Poor Bryan Singer. It seems like every time he goes off to work on one project, he misses the boat on one he really wanted to work on. Maybe he needs a better manager. Ten years ago, he really wanted to direct X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, but then a dream gig presented itself, and he went off to do SUPERMAN RETURNS. He told Fox that if they could just wait a bit, he’d definitely come back for that film. SR ended up being a bit of a sore spot for his career and Fox, in the meantime, made X-MEN: THE LAST STAND without him- a move they, too, would regret.
Then there was a remake of LOGAN’S RUN that Singer had been talking about for years upon years. Somehow or other, that movie is getting made…without him.
This brings us to 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. He’s been talking up the film for some time now, and he cites it as not only his next film, but a welcome breather from the X-MEN universe. He’s painted a picture of the film being a passion project, and one that he can’t wait to tackle now that he’s no longer contracted to direct another mutant flick (though he plans to make more of those eventually, too).
So Singer is all set up to go into production for 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA this fall. Good for him, right? Wrong. Deadline is reporting that a rival production, also based on the Jules Verne novel, is going to start filming at the exact same time!
What’s unique about this rival is that it won’t compete with Singer’s stateside. While it’s being directed by Christophe Gans (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, SILENT HILL), this other 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA is going to be a Chinese production. The reason this is problematic for Singer and 20th Century Fox is that China has become a huge player when it comes to the international market. If their big budget version of 20,000 LEAGUES comes out around the same time, it would cannibalize a bunch of the business that Singer’s movie would’ve made out there.
Let’s not forget, China practically singlehandedly saved WARCRAFT earlier this year, because of its audience’s love of big event films with lots of special effects. If they give Singer’s 20,000 LEAGUES the cold shoulder, that could be a big problem. It would mean that the film would really have to hit in the United States, and Singer- for better or worse- has had a hit or miss relationship with domestic audiences.
It’s a very unique and interesting situation, now that China has become such a huge player. As they begin to expand their own movie industry, what’s going to happen when their productions start to regularly rival the ones that Hollywood is trying to sell to Chinese audiences?
What do you make of all this? Are you excited to see a Bryan Singer-directed 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA?