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Zack Snyder to Direct ‘Superman’ for Warner Bros.

The studio has worked with the filmmaker before on “300,” “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Sucker Punch”

Zack Snyder is in negotiations to direct Superman for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, TheWrap has learned from individuals familiar with the project.

Snyder has a long-standing relationship with WB, which released his films "300," "Watchmen" and "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole." The latter recently flopped at the box office, where it has taken in only $30 million on a production budget of $80 million, not including costs for prints and advertising.

WB will release Snyder's "Sucker Punch" in March. It's another risky gamble on an original movie that doesn't have a built-in fanbase, but reaction to the trailer at Comic-Con was promising.

While I loved Snyder's adaptation of "Watchmen," I can't say I'm enthused about him taking over the "Superman" franchise, even with "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan overseeing the production.

Snyder is all about style over substance, and I think that's a big reason why Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" didn't work, causing the studio to reboot the franchise just four years later.

Despite grossing $391 million worldwide on a budget of $270 million, that film was deemed a disappointment because it failed to launch a franchise … or star Brandon Routh's movie career. Snyder told Variety that Routh's return is "not likely."

David S. Goyer is writing the script, based on a story by Goyer and Christopher Nolan, who will produce with Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder. Legendary's Thomas Tull will exec produce the project, which is being targeted for a holiday 2012 release.

Of course, casting is another reason why "Superman Returns" didn't work, and fortunately, Snyder has always had an eye for unlikely talent, which bodes well for the latest incarnation of "Superman."

The studio has to put in a new "Superman" movie into production by 2011, or else it risks losing certain copyrights to the heirs of the comic book character's creators, Joe Shuster and Jerry Seigel.

Deadline first reported that Snyder had won the coveted directing gig, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, the script is rumored to feature General Zod as a villain.