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How DC's Red wound up at Summit and what it means for future DC films

10.14.2010

According to early projections, Summit Pictures' RED will open to between $20-$25 million this weekend. While that's probably not enough for first place (JACKASS 3D is tracking around $30 million), it's a lot more than most people thought of the film. Not many people had faith in the film and that's how RED wound up being the first DC film to be released outside of Warner Bros.

It may seem shocking to see the DC logo attached to a film that isn't released by Warner Bros. but as it turns out, WB had plenty of chances to own the film. The project had been in development at the studio for about a year or two after the graphic novel was published in 2003. Executives at the studio, who were still trying to get a handle on some of the larger franchises in the DC universe, didn't see enough potential in the film and eventually passed on the film. DC executive Gregory Noveck still saw potential and wanted permission to shop the project elsewhere. But before being able to do that, every division of Warner Bros. - TV, interactive, home entertainment, etc. - had to pass on the project.

As you might expect, this took years and years but in 2008, Noveck was finally given free reign to shop the project. Noveck brought in writers Erich and Jon Hoeber and they went around to DreamWorks, Universal, Sony and, yes, Warner Bros. pitching their vision. Everyone passed except Summit, who at the time hadn't even released TWILIGHT and was still struggling to find quality material.

The script was delivered and Summit loved. They got Robert Schwentke attached to direct with Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman set to star. But Summit wasn't exactly rolling in Edward, Jacob and Bella cash yet and once again Warner Bros. was offered a part in the project and once again they passed.

So now with the film bringing in solid reviews from critics and strong interest from audiences, Warner Bros. could be left with egg on their face. Whether RED is successful or not, you can almost guarantee that it'll be the last DC project that escapes Warner Bros. Sadly, the studio still isn't looking to develop any of those lesser DC properties into film (they're too busy with building up to a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie and JONAH HEX bombing all but destroyed that notion), they'll just keep them locked up in development hell so no one else can profit from their material.

Extra Tidbit: This isn't the first time Summit snatched a profitable franchise from a major studio. TWILIGHT was originally set up at Disney, who passed on the project.
Source: THR

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