Is Zack Snyder's Superman in trouble?

Why isn't Zack Snyder directing the sequel to his epically popular movie 300? Rumor has it his next two features are a bit of a disaster, including the massive tent-pole production Superman.

Vulture is reporting that Warner Bros. had offered 300 sequel Xerxes, based off the Frank Miller graphic novel, to Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie. Great for Ritchie, terrible news for original movie developer Zack Snyder.

So why did Snyder get forced out of Xerxes? The New York Magazine blog has two theories. One, that the third act from Snyder's new tent-pole super hero picture, Superman is a complete mess, and the WB is forcing the director to focus all his attention onto his struggling superhero feature.

Warner Bros. needs Snyder to bear down on Superman stat: Insiders say the closely-guarded script for Superman [written by David Goyer and Christopher Nolan] suffers from major third-act problems, and the studio faces a ticking clock on that franchise, legally speaking; if a Superman film isn't in production by 2013, Warner Bros. loses the rights to the entire Superman franchise and would have to re-license it from its original creators - the estates of Detective Comics writers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster - at great if not prohibitive expense.

There have been rumors of problems with the Superman reboot's script for ages — reportedly, the main reason that Darren Aronofsky isn't directing is because Warner Bros. was worried that he would spend so much time trying to fix the flawed script that the movie would miss its production deadline.

The second theory is also more bad news, that Sucker Punch is a CG disaster.

At a recent Warner Bros.-conducted audience research screening of Snyder's Sucker Punch, the film tested poorly. Says one insider familiar with it, 'It was bad; like, really bad. They're [WB] really not happy with it over there.

We've always known that Sucker Punch was going to be a bit of a hard sell to audiences. The movie's trailer plays out more like Hieronymus Bosch painting than a studio blockbuster (which is one of the reasons we're rooting for it). Still, neither of these rumors are good signs for Snyder's next two productions.