Variety is reporting that Superman Returns writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris have decided to walk away from a guaranteed gig--crafting a screenplay for a Superman sequel that will be directed by Bryan Singer--in favor of pursuing solo projects. Although industry rumors have Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures completely re-fashioning the Superman film franchise in much the same way that Marvel is making over the Hulk after the failure of Ang Lee's Hulk film, Warners is maintaining that, in spite of the less than spectacular box office performance of the hugely expensive Superman Returns ($200 million domestic, $191 million overseas), the new Superman film will be a true sequel with Brendan Routh reprising his role as the Man of Steel. Studio sources did tell Variety that the new Superman film will be both cheaper to produce and more action-packed than Superman Returns (as Singer promised fans at Comic-Con).
Both Dougherty and Harris are involved in projects that they are directing as well as writing, and seem more interested in flying solo than in re-teaming with Bryan Singer with whom they wrote both X2: X-Men United and Superman Returns. Dougherty has just wrapped up work on his first directing project, Trick 'R Treat, while Harris is writing and directing an adaptation of Glenn Duncan's novel I, Lucifer with Daniel Craig set to star in the lead role.