Richard Donner Got Death Threats for Superman Because Of Course

In the digital age of social media and the internet, the concept of the death threat has become all too common. You can get a death threat for something as serious as a crime coming out to disliking the latest comic book movie and everything in between. It has gotten to the point that journalists, even in the Bleeding Cool and entertainment corner of the internet, know when they are about to brace themselves for a death threat coming in. However, while death threats against entertainers are more common these days, they are by no means a new thing. You can send a death threat to someone as fast as you can make a burner account on Twitter in the digital age. However, in the 1970s, when Richard Donner was directing the first Superman movie, you had to work a lot harder to get someone that death threat. Donner recently did an extensive interview with The Telegraph, and one thing he talked about was getting death threats for the religious allegory in Superman.

Then there were the death threats after Superman came out, when some took umbrage at the vague religious allegory, of Superman's father Jor-El (Marlon Brando) sending his only son to Earth. "They threatened my life… One woman wrote a letter saying how dare I compare Brando to God and Christopher Reeve to Jesus. She said my blood would run in the streets. I guess you make a good movie, somebody takes it as a reality."

Richard Donner Got Death Threats for Superman Because Of Course He Did
Superman (1978) Poster. Credit: Warner Bros.

It's a stark reminder that the digital age didn't create the "death threat because the movie did a thing I don't like" thing, but it did make it easier. Donner seems to be taking his death threat from Superman in stride now, but that was when it was a lot easier to make sure fans couldn't find your actual home address. A death threat in the digital age seems more threatening because not only is it easier for people to send said threats, it's also easier for them to track down where you live. No one should be sending death threats to anyone, and no one should be telling other human beings to kill themselves. If there is something we choose not to bring into yet another new year, can it be that?

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About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She's also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at
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