is the No. 1 candidate for the job, and the studio wants to take a nontraditional approach to America's most traditional superhero, "sans the tights and more 'Matrix'-like."
"Daredevil" According to a report in Daily Variety this week, Mark Steven Johnson ( "Simon Birch", "Grumpy Old Men) will probably write and direct this Marvel Comics-based story of a blind criminal defense attorney who dresses up like a demon by night and stalks the city for criminals using his radar-like, radioactivity-enhanced senses to detect danger and evildoers. The movie will be distributed by Fox, the same studio that did "X-Men."
"Captain America" A low-budget film about this Nazi-fighting superhero starring Matt Salinger was released a while back but now Marvel Comics wants to do a blockbuster version. And the man they want to play Cap is none other than Tom Cruise. Avi Avrad, the head honcho at the comics publisher, recently told Cinescape Online, "First, we have to do the script, and then we will send it to him. ... We don't want to go with an unknown. Captain America is too visible a character. It's definitely going to be someone high profile."
But wait, there's more: Other popular titles that have been optioned, and are wallowing in various stages of development hell, include "Iron Man," the story of a billionaire inventor whose red-and-gold metallic suit not only gives him superpowers but also keeps his damaged heart ticking; there is talk at Warners about making "Batman 5," and "Pi" director Darren Aronofsky was recently rumored to be a candidate for the job; and there have been rumblings about movie versions of "The Incredible Hulk," "Doctor Strange" and "Silver Surfer, to name but a few.