The hunt is over: Zack Snyder will direct Superman.
Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures's announcement Monday about the next Man of Steel film comes after weeks of talks with studio execs and producer Christopher Nolan. who reportedly met with a parade of short-listed candidates, including Darren Aronofsky, Ben Affleck and Tony Scott.
The next Superman film should prove crucial for the franchise, as DC and Warners entrust the project to Nolan, who is still riding his run of mega-success from "Batman Begins" to "The Dark Knight" to "Inception." (Also mightily entrusted: David Goyer, with his work on both the Batman and Superman big-screen stories for 2012, as well as Nolan's producer wife, Emma Thomas. .)
So, now that the 44-year-old Snyder has been tabbed (and has tweeted), here are Six Things We Can Very Safely Say About Snyder and the Next "Superman":
1. The film will be spectacularly stylish. The man who gave us the visually dazzling "300" and "Watchmen" should have the budget and backing to raise the special-effects bar even higher. By the beard of General Zod, at least we can count on the action.
2. The box office for "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" just got more interesting. After disappointing in its debut, Snyder's animated tale of militaristic owls just finished No.-2 in its second weekend of release by grossing nearly $11-million domestically. The thing may yet have legs, if not wings.
3. The run-up to Snyder's next film, "Sucker Punch," just got far more interesting -- as the tent will now grow to include curious lookyloos who otherwise might have passed on watching a young girl's riproaring alt-reality.
4. Snyder will aim to get the cape on set by next year. As Marvel unfurls various Avengers characters, DC Comics (having recently announced The Big Relocation) and Warner Bros. surely feel pressure to deliver their old-school Superman soon. Plus, the legal squabbles over copyright continue with the heirs of Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel.
5. The pressure for Snyder to shoot in 3-D is ginormous. The post-"Avatar" 3-D trend might well seem tired by the end of 2012. But right now, it still means roughly a 15-to-20-percent bump on the admission that theaters can get away with charging. So if a Nolan/Snyder "Superman" is going to rival Marvel's potential box office in the next two years -- let alone at least a couple of Nolan's most recent films -- Snyder likely has taken the golden handshake and agreed to shoot in 3-D.
6. Hollywood hype machines can now crank into full gear as Nolan/Snyder turn to casting their Man of Steel. Actors, agents and fansites will amp up their campaigns because -- well, Ryan Reynolds can't fill every supersuit in Hollywood. "Smallville" fans will cry "Tom Welling!" and "Mad Men" die-hards will continue to insist that Jon Hamm (who is in "Sucker Punch") is not too old. Amid the bluster and blather, it will be fun watching and waiting on "Snolan's" inspired choice.