Man of Steel, Dark Knight Producers Appear Set to Partner With Universal

PACIFIC RIM

In what could be a boon to Dark Horse Comics properties, Legendary Pictures--who helped underwrite the successful reboots of Batman and Superman over the last decade in film--will likely finalize a partnership with NBC Universal this week, according to Deadline.

That could make for an awkward Warner/Legendary panel at Comic-Con, and possibly explain if Warners announced a Man of Steel sequel at a separate, Superman-centric panel instead of Legendary's. While Legendary is still in business with Warner on films like Pacific Rim and Godzilla, our understanding is that they'll be cut out of future Superman films since their deal with Warner was for a set number of films and didn't specifically require the two studios to work together on sequels to those films.Pacific Rim will come with Legendary when they leave, though, so they've got a little bit of intellectual property to go along with a lot of cash, which is what makes them such an appealing partner to a number of studios.

Rumor has had it that Universal was the frontrunner all along, but that Lionsgate, the studio behind things like The Hunger Games and RED, were also in the running along with Fox and Sony (neither of whom ever seemed to be truly in the mix, btu they did both take meetings).

Last week, rumors emerged that Legendary founder Thomas Tull had expressed interest in Hellboy 3, but then quickly quashed those reports, noting that Legendary was hardly in a position to do anything with a franchise that it didn't own the rights to. Universal currently holds the rights, as well as those to another Dark Horse property headed to the screen, R.I.P.D.  Take that for what it's worth.

Universal has a number of expensive franchises that it could bring Legendary in to help co-finance, including the Fast & Furious movies, the Jason Bourne series and a sequel to their expensive Snow White and the Huntsman coming up soon.