Source: The Los Angeles Times
Bryan Singer's return to X-Men may be a bigger deal for the director than previously thought: new rumblings suggest that Donner may be courting him for for not one, not two, but as many as three X-Men projects currently in the pipeline.
Near the end of a Los Angeles Times interview with the director and series producer Lauren Shuler Donner are the following paragraphs:
Shuler Donner also has pitched Singer on doing a fourth installment of the previously established "X-Men" franchise and Jackman had that lunch with Singer to coax him into a project as well, which may or may not be a "Wolverine" film, which Jackman has said will be set in Japan and released in 2011. "I wish I could be four people," the director said with a moan. "I could make everybody happy."
Singer turned to Shuler Donner and said of "X-Men 4": "Hold that one off for just a little, I'm fixated on the other one right now." She nodded and answered, "I will, I will ... I'm holding it open with high hopes. It's totally different [from 'First Class'] and it will be so interesting for you."
Singer notoriously left the franchise in order to direct Superman Returns, while director Brett Ratner took over for Singer on X-Men: The Last Stand. Bizarrely, while both films were at least modestly financially successful (Returns made back its money, all told, grossing almost $400 million worldwide against a $270 million budget, and X3 was the most financially successful of the trilogy, pulling in $234.3 million domestically), neither seemed to please the fans of the respective franchises. Following Returns, Singer made the Tom Cruise World War II thriller Valkyrie, which was only modestly successful here ($83 million), but a hit overseas ($117.1 million), despite several delays.
There is currently no date set for X-Men: First Class, although Singer is currently committed to a Jack and the Beanstalk movie for Fox. To date, the franchise (including last year's X-Men Origins: Wolverine) has grossed $786.4 million in the US.