Vulture is running a story saying that Guy Ritchie has been offered the director’s chair for Xerxes, the sequel to 300. But they go on to make some other claims that sound… weird to me.
According to the site Zack Snyder has suddenly come out of the running for two reasons: one, Superman is troubled and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get it in shape to film in time to be released before a legal deadline where Warner Bros loses the rights to the character. Two, test screenings of Sucker Punch have gone poorly, and WB is thinking twice about bringing Zack back.
Let’s start with 2: test screenings for Sucker Punch have been going poorly for some time. Like, before Snyder got offered Superman. So if poor reactions to Sucker Punch - a weird movie that could very well alienate recruited middle of the road test audiences - didn’t stop WB from giving Snyder their biggest, most important post-Batman, post-Potter tentpole, why would it suddenly impact him directing his own script of a sequel to his own movie?
As for the Superman stuff: yeah, everybody has heard the script is troubled. Superman’s a tough nut to crack, and this iteration seems to be no different. But here’s the thing - Warner Bros is facing a deadline with this film, so bad third act or no, they’re making it on the deadline. The same deadline they were always facing. How is this suddenly news to them when it comes to scheduling Xerxes?
On top of that, Miller’s Xerxes comic, upon which this will be based, isn’t even scheduled for release yet. I have a hard time believing that Snyder, who has been fairly slavish to adaptation material in the past, would decide to just do a Matthew Vaughn and adapt an unfinished comic. Maybe THAT’S why WB supposedly wants Ritchie to direct, because he might?
Either way, none of Vulture’s insider opinions seem to make sense from where I’m sitting and what I know. Warner Bros loves being in the Zack Snyder business, and once Sucker Punch is done I guarantee he plays nice with the studio and delivers the blockbusters they want. The studio has known since last year that Sucker Punch was going to be a hard sell at best, another Watchmen at worst. And the schedule on Superman has more or less always been the schedule on Superman, with the film shooting later this year.
So yeah, maybe somebody else ends up directing Xerxes, but I don’t think it’ll be for any of the listed reasons.