The Superman picture comes at a crucial time for the studio. With the completion of the "Dark Knight" trilogy last year, Warner Bros. needs a new superhero franchise.
In the near term, Warner Bros. could also use a blockbuster. "Man of Steel," which was directed by Zack Snyder and co-produced by "Dark Knight" filmmaker Christopher Nolan, is opening Friday on the heels of the studio's somewhat disappointing "The Hangover Part III." And with the riskier sci-fi spectacle "Pacific Rim" slated to open in July, a strong showing for "Man of Steel" would ease pressure on Warner Bros. for the rest of the summer.
In the long term, the studio is hoping to bank on Superman as its new superhero centerpiece for several summers to come — the same goal it had for its 2006 "Superman Returns," which failed to deliver.