NYCC: Death Of Superman Lives – What Happened Panel Report

Richard Epstein writes for Bleeding Cool:

superman-lives-featHow can a superhero movie fail?  A superhero movie starring Nick Cage, one of the biggest action stars around, fresh off of Con Air and the Rock?  A superhero movie directed by Tim Burton, whose Batman helped revive the superhero movie?

Odds are if you're reading this, you've heard of Superman Lives, the movie that didn't.  But nobody knows the true story of what happened.  John Schnepp has set out to find out.

In 2012 Schnepp launched one of the most famous kickstarters of all time; seeking funding to make a documentary to answer just that question.  The kickstarter was an instant success, and Schnepp thought that the movie would be ready by Comic Con 2013.  Here we are at Comic con 2014 and the movie is still in the works.  But it hasn't gone away, and Schnepp and his girlfriend Holly Payne are hard at work.

Schnepp began following the project back when it was first announced and subsequently cancelled. Around 2006 clips and artwork and drafts started popping up online. Schnepp saved all the clips he could, including those releases by effects maven Steve Johnson in 2010.

Two years later, Schnepp ran into Johnson at a comic store in LA and asked him about Superman Lives. Johnson seemed uneasy discussing the project. Schnepp then started the kickstarter to find out exactly what happened.

Since then, he has interviewed Johnson, Tim Burton, Kevin Smith and a host of others.

We saw some of the footage at New York Comic Con, an approximately 20 minute clip about the infamous rainbow suit. (The final version of this section of the documentary will be about 5 minutes, which is a good thing as it got pretty technical.)

The clip showed just how much time and effort went into developing the suit. Apparently, despite all the fervor on the internet when the test footage was released, this scene was only supposed to be a couple of minutes in the final film and Burton said it may not even have used it at all.

According to Schnepp, the studio spent anywhere from $30,000,000 to $80,000,000 (depending on who he asked) on Superman Lives, a movie that was never made. I was hoping to hear a little bit more about how such an insane movie was greenlit in the first place and what finally killed the movie. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until Schnepp finishes his movie to find out.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.