As soon as power-director Bryan Singer announced his intentions to leave the X-Men franchise in favor of helping the Man of Steel with his cinematic return, the movie world expected nothing short of a three film cycle. Singer combined with superheroes is pure gold, and the money he was given practically guaranteed a fantastic re-debut for the storied Supermanfranchise. He even brought with him his trusted and proven writers. The movie world could feel it -- this one was going to be big. Actors were already animatedly discussing their plans for the next film in the franchise. But then ... it didn't happen. For whatever reason, America did not embrace Superman Returns quite as heartily as everyone expected.

Now let's not get me wrong; there is still plenty of time for the Film of Steel. Batman Begins started out at a similar pace, after all. But like last winter's King Kong, the arguably good numbers are clearly a disappointment* for such a high budget and higher expectations flick. And TMZ is now reporting that Warner Brothers executives are now seriously less high on sequel potential. Word is, if the film doesn't beat 200 million domestically, there will be no second time for Singer's Superman. And even should it get there (which is still a very real possibility, mind you), Singer would rumoredly find his budget slashed quite a bit, down to the more "modest" *snort* 150 million dollars.

*Do remember, it is the after box office DVD sales where all the money is made these days, so there is still plenty of cash to be raked in from this film. It will turn a tidy profit for Warner Brothers, it just hasn't performed to the level they wanted.