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The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? is a documentary written and directed by Jon Schnepp (Metalocalypse). It gives an in-depth look at Superman Lives, an aborted attempt at bringing Superman back to the big screen in the mid-1990s by producer Jon Peters (Batman, Superman Returns) and director Tim Burton (Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice), with Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider, Castor Troy in Face/Off) in the title role. Right from the get-go, the project was rife with problems - majority of which were caused by Peters' outlandish depictions of Superman and Brainiac. And right when Nicolas Cage had just finished a few costume tests, Warner Bros. pulled the plug on the film.

While Peters' idea of having Brainiac as a robotic spider never materialized, it was recycled in the 1999 bomb Wild Wild West. People involved in Superman Lives such as Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) and Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers) have moved on to more successful projects. So for those who were utterly disappointed by Superman Returns and Man of Steel, it could've been worse.

Here's Chris Stuckmann's review of the documentary:

And here are pics of the costumes that Cage tested:

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Official Site

EDIT: Schnepp, the goddamn troll...

Edited by areaseven
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I don't even need to see any of that article to know why "Superman Lives" was a bad idea.

1 - Tim Burton, I love his work but he is NOT IN ANY WAY APPROPRIATE TO DIRECT A SUPERMAN FILM...

2 - Nicolas Cage as Superman? Are you kidding me?

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I don't even need to see any of that article to know why "Superman Lives" was a bad idea.

1 - Tim Burton, I love his work but he is NOT IN ANY WAY APPROPRIATE TO DIRECT A SUPERMAN FILM...

2 - Nicolas Cage as Superman? Are you kidding me?

1. Everyone said the same thing when he did Batman, but yeah - Supes is not his style. But with Kevin Smith as the writer, who knows what the movie would've looked like without Jon Peters' input?

2. The same was said about Michael Keaton as Batman, except they were really desperate to get Nicolas Cage because he won an Oscar that decade.

Also, I read somewhere that Superman Lives supposedly featured a cameo by Keaton.

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That Schnepp guy is pretty likeable. Still not sure if a whole documentary needed to be made about this, Kevin Smith already gave a pretty great rundown on his time trying to write that movie and dealing with Jon Peters in a VERY long talk he gave at some University. You can find that video on Youtube actually, his idea for working around the Spider issue was pretty brilliant actually.

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I watched this. Pretty much the only interesting part was the footage of Cage in the test costumes, most of which has already been circulating the Internet. The rest was ok, but not worth a full length documentary.

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1. Everyone said the same thing when he did Batman, but yeah - Supes is not his style. But with Kevin Smith as the writer, who knows what the movie would've looked like without Jon Peters' input?

2. The same was said about Michael Keaton as Batman, except they were really desperate to get Nicolas Cage because he won an Oscar that decade.

Also, I read somewhere that Superman Lives supposedly featured a cameo by Keaton.

As much as I liked His FIRST Batman movie (the second was dreck, only made watchable by all the other sequels) it most certainly had the Burton vibe to it, which would never have worked for a Superman picture - even more sore considering the excellent work done on the first Superman film that it would have been compared with.

As Keaton, time has shown that he was more than capable of tackling serious roles, the same can not be said for Cage. With the exception of Moonstruck, and that character seemed to have been written for him in the same way as Keanu Reeves character was written for him in "I Love You to Death". (any proof showing that Keanu's role in ILYtD was NOT written specifically for him I will not believe...)

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Perhaps one of the biggest contributions to the canning of this project is what I call the "Superhero Movie Crash of 1996-1997." On those two years, we were hit with not only Batman & Robin, but also Spawn, Steel, Barb Wire, and The Phantom. None of these films met their expectations both financially and critically, and they were enough to tell the general public that superhero movies had jumped the shark. After Joel Schumacher received numerous death threats over Batman & Robin, WB had enough with superhero movies.

In addition to Superman Lives, WB also scrapped Batman Triumphant, which was supposed to be a direct follow-up to Batman & Robin. The film would have introduced Scarecrow and Harley Quinn - the latter as the Joker's daughter intent on avenging his death.

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Perhaps one of the biggest contributions to the canning of this project is what I call the "Superhero Movie Crash of 1996-1997." On those two years, we were hit with not only Batman & Robin, but also Spawn, Steel, Barb Wire, and The Phantom. None of these films met their expectations both financially and critically, and they were enough to tell the general public that superhero movies had jumped the shark. After Joel Schumacher received numerous death threats over Batman & Robin, WB had enough with superhero movies.

In addition to Superman Lives, WB also scrapped Batman Triumphant, which was supposed to be a direct follow-up to Batman & Robin. The film would have introduced Scarecrow and Harley Quinn - the latter as the Joker's daughter intent on avenging his death.

Know what's funny, a year after that Blade was released. And, IMO, that was the real turning point for comic book movies into the new millennium. Of course they didn't have a producer who's fascination with spiders compelled him to demand them in every form of media he backed.

This is a great & funny way to hear the story of the Superman movie that never was!

Yup, that's the talk I was thinking of and mentioned. He can tell quite a story, can't he?

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The project looks like it was very imaginative and absolutely insane at the same time. It would have been a train wreck, that's for sure. Probably for the best it didn't happen........

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Just wondering: Does anyone here remember the Superman Red/Superman Blue arc in the comics? Was that any good, or was it forgettable at most?

Apparently, elements of Superman Red/Superman Blue were incorporated into this project, given the "energy suit" that was being crafted out of LED and neon lights. And yeah, that was a bad idea among the hundreds of other bad ideas in this project.

Edited by areaseven
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Know what's funny, a year after that Blade was released. And, IMO, that was the real turning point for comic book movies into the new millennium. Of course they didn't have a producer who's fascination with spiders compelled him to demand them in every form of media he backed.

Blade kinda worked because it was a virtually unknown comic book property and it was barely advertised as a comic book movie. Hell, almost everyone who watched it in theaters didn't even know it was a comic book movie, as it completely deviated from the source material and changed Blade into a ninja vampire hunter.

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Yup, that's the talk I was thinking of and mentioned. He can tell quite a story, can't he?

He sure can, everything from his stories about Prince, Bruce Willis, Tim Burton are funny as hell. The one I still enjoy is when he & his friend Ralph Garman rip TDKR a new one! (But that's for another thread). :lol:

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