Movie Commentary Month comes to a close with commentary on Christopher Reeve’s last outing as the Man of Steel, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. This time, Superman tries to bring an end to the threat of nuclear war and ends up getting more than he bargained for. Joining me for this momentous occasion is Lee Busby, a Superman fan who enjoys long walks on the beach, Kansas City barbeque, and being able to see Man of Steel a week before the rest of us “regular people.”
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Hello Charlie. Great Superman Commentary once again. Now Superman IV is the Superman movie I have seen the least. I don’t think it was ever as bad as people made it out to be. It was a great story idea and like you said very comic bookie. If you’re overly picky about visual effects, it is a very passable and enjoyable movie. Well here’s some more trivia for you which you probably already know but the listener might not…On to Episode 14
*Mark Rosenthal and writer Lawrence Konner wanted Reeve to play Nuclear Man as well as his dual roles of Superman and Clark Kent in the film. They imagined the villain being Superman’s polar opposite, or a darker version of Bizarro. This would be financially expensive and was already explored in minor detail in Superman III. So Cannon decided to hire Mark Pillow instead for the part of Nuclear Man in the final film.
*According to Reeve, Golan & Globus did not have a script in mind when they first approached him about doing the fourth installment; they simply wanted him to reprise his role. Reeve himself admitted in his autobiography Still Me that he really wasn’t sure that he wanted to do another Superman film. He had particular reservations about a reprisal of the role if it was going to be treated as a farce, which had been the case with the third film. This was an approach that Reeve felt was disrespectful to fans and the source material. The new producers then offered Reeve a deal he couldn’t refuse – in exchange for starring in the fourth Superman film, Reeve was promised story input (there was also talk of having Reeve direct a fifth Superman film should the fourth one prove successful), and they would produce any project of his choosing. Reeve accepted, and in exchange, Golan & Globus produced the crime drama Street Smart. Unfortunately, Golan & Globus had so many other films in their pipeline at the time that their money was spread too thinly to properly accommodate what became Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, released in 1987, forcing the film’s veteran director Sidney J. Furie to cut corners everywhere.
*The film was released July 24, 1987, in the United States and Canada and grossed US$5.6 million on its opening weekend, playing in 1,511 theaters, ranking #4 at the box office. It ended up grossing a total of $15.6 million in the United States and Canada.
*Richard Donner, who’d been fired from Superman II, was offered the director’s chair; he declined. Richard Lester was also offered the chance to direct the movie, but declined. It is unknown whether he or Richard Donner was asked first.
*Originally, the film had two Nuclear Men. The first, dubbed Nuclear Man 1, wore a black costume. His scenes were filmed, but eventually cut, allegedly because previews revealed a number of serious special effects errors. The deleted footage was considered for a fifth Superman film.
*I could not find anything about Ned Beatty reprising his role as Otis. He either couldn’t or didn’t want to do the movie and the producers didn’t want Otis in the movie. But I did find out the Peter Boyle was the first choice to play Otis. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Otis would have the same appeal to us if Ned Beatty hadn’t played Otis. I love Peter Boyle, but I can’t see him as Otis.
*Also gave up on finding out if the farm was the same as in Superman The Movie. I sort of doubt it was I think one movie was filmed in Alberta while the other was filmed in England.