Nolan-free 'Justice League' raises questions for Warner DC films

Christopher NolanSuperman (fictional character)Batman (fictional character)Ben FritzGreen Lantern (movie)The Walt Disney Co.The Dark Knight Rises (movie)

Warner Bros. will need a new hero to invigorate its DC Comics brand on the big screen, now that director Christopher Nolan’s successful Batman trilogy comes to an end with next week's "The Dark Knight Rises."

Home to such superheroes as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, DC has struggled to find the same success on the big screen as its Walt Disney Co.-owned rival Marvel Entertainment — despite having a better known collection of characters.

Nolan's Batman movies have been its only hits of the past decade, surrounded by modest flops such as 2006's "Superman Returns" and 2009's "Watchmen" and such major money-losers as 2010's "Jonah Hex" and last year's "Green Lantern."

As a result, top Warner executives had hoped that Nolan, who is producing next summer’s Superman reboot "Man of Steel," would agree to serve the same role on the studio's "Justice League," which may hit theaters in 2015.

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-- Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times

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