If you've been hoping that Warners would try and rush a Superman movie ahead of their 2012 deadline for the character rights, then you're out of luck. A new report suggests that Warners aims to keep the franchise on ice.

Anne Thompson writes that, despite the perceived need to get a new Superman movie in production before 2011 in order to avoid paying penalty to the heirs of the character's creators, Warners are planning to stay quiet on the Superman front for the simple reason that they don't know what else to do:

As the studio is waiting to resolve the legal dispute, there's no movement on the project. [Superman Returns] grossed $391 million worldwide off strong reviews for a genre sequel. But it cost more than $232 million. Warners felt it could have performed better with more action and a powerful villain-and no Superman kid. So Singer was taken off the franchise... [Warner Bros. execs] want to start over from scratch. While Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar did pitch himself (to scant interest), WB in-house faves the Wachowski brothers and their protege James McTeigue were never approached. (It's hard to imagine such hard-R types taking on what one blogger described as the "Big Blue Boy Scout.") The studio is still seeking the right direction. No writers are working on a Superman script. "We're working on a strategy for DC," says one Warners exec. "Superman is the trickiest one to figure out."

Considering Warners have three of DC's most popular comic writers consulting for the studio on DC-related projects (including Grant Morrison, who wrote the critically-acclaimed, award winning All Star Superman), the idea that the studio can't come up with a direction for the character is kind of mind-boggling, and perhaps points to a reason why Marvel Studios needn't worry about the competition just yet.

Superman Franchise On Hold [Thompson on Hollywood]