Brett Ratner has signed on to direct the new live action feature film version of Superman for Warner Bros Pictures, the studio announced yesterday. The new version, long in gestation with McG, Tim Burton attached to direct at various times, comes 25 years after Richard Donner's blockbuster version Superman - The Movie which spawned three sequels, also at Warner.

Superman will be made before the other superhero film in development at Warner Bros Batman Vs Superman, which is on hold after director Wolfgang Petersen chose to go ahead with historical epic Troy instead.

Ratner's film version of the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon opens in North America through Universal on Oct 4 with a star-studded cast including Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, Edward Norton, Emily Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film has been receiving positive buzz from critics who have already seen it.

Ratner's other credits include the two Rush Hour movies which between them have taken over $0.5bn at the world's box office and The Family Man starring Nicolas Cage.

The new Superman movie has been written by JJ Abrams, author of Armageddon and executive producer of the hit US TV series Alias starring Jennifer Garner. It is being produced by the legendary Jon Peters, no stranger to big budget movies with Batman and Wild Wild West for Warner as well as Ali for Columbia/IEG under his belt.

"JJ Abrams and Jon Peters were given the daunting task of re-imagining the Superman epic and JJ met the challenge, delivering a terrific script with emotion, depth and scale that bring new dimension to this legendary character," said Warner Bros Pictures' president of domestic production Jeff Robinov in a statement. "We couldn't be more pleased to entrust the next chapter in the Superman mythology to Brett Ratner, a dynamic director whose skillful blend of action, comedy and drama has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide."

Superman joins other movie franchise properties at Warner Bros including Harry Potter, The Terminator and The Matrix.