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Superman V: The Sordid Story 396

ThePuceGuardian writes "With Superman Returning from development hell next summer, perhaps Slashdot's readership would appreciate this summary of the 10+ years spent in development, and the sequel that never quite was. Years of stupidity and outright seething contempt for the fans who were expected to shell out for the franchise are detailed, from the Kevin Smith era, through Tim Burton and including 'McG's short but not short enough association with the project. The summary ends in mid-2004, which is about a decade after the whole sordid affair should have been capped off, and right before the current production started up.I just have to include this quote: "Michael Bay was offered to direct the film again, but he felt the script violated the essence of Superman and refused the offer." WhenMichael Bay declines your project for reasons of artistic integrity, I think it's time to consider a new line of work.."
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Superman V: The Sordid Story

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  • How old? (Score:4, Funny)

    by sqeaky ( 874667 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:42AM (#14128171) Homepage
    If superman returns he had better do it with a crutch and dentures. He should also be the strongest guy at his retirement home :)
  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3CRanch ( 804861 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:43AM (#14128180)
    I think it's time to consider a new line of work..

    And yet it'll be sure to bring in wads of $. I honestly don't believe that most movie goers give a rats nut about artistic anything. Just give them lots of flash, explosions, and the occasional breast and all is good.

    All the lack of artistic interpretation will guarantee is that it'll not win an Oscar...
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Voltageaav ( 798022 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:46AM (#14128199) Homepage
      I have no idea what you're talkin...Hey, look! Shiney!!!!
    • "lots of flash, explosions, and the occasional breast"

      I believe you just described Michael Bay's entire career, hence why it's so scary that he turned this project done.
    • Agreed. Movie producers will get a new job when their current one stops reeling in the dough. And not one minute before.
    • Re:So? (Score:4, Informative)

      by gordo3000 ( 785698 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:53AM (#14128248)
      because we can all agree that the top grossing films [] ever had absolutely no artisitc value? note, that link goes to inflation adjusted box office numbers. Looking at it the other way, while not a level playing field, would have me agreeing with you.
      • Re:So? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 )
        Try sorting by the domesting box office returns... not the 'adjusted' ones.

        It's not pretty. Moviegoers are, by and large, dumb.

        (the world box office returns aren't much better, but at least LOTR gets second...).
        • The GP already explained that. But not adjusting for inflation is bogus -- ticket prices have gone up over the years.

          It's still not a fully accurate view -- what you really want to know is how many people saw a movie, not how many dollars/franks/euros/lira/etc. were spent on it. Although even then there would need to be some adjustment for time span (the longer a movie has been out, the more people are likely to see it; conversely, the more recent movies have a far, far larger audience to play to).

          Given all
        • Re:So? (Score:3, Informative)

          dude, you're totally right.

          Hollywood understands its audience very well.

          I work in the industry, and the quandary they face is an interesting one. Smarter people shout the loudest, complaining on the grid about what they like and don't like, but their dollars aren't as compelling. The critical maqss audience is pavlovian - market a blockbuster in a familiar way with the familiar effects, etc... and that audience is there.

          Do they listen to the geeks who speak with their high speed internet connections? Or to
      • Top films, ROI (Score:3, Interesting)

        by The Fun Guy ( 21791 )
        A lot of the films which grossed big bucks were also very expensive to make. A better scale is return on investment. The top 20 films, based on (box office)/(budget) are:

        Film ROI-Dom ROI-World
        Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 185 185
        The Rocky Horror Picture Show 134 134
        Rocky 117 117
        American Graffiti 115 115
        Gone With the Wind 66 130
        My Big Fat Greek Wedding 48 71
        Star Wars 42 73
        One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 37 37
        Grease 30 63
        The Sting 27 27
    • Is that the script is excellent and Bay is so clueless that he passed on a great possibility.

      Just trying to remain positive...
    • Re:So? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dnoyeb ( 547705 )
      I saw something on TV the other day. An ad. it was for some Superman something.

      They had him flying with the Sun rising behind him. Then they had his dad sending 'his only son' to Earth because Earth needed him. I had to do a double take to see if I was watching Comedy Central.
    • All the lack of artistic interpretation will guarantee is that it'll not win an Oscar...

      Your faith in the Acadamy is touching. Misguided, but touching.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Funny)

      by phlegmofdiscontent ( 459470 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:58AM (#14128791)
      Hey, I don't know about you, but I'm a discerning moviegoer. I demand more than the "occasional" breast.
    • Re:So? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Genoxide ( 633645 )
      On second thought.. Forget the flashy stuff.. And the explosions ;)
  • by prsce96 ( 815315 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:43AM (#14128181)
    Did the script use Kryptonite for that?
  • by TPJ-Basin ( 763596 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:47AM (#14128209) Homepage
    Yeah, if the director of Armageddon says, "this is just too goofy", then it's time to shelve the whole thing.
  • Superman V? (Score:5, Funny)

    by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:48AM (#14128215)
    Superman V? But there was never a Superman IV. I saw a movie once called Supermaniv that looked like a Superman film at first, but it obviously was not a Superman movie.
    • Superman V? But there was never a Superman IV.

      There was. It was so crappy, you probably thought it wasn't a superman movie.
      Anyway, the new movie will be a sequel for Superman 2.
    • Re:Superman V? (Score:2, Interesting)

      Am I the only one that remembers Superman IV the Quest for Peace, where Superman threw the nukes into the sun and out came the Sun man?
      • Re:Superman V? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 91degrees ( 207121 )
        I think some people found it such a traumatically bad film that they repressed the memory.
      • by ValuJet ( 587148 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @11:00AM (#14128812)
        I hate to break it to you, but that movie was never made.

        Yes you may have some sort of recollection of a something like this but get this. It didn't happen. You may be able to provide a link to IMDB or even a link to a torrent of the movie and all I have to say to that type of information is LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALAALALA
  • Michael Bay (Score:5, Informative)

    by Life700MB ( 930032 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:50AM (#14128227)

    When Michael Bay declines your project for reasons of artistic integrity

    What's the problem with Michael Bay? Let me see [].

    # Armageddon (1998)
    # Pearl Harbor (2001)
    # Bad Boys II (2003)
    # The Island (2005)

    Oh, now I understand...
    Superb hosting [] 2400MB Storage, 120GB bandwidth, ssh, $7.95
  • what it took to get here as long as it get's back to what Superman is about. I just want to see a good retelling of the story. No camp please.
    • Re:I don't care... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:58AM (#14128289)
      I just want to see a good retelling of the story. No camp please.

      You're kidding, right? Superman is, in the end, a big goofy boy-scout in blue tights. He's not a sophisticated urban socialite with a dark secret like Bruce Wayne; he's an all-American country boy who does what's right, by golly! You can't get away from the silliness by going nasty and gothic, like you can with the Gotham crowd; Superman will always be a bit camp.

      As for a retelling of the story: which story? Superman has been in thousands of stories. Personally, I was never too keen on Superman solo; he worked best for me in the context of the Justice League, where the permanent tension between him and Batman made things a lot more interesting. I'd like to see a film of The Dark Knight Returns, which really gets to the heart of what both Superman and Batman are really all about...

      • Re:I don't care... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tawsenior ( 910269 )
        Sometimes people get a little carried away in analizing what other people are trying to say. I put out a simple post and away you go. I personally like all of the variations of the Superman story from the original comic up to and including Smallville. It's the journey that Clark Kent/Kal El must make to become Superman that is the backbone of the story. Nature vs. nurture. In many of the modern retellings, Krypton is less than an ideal place or society. Clark must constantly battle his genetic nature with
        • Re:I don't care... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by DoctorFrog ( 556179 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:55AM (#14128764)
          I personally like all of the variations of the Superman story from the original comic up to and including Smallville.

          My absolute favorite variation is Kim Stanley Robinson's short story "Ubermensch!", in which a slight variation in timing causes Kal-El's lifeboat to land on a farm near Kleinberg in Germany, instead of Smallville in America. (keep in mind when 'Superman' first appeared.)

          If you haven't read it, look it up - it's not just a gimmick, the story has depth.

          • Re:I don't care... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Vinnie_333 ( 575483 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @11:01AM (#14128825)
            BTW, the author of "Ubermensch!" wasn't Kim Stanley Robinson, it was Kim Newman [].
          • Re:I don't care... (Score:3, Interesting)

            by meringuoid ( 568297 )
            My absolute favorite variation is Kim Stanley Robinson's short story "Ubermensch!", in which a slight variation in timing causes Kal-El's lifeboat to land on a farm near Kleinberg in Germany, instead of Smallville in America. (keep in mind when 'Superman' first appeared.)

            A similar idea was used in Red Son - in which Kal-El landed in the Ukraine. Superman fought for truth, justice, and the workers' revolution! Wonderful idea, fabulous Soviet propaganda-style artwork of Superman as the ideal Stakhanovite...

      • Re:I don't care... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by flyinwhitey ( 928430 )
        I was discussing this with a friend recently.

        Superman's best stories, to me, have always been the "end of the universe, so let's call Superman" type. That is, Superman is such a powerhouse, that it takes an exceptional situation to bring out his best.

        If you need Superman, it means that everyone else failed to get the job done.

        Give me that story (death of Superman for example) and you'll get my money. What I absolutely DO NOT want is another "evil bald guy outsmarts Superman" story, mostly because the idea
      • Ummmm, you gotta problem with All-American country boys who do what's right, nance?

        Obligatory bashing of anti-red-state-biases aside, the most interesting themes in the Superman canon have to do with nature vs. nurture. Superman could be GENERAL KAL-EL (as in "KNEEL BEFORE..."), he's got the super powers and all -- but he uses them for good. Why? Because it was the way he was raised. Lex Luthor, all-natural, Earth-grown, smartest guy in the room, driven to be The Best, like some Ayn Randian proto-protag
        • And who's a better role model for Earthlings, a self-made small-s superman with a more, shall we say, subjective perspective of morality, or a space alien with magical powers rocketed to earth from a dying planet whom we can never strive to be like, but who has an unwavering code of Judeao-Christian honor and corn-fed American Way ideals?

          Uh, that's a rhetorical question, right? You're not implying that we should never aim for something we can never be like simply because it's unattainable, right? (not tha

      • Re:I don't care... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hal2814 ( 725639 )
        Leave it to a Batman fanboy* to do his best to belittle Superman. Don't forget that Batman spends just as much time gallavanting around in blue tights (or black depending on DC's mood at the time). If movie producers can make a good story out of man whose parents are killed as a child so he decides to dress like a bat and run around at night as a vigilante, then surely they can sqeak out something decent about an alien who grows up on earth and decides to use the advantages he has over others to fight cri
        • Re:I don't care... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @11:18AM (#14129026)
          You get the label as a Batman fanboy because of how often you mention Batman. You mention that you like Superman better in the Justice League but then only because of his contrast to Batman. And then in the discussion of a Superman movie you mention you would most like to see a Batman movie

          Sure, I like Batman. I don't deny that Batman camps it up too - I mean, some days you just can't get rid of a bomb - but he has the alternative available. You can have the Caped Crusader, camp as you like, or the Dark Knight posing all gothic on a moonlit rooftop. But that aside, if critically discussing Superman as a superhero, Batman is the most obvious subject to examine along with him. He's the alternative model of the hero: the avenger, not the protector. The billionaire, not the farm boy. Batman has to work hard to be a hero; Superman would have to work hard not to.

          I think the two of them go well together. The idealist and the cynic. Light and dark. Paladin and rogue. Sure, they're both heroes, but they could so easily be at each other's throats. Opposites in every way except the one that counts. Each is weakened when the other isn't around - Batman less so, I think, because he's got the best villains, but that might just be me.

          That said, if I could see a film made of any superhero of all, I think the world's ready for J'onn. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen the guy outside the comics. Martian Manhunter, your time has come!

          • Re:I don't care... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hal2814 ( 725639 )
            I didn't intend the fanboy explanation to be condescending or anything. I just wanted to be clear on why I labeled you as such.

            Personally, I think that Superman works just as hard at being a hero as Batman. Superman can do pretty much what he pleases. It has to be tempting to toss morality to the wind and just worry about himself. The biggest problem with Superman is the best comic book stories play on the hero's weaknesses. Superman just doesn't have that many weaknesses.
  • IMDB info (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:53AM (#14128249)
    IMDB info about this movie can be found here [].

    Top 3 billing:

    Kevin Spacey .... Lex Luthor
    Brandon Routh .... Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman
    Kate Bosworth .... Lois Lane

    Posted anonymously 'cause I don't need the karma.

  • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:56AM (#14128274) Journal
    While I can't read the story because the server is currently in flames, the plot summary does sound a bit interesting. I like the idea of a world where superman, isn't needed. Having said that, he'll be needed by the end of the film. And couldn't they have gotten the same actors to reprise their roles? Except Christopher Reed of course, what with him being bound to a wheelchair before dying. In fact, the only one who IS reprising his role is Marlon Brando. And he's been dead for a year now. Now THERE'S dedication to his role.
    • I'm not too sure... from IMDB:

      After a long visit to the planet Kypton, the Man Of Steel returns to earth to become the peoples savior once again and reclaim the love of Lois Lane. instead of...

      ...based on D.C. Comics' 1993 series in which Superman was killed by a creature named Doomsday and then brought back to life more powerful than before.

      Now you could argue that a 2 - 3 hour movie couldn't do the Doomsday/World Without a Superman/All the Fake Supermen/Return of Superman plot that took up count
      • Ok, a question from a non-Superman follower...

        How the hell does he return to Krypton?! Wasn't the whole planet going kablooie the whole point of him ending up on Earth in the first place?! Isn't that where Kryptonite comes from (as in, peices of Krypton)?

        Like I said, I'm not actually a follower of the Superman storylines, but that's one hell of a retcon!
      • Just had a scary vision of multiple Superman movies all being released at once, one for every "Fake Superman" just like the comics did. Some of the movie could be duplicated I guess "Doomsday/All the Fake Supermen" and "Return of Superman"

        Scary? Or better? It would at least be a new use for filming multiple movies at the same time.
    • Christopher Reed? Surely you don't mean 'Pete' from this movie: []

      And of course Supe will be needed at the end of the film. It is, after all, a story about him.

      And I'm not so sure you'd want all the original actors back -- Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) has been through some rough times... "dirty, frightened, and paranoid" according to police: htm []

      If the name of the URL doesn't tip you off, well, you'd better call the
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @09:59AM (#14128302) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, IMHO the first was the best of a pretty sorry lot. I don't recall two and three even showing up in theaters. I think I must have caught them on some second rate cable movie channel. I vaguely recall three being so bad that it made me walk out of the living room. And... I guess there was a four at some point?

    I mean look, the whole concept of Superman is fatally flawed to begin with. He's pretty much indestructable, so having him fight regular criminals makes for a pretty boring movie. So before you're even out the door you're having to invent increasingly powerful villians for him to do battle with. Problem is, once you're that powerful, why be a villian anyway? You can already do whatever you want. Anyone worth Superman's effort to be fighting should be busy running for Congress anyway. Everyone knows that's where you go if you want to be able to do some real damage...

    • Anyone worth Superman's effort to be fighting should be busy running for Congress anyway. Everyone knows that's where you go if you want to be able to do some real damage...

      Which is why Lex Luthor is president now.

      You're right about Superman being overpowered, though. The series tends to suffer from occasional bouts of Dragonballitis. Oh, here comes yet another insanely powerful enemy...

    • You don't recall II??? Possibly the greatest super hero movie ever made IMHO. Suyperman vs. the Super Villans. KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!
      • Zod is great, and I can't shake childhood memories of how awesome the second one was, but I actually watched it recently and was surprised how bad it was. Technically, the first is far superior.

        • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @11:33AM (#14129194) Homepage
          Zod is great, and I can't shake childhood memories of how awesome the second one was, but I actually watched it recently and was surprised how bad it was. Technically, the first is far superior.

          Dear god you can't be serious! The FIRST one? The one that ended with Superman turning back time, possibly the most face-slappingly egregious use of deus ex machina since ancient greece? Or how about that jaw-droppingly bad "thought poem" by Lois Lane we're subjected to when Superman takes her flying? The first movie was embarassingly bad.

      • Kneel! (Score:3, Informative)

        by dduck ( 10970 )
        KNEEL! []
    • Anyone worth Superman's effort to be fighting should be busy running for Congress anyway. Everyone knows that's where you go if you want to be able to do some real damage...

      Ironically, the book Gladiator on which Superman was most likely based (written in 1930 by Philip Wylie) featured a "superman" archetype going to congress and trying to strongarm them into disarming. Kind of a naive, idealistic view for 1930...

      I don't recall two and three even showing up in theaters.

      Superman II grossed over 100 mi

    • Power is not just about brute force.

      If you had a bad guy who could control Superman's mind, that'll be interesting. Of course the bad guy wouldn't be so stupid as to do that at the start.

      Think of someone like Professor Xavier in X-Men, but just gone bad. You'd become very powerful politically and financially fairly quickly. If you're smart enough you would hide the fact that you have psionic powers.

      But then again, from the movies Superman arguably has psionic powers - after all he wiped Lois Lane's memory o
    • "He's pretty much indestructable, so having him fight regular criminals makes for a pretty boring movie"

      I agree. The one remaining problem for him was that he couldn't do several things at once, so he had to make a decision whether to save the world or his girlfriend. Sadly, the makers of Superman I ruined even this problem by making him capable of turning back time.

      There is only so many times you can see him struggle as someone tricks him to expose himself to kryptonite.

    • That's a really interesting point. In fact I was just considering this the other day while watching the Gilmore Girls (stop laughing). There was a commercial for Smallville, which I have never watched. In this commercial they show a ~17 year old Superman who seems to have all his powers (super speed, strength, xray vision, impervious to bullets, etc) and some girlfriend who is kidknapped by an evil villian. Ok, so how exactly do you stop Superman from thwarting your crimes? Either you have to be, as you say
      • Actually, I think Smallville is in it's 5th season.

        And they have done a pretty darn good job actually. They have several villain type situations:

        a) Superman encounters regular criminal mob often jeopardizing his friends. He is also trying to keep his powers underwraps and out of observation.

        b) The meteorite rocks that came from Krypton with Superman cause mutations in humans. Often resulting in super-powered villains. (Or more usually people who's emotional instabilities become super-powered.) The overweigh
    • Well, in the comics, until last year, Lex Luthor was President of the United States...
    • Smallville has solved the problem of invulnerability by introducing relationship drama and emotional damage. It's very teen friendly and has a hot cast but basically it's Clark's relationship with his parents, friends, etc that make or break the show. I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this best. Smallville's not as good.

      Physical fighting and damage are passe especially for a superhero movie. The trailer I saw had a voiceover from Jor-El about why he sent Supes to Earth. I hope the movie is more abo

    • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:53AM (#14128746)
      I'm not a Superman reader, but what little I've read ("Kingdom Come", a few others) showed me that Superman's story potential is based around his ability to do pretty much anything versus his unwavering willingness to do good and never let anybody die.

      The best stories seem to be built around villains who can manipulate Superman's desire to protect everyone from harm--good, bad and bystander--while they do whatever else they want to do. Superman will torture himself looking for another way in order to avoid killing people, no matter how villainous they may be. It's a bit cliche, but it does make him vulnerable.
      • by Kintanon ( 65528 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @06:21PM (#14132991) Homepage Journal
        This is the exact reason that Lex Luthor keeps superman around. I mean come on, everyone knows that Lex could rack up a clip of kryptonite bullets and pop a cap in The Man of Steel any time he wants, right? But Lex needs superman around. You see as long as superman is around then no matter how many people Lex kills, now matter how horrible his actions the regular cops won't ever come after him. They leave the job up to Superman. And what does Lex get when superman comes calling? A stern lecture. So it's handy for Lex to keep Superman around to make sure he can get away with anything for nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:03AM (#14128327)
    ..."I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula AND Superman away.".

    He also said "You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who make people happy, but inside he's real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.". So if Superman had a diarrhea (You could say a SUPER-diarrhea!)... We clearly need Jack Handy to redo the script of Superman V!
    • He also said "You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who make people happy, but inside he's real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.". So if Superman had a diarrhea (You could say a SUPER-diarrhea!)... We clearly need Jack Handy to redo the script of Superman V!

      Yeah that would rock! We could call it "Pooperman" or something!

  • ObLink. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:12AM (#14128386) Journal []
    Superman is a dick.
    (Now I'd LOVE to see a movie that contains a good compilation of events from this site.)
  • Tim Burton (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jumbo Jimbo ( 828571 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:13AM (#14128393)
    I went to see Tim Burton talk (when Sleepy Hollow came out a few years ago) and he said he felt that he had helped create a monster by re-energising the superhero francise with Batman.

    With Batman, he'd had a free hand to make it the way he wanted. However, the success of Batman meant that each future superhero movie had to not only make a decent film, but have characters and vehicles for Burger Kig tie-ins, action figures, etc.

    So when he was offered the chance to direct Superman, he told us that it came with so much extra baggage that he couldn't make it the way he wanted to at the same time as keeping corporate partners happy. But he felt it was his own fault, partially, caused by his Batman movie's success back in '89.

    • Then he needs to shut the hell up. The Burton-Batmans were awesome movies that I actually ENJOYED. If he's sorry for that, he needs a wild kick in the nuts.
  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) * on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:14AM (#14128405) Journal
    I read, ok I skimmed the article and out of all the shenanigins it describes it doesn't go into how the current script and director, Bryan Singer, came to be. If even half of what is described in the article is true it's an understatement to say that it took a miracle for this movie to ever get made.

    My initial impressions of the story that did develop from the point Bryan Singer joined were very negative, but after watching Bryan's video blog of the production, reading everything I could on the web and having seen the teaser trailer it looks like Bryan Singer has done the impossible and made a good movie. It appears to keep the best elements of the original movies -- Brando and Reeve's iconic performance, the generally serious treatement given to the Superman mythology, and breakthrough special effects -- while losing the slapstick comedy that worked in the 70's but doesn't work with a modern audience (Bryan is quoted somewhere that the comedy of the original series just wouldn't work today).

    That said, it could be we've only seen the polish on the turd, so to speak and the finished product may very well suck. I thought he did an excellent job on Xmen and the follow up, X-2, so he certainly has the pedigree to produce a good comic book based movie.
  • They keep rewriting this story so much that it really is starting to make no sense. But the current problem is that in Smallville Clark Kent couldn't fly when he was younger. But in the teaser trailers he can seemingly jump football fields at a time.
    Lois & Clark had him married, he came from Krypton as a fetus or as a boy in a spaceship. And I think he died once. What the hell is going on?

    Will this take place before or after the Marriage to Lois? Will it say that ever happened or just write it off as "n
    • Will this take place before or after the Marriage to Lois? Will it say that ever happened or just write it off as "no one will remember" I really didn't care about the outcome of Lois & Clark, but I care for some continuity in my stories.

      Superman has been going for eighty years, in comics, radio, TV serials and movies, at least two alternate universes, and through a Crisis on Infinite Earths. Don't expect full consistency in his history :-)

      Even his powers have changed over time. Didn't you ever thin

    • Superman got married? To a human?!? The poor woman. Can you imagine the muzzle velocity of an orgasm powered by Kryptonian muscles?

      Larry Niven discussed this in great detail in his essay Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex [].

  • Since I can't read the article to find out, can someone please tell me who McG is, as referred to in the summary? To me McG means Patrick McGoohan, and I'd actually like to see him get involved with the films.


  • by RicochetRita ( 581914 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:51AM (#14128733) Homepage
    It seems to be Slashdotted...

    I found this online: the stange and evil tale of the production of Superman V. It spans decades, $50,000,000 is spent before they even have even settled on a writer or director. It's so horrible. It's out of date as it stops in the middle of 2004, but it's so horrible, you have to read it.

    The whole thing started in 1987. The Israeli producing team of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus (who were cousins, by the way) had bought the film rights to Superman from Alexander and Ilya Salkind, the obnoxious father-son duo who made the first three films. WB gave Golan and Globus' production company Cannon Films $40 million bucks to make Superman IV, and Golan-Globus took the money and spent it all on their other pictures. They only spent $17 million on Superman IV, chopping out key plot sequences (a grand total of 45 minutes' worth of critical story material was excised) and gutting the FX in order to keep the costs down. Anyway, Superman IV bombed because of the hack job Golan-Globus did on it. But since they still had the rights to Superman, they decided to make a fifth film for release in 1989, with Captain America (the one with Matt Salinger and Ronny Cox) director Albert Pyun at the helm. They also planned to reuse all the edited material from Superman IV and to recast Superman with another actor (their antics on IV left Reeve outraged with them). However, Cannon fell on hard times and Golan left to make his own company, 21st Century Films (which went under in the early '90s--he's since re-founded Cannon), and the rights to Superman reverted back to the Salkinds. This was when Superboy was in full swing on TV, and the Salkinds decided to restart the Superman film series using Superboy as the prequel. Hence, Superman comic scribe Cary Bates and his Superboy writing partner Mark Jones were drafted to write a script pitting Superman against Brainiac in a story set in the bottled city of Kandor. Under the working title Superman: The New Movie, this film was to have been released in 1994, with Superboy star Gerard Christopher taking over for Reeve as Superman. (To this day, the deleted footage from Superman IV remains unaccounted for.)

    Well, 1993 rolled around, and WB bought all the non-comics rights to Superman lock, stock, and barrel. WB forced the Salkinds to pull Superboy from the airwaves completely so as not to interfere with the planned Lois & Clark series (which Gerard Christopher auditioned for, and was turned down because he'd played Superboy--that's how Dean Cain got the part), and scrapped the Bates/Jones script. Deciding to base the movie on the "death and return" story from the comic books (they figured that the big sales figures the story racked up would translate into box office success), WB turned the project over to their pet producer Jon Peters--an illiterate, violence-prone wild man (I wish I was making this up, but I'm not--this is all true, every word of it) who got his start as Barbra Streisand's hairdresser/lover and produced the Tim Burton Batman films. Peters, who hates the classic Superman in every way imaginable, set out to reinvent Superman in the "sex, killing, rock & roll, and whatever movie was a hit last weekend" style that all of his movies are based in. So he hired Jonathan Lemkin to write the script.

    Lemkin's draft had Superman dying in battle with Doomsday, but managing to impregnate Lois as he's dying by way of Immaculate Conception. Lois is killed off later in the story, but not before giving birth to a baby who grows 21 years in three weeks' time, and takes over as the new Superman and saves the universe from Armageddon. Lemkin's script--which even he proudly boasted was campy and silly--was scrapped because WB thought it was too similar to Batman Forever. So Peters hired porn veteran Gregory Poirier--who scripted Peters' Rosewood, and has since written the bomb See Spot Run and served as writer-director on the much-derided Tomcats--to start over. Poirier's script had an angst-ridden Superman visiting a shrink in order to

    • by RicochetRita ( 581914 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @10:54AM (#14128755) Homepage
      TFA continued...

      Anyway, the Strick script--which Burton adored--was rejected by WB. (In fact, low-level WB execs--then-WB head honchos Bob Daly and Terry Semel were in total support of Burton-Peters--were calling up Kevin Smith and complaining about how Burton and Peters were screwing up the project.) So Burton hired Akiva Goldsman--one of the writers initially considered to replace Kevin Smith--to rewrite Strick's script. Goldsman's rewrite was rejected. Then Burton hired Ron Bass to rewrite Goldsman's rewrite of Strick's script. Bass's rewrite was rejected. Then Burton hired Dan Gilroy to rewrite Bass' rewrite of Goldsman's rewrite of Strick's script. For the moment, WB was appeased. Meanwhile, Burton kept changing his mind about the film's design scheme, and was constantly ordering the art teams to change whatever it was they were doing every day and telling them they weren't doing things the way he wanted. Cinefex Magazine ran an article about Burton's slave-driving the art team, and concept designer Sylvain Despretz went on record as saying that the designs Burton and Peters wanted had little or nothing to do with either the comic books or with the traditional Superman image.

      [However, Despretz thinks that movies based on comic books are what's dumbing down cinema--he doesn't believe comics deserve to be translated to film--and he said flat-out that the fans' complaints about Burton's attempted changes to Superman were petty and unimportant. "It's just a movie, everything they were complaining about was inconsequential," he claimed. So really, he and Burton-Peters were on the same page the whole time. Ditto for his fellow concept artist Rolf Mohr, who shared his lack of respect for the Superman character and stated that he went out of his way to avoid being influenced by the comics. Concept artist James Carson was even more anti-fan, asserting that if the fans don't like WB's intended radical changes to Superman, they should pony up the money and make their own Superman movie. Toy designers for Hasbro who were working on the film also complained about the fans, asserting that they should just get over the changes and accept them. Another designer, Brian Lawrence, justified the changes by saying that it was best to think of Burton's Superman as a completely new character who just happened to share the same name as Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation. The only member of the art team who had any respect for the material and the fans was the aforementioned Pete Von Scholly, who openly stated that Burton and Peters were going about the project the wrong way and that it should have been turned over to fans of the comics from the start. He still feels that way, especially in light of the recent developments on the film.]

      Nicolas Cage, having been fighting tooth and nail against Burton and Peters' vision of Superman (even though he'd been putting on a happy public face about working with them), angrily demanded that he be allowed to wear the classic Superman costume and fly. So WB relented much to Burton's dismay, ordering up a rubber Superman suit and flying FX tests. (According to Superman CINEMA, a chintzy, Sam Jones-as-Flash Gordon-type Superman suit was dished up as well, but it went over like a lead balloon.) However, when Cage tried on the rubber suit, it looked stupid. And when they stuck a long-haired wig on him, it looked even worse. And after Burton and Gilroy were finished with their rewritten script, WB looked it over and loathed it. Even worse, all of Burton and Peters' screwing around and causing trouble resulted in the film being budgeted somewhere between $140-190 million. So, in April 1998, just weeks before the film was to start shooting, WB put the film on indefinite hold. By this time, about $30-40 million (including the pay-or-play contracts for Burton and Cage--$20 million for Cage, $5 million for Burton) had already been spent on the project, with nothing to show for it. [It's well over $50 million now, given all the stupidity that occurred beyond this.]

      It was at thi

      • Even more of TFA...

        At any rate, this script sparked a horrific backlash in which the feedback was 95% negative (very, very, very few people liked it). An Internet petition was soon set up, garnering over 12,000 signatures and angry comments to date (including outraged responses from comic book pros Mark Waid, Stan Lee, Ron Lim, Kevin Smith, Tom Sniegoski, Ian Hannin, Tom Orzechowski, Mike Allred, and Larry Hama). But the outrage was swiftly silenced when WB dispatched Abrams to call up AICN sitemaster Har

        • The final page of TFA...

          However, Variety and Superhero Hype painted a slightly different picture of the casting/budget fracas (while confirming the reports of Peters and Ratner going at it, complete with threats of gunplay and bodily harm), reporting that the casting was down to Fraser and Bomer (with The Count of Monte Cristo's Henry Cavill emerging as a dark-horse candidate), and that the budget for the movie was as high as $225 million, with WB trying to scale it down to $200 million (still a Titanic-l

  • Google Cache link (Score:3, Informative)

    by SupremeOverlord ( 76353 ) <> on Monday November 28, 2005 @11:26AM (#14129106) Journal
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 28, 2005 @12:03PM (#14129445)
    In the dvd "An Evening With Kevin Smith" [], Kevin goes into great length about this Superman story.
    It's realy fun to watch, my favorite part is about Jon Peters [].

    For example you learn that Jon requires that:
      * superman must NOT fly for no obvious reason
      * superman must NOT wear a cape because it's gay
      * superman must fight a giant-fuckin-spider

    As a sidenote the spider made its way to the Peters-produced movie of the time "Wild Wide West"

    Favorite quote:
    J.P: "Spiderman must fight a giant spider"
    K.S: "Why ?"
    J.P: "Do you know anything about spiders ?"
    K.S: "No"
    J.P: "They're the fiercest killers in the insect kingdom!"

    And the same goes on later with White Bears !!!

    Seriously, this Jon Peters guy is so messed up !!

    Hehe, google to the rescue, here's a transcript from []::

    Supermoron (long)

    After seeing Mallrats, Warner Brothers producer Jon Peters considered hiring Kevin Smith to work on Superman Lives. Smith visited Peters in his Hollywood monster home to discuss the project. Peters, who climbed the Hollywood ladder from the lowest rung (Barbra Streisand's former hairdresser), began by telling Smith he was perfect for the project because, like Peters, he understood Superman. "You know why we understand Superman?" he asked. "Because we're from the streets."

    Smith, who grew up in suburban New Jersey, did not argue the point and Peters continued. Smith could do whatever he liked with the story, said Peters, with three exceptions. "I don't want to see him in the suit," Peters began, explaining that it made Superman look gay. Secondly? "I don't want to see him flying..."

    If Smith was speechless, he had yet to hear the third demand: "I want to see him wrestle with a giant spider in the third act." Why a spider, Smith asked. "Do you know anything about spiders," Peters replied. "Theyre the fiercest killers in the insect kingdom!"

    As so often happens in Hollywood, a director (Tim Burton) was soon attached - and insisted on bringing in his own writers. Smith, who had a nasty feud with Burton (after claiming that he had stolen the idea for Planet of the Apes from a comic book) noticed that the spider promptly disappeared from the script. Some time later, however, he went to see another Peters production: Barry Sonnenfeld's Wild Wild West:

    "I'm watching this thinking, this is really a piece of s---," he later recalled. He had the laugh of his life, however, as the plot unfolded. The plot? President Grant assigns two U.S. Marshals (Will Smith and Kevin Kline) to stop a deranged madman (Kenneth Branagh) from wreaking havoc on the country... with a giant mechanical spider!

    [Many critics called Wild Wild West the worst film of the year.]

    Smith, Kevin Patrick (1970- ) American writer, actor and director [noted for his work on such comic book series as Daredevil (Marvel Knights) and Spiderman (2002); and for his roles in (and direction of) such films as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Dogma (1999), Chasing Amy (1997), Mallrats (1995), Clerks (1994), Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary (1992)]

  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @12:03PM (#14129449)
    This article reads almost like a similar one you can find online about the debacle that was Superman IV. The fact that these drugged out ego maniacs running the movie industry have any financial success at all proves to me there is no God and that dark forces rule the universe. You think they named it "dark energy" because it sounded cool? ;-) I'm just amazed that a Weinstein brother wasn't involved somewhere. I can only hope the death of the Hollywood system comes as soon as possible.

    If they want a character that isn't Superman, why not just invent a new character? Why bother going after a built in audience if that audience is going to hate the changes you made, changes that will be very clear from a movie trailer?

    Anyway, my hopes are that movie making tech will continue to get cheaper and smaller, which it will. I've seen a good number of great small films this year with budgets in the five to six figure range made with equipment bought at high end electronics stores. I saw a wonky little time travel flick (whose name escapes me, sadly... Primer?) that cost $12,000, and I was more entertained than Superman III and IV and the last two Batmans combined.

    My advice to all you fellow geeks is the STOP giving money to these hack jobs. I can't count the number of times I have read comments from people who know a film is going to blow white hot chunks, but they are going to go see it anyway, dammit! If you are that OCD about it, at least wait until it's on HBO or even regular cable or a bittorrent where your viewing is not detected and registered as a vote of approval.

  • by The Wooden Badger ( 540258 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @12:23PM (#14129634) Homepage Journal
    In Hell:

    Peter: Hey, what are you doing here?
    Superman: I killed a hooker. She made a crack about me being faster than a speeding bullet so I ripped her in half like a phonebook.
  • Original Article (Score:3, Informative)

    by Captain_Chaos ( 103843 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @01:05PM (#14130056)
    Original article [].
  • by NeuroManson ( 214835 ) on Monday November 28, 2005 @02:24PM (#14130782) Homepage
    I'm waiting for Powdered Toast Man: The Movie! Now THAT'S worth my $8 matinee admission.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.