Welcome To The Family..?

Although originally conceived by producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind as a series of movies ‘much like the Bond films’, the critical and commercial disappointment of Superman III had prompted a revision that ultimately lead to the screen debut of Supergirl.  When the spin-off failed to hit the heady heights of its predecessor the future of the franchise became uncertain.

By 1985, with Santa Claus: the Movie proving to be another misfire, the Salkinds relinquished their interest in the Super portfolio to the Cannon Group, who, despite a reputation for churning out straight to video trash, were nonetheless expanding into the mainstream at an alarming rate.  Literally buying up every comic-related property on the market at the time, Captain America, Spider-Man and Masters Of The Universe were in pre-production already but Cannon needed a sure-fire hit with a built-in audience to start the momentum, and who better than the Man of Steel?

And so Christopher Reeve was welcomed into the Cannon Family, (top pic, from the pages of Variety) with ecstatic producers proclaiming that they had managed to secure him by ‘Giving him the picture he wanted, and one that the world wanted’.  With his personal project (contemporary thriller Street Smart) greenlighted and greater creative input into Superman’s writing and direction, Reeve would become a willing Cannon ambassador ( even making a personal appearance for the opening of a Cannon Multiplex cinema in Salford Quays, England (third & fourth pic).

The infatuation with their new adoptive son would be short-lived, however, and Reeve would soon become the black sheep of the Cannon family. In an amazing show of foresight, during filming of Street Smart, Reeve chewed out an outraged Golan over the phone by demanding another 1.5 million to shoot on location in New York, stating ‘If you don’t have the money to do this, how do I know you have the 30 Million to do Superman IV?’ (watch the fantastic footage here).

Of course, history now tells us just how well-founded these concerns were as by January of 1987 Screen International covered the story of Cannon’s bailing out by Warner Brothers (second pic) but such was the extent of  the company’s losses that it collapsed altogether the following year, having slashed Superman IV’s budget and forcing Director Gary Godard to fund the closing scenes of Masters Of The Universe out of his own pocket.

It was a debacle that the Superman series, and essentially Reeve’s career would not recover from.  The Salkinds, meanwhile, incensed by the treatment of their most successful property, immediately renegotiated the rights to move forward with their foray into television with Superboy alongside a little project with the working title of ‘Superman – The New Movie’…

Too True To Be Good…

1987_Superman_IV_Lobby_CardRetro_Superman_IV_Comic_Adaptation_Print_1987_00Retro_Superman_Comic_Poster_Classic_00198800_000Superman_IV_Release_Lobby_Print_1986_0000000SUPERMANIA flies straight into the fortieth anniversary year of Superman: The Movie‘s production with a renewed pledge to bring you the most rare and obscure ephemera from the classic films as exemplified by the scarce promo’s above.

From the top – clipped from the pages of British Screen, the half page ad for Superman IV features a rare behind the scenes still of Christopher Reeve swooping in to Milton Keynes as part of Cannon Films optimistic submissions to BAFTA – A newspaper ad for the comic adaptation of Superman IV from 1987 – A DC Comics trade ad championing Neal Adams return to Superman comics in 1988 and a somewhat premature announcement for Superman V from a brochure given out at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.

Of course, in an ideal world, all of the above would be true but in fact, sadly none of these images are genuine vintage but are in fact the latest creations of artist and SuperFan Jason Leggett, whose convincing works of nostalgia have been featured on the site many times before.  Look out for more of Jason’s retro designs in the coming weeks…

64…

unmasking-1unmasking-2-001unmasking-3unmasking-4Today would’ve been Christopher Reeve’s 64th birthday.  As is customary here at SUPERMANIA we mark the occasion with a fitting tribute – in this case a rare interview with the man himself taken from the August 1987 issue of Starlog Magazine.

Speaking to Kim Howard Johnson from the set of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace in 1986, Reeve, somewhat poignantly indicated how this film was the most personal of the series.  In fact it would be, both thematically and practically having taken story credit and second unit direction besides the standard dual roles.

All of which Reeve seemed to take in his stride, his experience evident after a decade in the red boots and the creative freedom to express what his Superman should be doing.  Some of these character nuances (such as both identities ultimately being a disguise) were firsts here and continue to resonate in Super-Literature.

Though the film would be a critical and commercial failure, Reeve’s performance was universally praised and remains the one constant in what has now regained life as a cult classic.

Rest in Peace, ‘Toph…

Living The Dream…

20160716_16212020160715_14454220160715_14562620160716_085619Regular visitors to SUPERMANIA could be forgiven for noticing a lack of posts in the last few weeks but now we are back, and with exclusive coverage of the most significant and personally gratifying event this site has ever hosted.

As the sun sets on this years Milton Keynes International Festival #IFMKFest, a wide ranging celebration of culture and history within the city, the 10 day celebration closes this very evening with the big screen premiere of Director Richard DeDomenici’s Superman IV: Redux – Thirty years to the date of the UK release of Superman IV back in 1987.

This latest addition to the Redux Project, a bold experimental attempt to remake selected scenes from Hollywood blockbusters brought DeDomenici to the infamous locations used in 1986 by Cannon Films to shoot there some thirty years later. Keen to celebrate their small but fondly remembered involvement in Superman cinematic history, Milton Keynes Council lent their full support to Superman IV: Redux.

With years of research dedicated to the making, marketing and mayhem of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace it was only natural that the project would eventually come to my attention where I would admit to initially being sceptical.  However, as the casting call was open to all and the opportunity to access indoor locations was rare I decided to tag along for the audition process.

Never once did I anticipate or dream I would be cast as Superman/Clark Kent and embark on a short, but life-changing journey but that’s exactly what happened.

A full account of the events leading to, during and after the shoot will be uploaded to a permanent page on the site in the coming weeks.  I can’t wait to share my dream come true with you all…

From the top – Martin Lakin as Superman alongside actor David John Waterman, reprising his role as the Hot Dog Vendor from Superman IV, one of the many props reproduced for the filming of Superman IV Redux, Martin Lakin as Clark Kent in  the Avebury buliding, original location of the Daily Planet offices and Esther Webb exhibiting appropriate sass as Lois Lane…

Rated PG…

SIVPress1SIVPress2SIVPress3SIVPress4By 1987 the traditional bumper advertising manual was steadily being consigned to history.  Indeed, what began as a series of grand ‘Exhibitor Campaign Books‘ concluded with the above basic four-page leaflet.

SUPERMANIA gets back to good old-fashioned vintage ephemera with the fine vintage example reproduced in its entirety above.  For what was a modest campaign thanks to the low-key efforts made by Cannon Films, the poster and still sets made available by the National Screen Service are of immense quality (the UK Quad arguably the best variation of the poster with its bold silver title) and form a vital part of the SUPERMANIA collection.  Enjoy..!