In Pre-Production..?

SV_Poster Elstree_Plan Thorn_MemoSV_VarietyThough audience and critical response to Superman IV: The Quest For Peace had been derisory, Cannon films forged ahead regardless by announcing a fifth picture only three months after its failure with an apparent plan to use culled footage from the subplot of IV as the basis for a new feature. (See the deleted scenes here)
This incredibly rare promo (top pic) confirms the film was in ‘Pre-Production’ with rumours director Albert Pyun was attached (and presumably Christopher Reeve with whatever conditions he demanded just to get him back in the role).  Sadly, like a glut of other announced projects, (among them Masters of The Universe Part II, part one ironically responsible for Superman IV‘s cut budget) the film went unrealised due to the collapse of the Cannon Group, whereupon the rights reverted back to the Salkinds who would proceed with their own doomed attempt to bring the Man Of Steel back to the big screen.

The priceless pieces of memorabilia shown above were salvaged from the refurbishment of Elstree studios, remodelled soon after Cannon’s collapse.  Along with the original studio layout (second pic) and original Thorn EMI internal memo was this incredible evidence that a fifth Superman feature was indeed a reality.  A SuperFan by the name of Paul passed them onto me with this description;

This is a mini poster for the cancelled, never made film Superman V. To quickly explain where I got this, I grew up in Borehamwood – home of Elstree Film Studios where Star Wars (and Superman IV) were made. In the late 80’s The Cannon Group owned the studios before much of it was demolished. In late 1987 or early 1988 (I can’t remember when but I do remember it was cold winter day) I was working with my father gutting the valuable stuff from the soundstages that were being demolished. Being a curious teenager I was raiding the trash looking for stuff. I found a collection of framed mini posters most in smashed glass frames. I later found out these were hung along the corridors coming from the main reception area. I took a few of these that interested me (Masters of The Universe, Superman, Spider-man) and I’ve kept them all these years. Superman V was never made but Cannon had started work on it…

My sincere thanks also go to SuperFan William S. Wilson (see his amazing Movie blog here) for securing an original copy of the ad taken from the pages of daily Variety (bottom pic – on the rear: Delta Force II) and adding this grail item to my collection after a long and exhaustive search…

6 thoughts on “In Pre-Production..?

  1. Cannon shouldve dropped MOTU, given SIV its full $35m budget and had Dolph play Nuclear Man!

    i bet wed have seen a superman V AND VI in the 1990s then

  2. Cannon mustve been crazy to think they could use the deleted IV footage for a fifth film. A) it was flat out TERRIBLE and b) it was the same plot as IV!!

    sometimes i think it may have been best if there had never been a Superman IV (not from Cannon anyway) – there would just be the big budget high quality 'Superman Trilogy'

    its a shame the salkinds didnt look to 1988 (supermans 50th anniversary & STM 10th) as an oppertunity to do a big budget IV.

    i think they figured the whole 'Super' franchise had dried up after the relative failure of SIII (which was still a big hit) and Supergirl…but all they had to do was get a great script for IV and the audience wouldve been there…

  3. I actually think MOTU is easily Cannon's best picture – it has incredible production design/costumes. It remains a guilty pleasure.

    As for Superman's 50th anniversary I read in more than one place IV was supposed to coincide with the anniversary as one big celebration. After it bombed this was dropped in favour of the insufferable 50th birthday 'special' hosted by Dana Carvey. Its in the Ultimate Edition box set…

  4. yeah i actually dig MOTU a little too. thought it was amazing when i saw it at a Cannon cinema in '87 (but i also thought SIV was amazing and saw it four times at the same cinema!)

    i believe the MOTU sequel was going ahead and sets, costumes etc were built but when it was sheleved they got incorperated into the JCVD movie Cyborg. Also another interesting bit of info re MOTU – apparently there was to be a Planet of the Apes style twist at the end where its revealed Eternia was either earth of the far future or another planet that had been populated by a crashed Nasa spacecraft…i think it ended up in the comic adaptation…shame it wasnt included in the movie as that wouldve been pretty cool

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