|Richard Donner Director||previously directed 16 Blocks|
Re-Edit closer to planned Richard Donner version of Superman II. It is more serious in tone akin to the first Superman.
General, haven't you ever heard of freedom of the press?
4 More Quotes
Come to me, son of Jor-El! Kneel before Zod!
|Gene Hackman||Lex Luthor|
|Terence Stamp||General Zod|
|Jackie Cooper||Perry White|
|Margot Kidder||Lois Lane|
Richard Donner planned to film both Superman and Superman II at the same time. In fact, he filmed 3/4ths of the film during that time, including footage of Marlon Brando for the Fortress of Solitude scenes of Superman II. However, Superman I was falling behind schedule and over-budget, so he opted to finish that film and return to Superman II after the first Superman’s release.
Despite Superman’s success, Donner was asked not to return to finish Superman II for a large number of reasons. One major reason for this was the decision to not use any of the footage of Marlon Brando so as to avoid paying a percentage of the profits to him. Long story short Donner did not return and A Hard Day’s Night director Richard Lester was brought on to work on Superman II.
In order for Lester to receive credit for directing the film, more then half of the film would have to be directed by him. This meant that in addition to new filming, the story of Superman II was heavily re-written and reworked. Thus the version released in theaters was vastly different from the version that Donner had intended. Of the 3/4ths of the film that Donner had filmed, only 1/4 of that remained in the theatrical version of the film. A majority of that involved Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor scenes, who had refused to film anything new with Lester.
As for the rest of the Donner footage, it remained buried in a vault in until 2001 when it was delivered to Warner Bros. It was then that Donner was first approached to recreate his Superman II, but at first wanted nothing to do with it. For years a game of back and forth between Warner Bros., Donner, and fans of the film as to whether it would happen or not went on. In the meantime, fans managed to make bootleg versions based on some of the footage being shown in television version. Fan websites also organized petitions calling for the official release of Donner’s version. Warner Bros. was quick to silence these efforts, saying that there were legal issues surrounding an official release of the footage.
However, while reaching an agreement Marlon Brando’s estate for the use of his footage for Superman Returns, they also agreed to use it for a re-cut version of Superman II. Thus, in 2005 work began on resembling Donner’s version of Superman II. As Donner had not actually competed filming of Superman II, the film is not 100% done by him. Some of Lester’s footage had to be used for story’s sake and a little amount of CGI was used to recreate some of the effects in the film. However, these elements are relegated to less than 1/5 of final film. Also, in one scene a screen test was the only footage available and thus the quality is not the same as the rest of footage, but Donner felt it was important to the plot enough to keep it in the film.
Nonetheless, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut made its world premiere in November of 2006 and was released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-Ray shortly afterwards. There were of course criticisms of the re-cut of the film, especially when it came to the use of CGI and test footage. On the other hand, with its more serious tone closer to the first film, many critics proclaimed it as the definitive version of Superman II. Many cast members also came out in support of the Donner version including Sarah Douglas, Jack O’Halloran and most prominently Margot Kidder.
|Name||Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut|
|US Release||Nov. 28, 2006|
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|Alias(es)||Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut|