Though the the restored and remastered Superman: The Movie Special Edition narrowly missed out on a theatrical release in 2001, the subsequent DVD transfer became a significant milestone in the Superman series celluloid history.
long-awaited and a superlative presentation for its time, the double-sided disc would represent the cleanest, sharpest version of the film to date in an extended cut supported by a significant amount of quality extras – but was not without its faults. (not least the awful cardboard snapper case.)
Indeed, many fans of the original picture were bemused by the liberties taken with the all-new sound-mix and some of the questionable editing choices by producer Michael Thau, whose revisions were felt by many to be invasive and clunky. Despite this, sales were immense and the Special Edition would be a mainstay for future formats (though the beloved original soundtrack would later mercifully resurface on Blu-ray)
As one of Warner Brothers flagship catalogue titles, Superman would be further awarded the Deluxe Box Set treatment in 2003,( alongside The Matrix and 2001: A Space Odyssey) by CDA Entertainment, where the original disc would be supplemented by an array of reproduction ephemera presented in a handsome oversize black case.
Stylishly marketed and backed by an all-new advertising campaign (top 2 pics for MVC Stores exclusive to the SFX Magazine Superhero Special), the Deluxe Box Set was an expensive but irresistible package in the wake of what would eventually be less affectionately known as ‘double dipping’.
Given its slick appearance, its surprising and disappointing just how poor the final product turned out to be, starting with the Senitype (where the iconic, sharp 35mm film frame is obscured by the frankly godawful quality print on the mount) and moving onto the lobby cards and reproduction booklet (badly reprinted without any restoration and consequently way too dark). The poster is also a redundant addition being folded (though an offer restricted to the US made a rolled one available).
A triumph of promise over content resulting in an underwhelming dud, the box set today (bottom pic) is affordable as the DVD format erodes but is ironically hard to find. Genuine fans, however, would be better serviced with a copy of the blu-ray and genuine copies of the original memorabilia…