DC Films president Geoff Johns and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige shared the stage for the Tribute to Richard Donner event in Los Angeles. The Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences held the special ceremony for Donner for his lifetime of work in Hollywood. The event saw Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Rene Russo form a Lethal Weapon reunion to pay tribute and stars from The Goonies were also in attendance, taking credit for adding a few grey hairs to Donner's head. Feige and Johns paid tribute to Donner and in particular, the first Superman movie, which both men base all of their work after.
Both Feige and Johns got their start in Hollywood through interning for Richard Donner and shared stories about what it was like to work for the director. Johns in particular recounted a story about taking Donner's car off of the Warner Bros. lot that ended in a permanent mark to the studio. Feige also took some time to talk about the influence that 1978's Superman has had on the comic book movie genre. He said this.
"Superman the movie is still, to this day, the archetype of the perfect superhero film origin story. I hope you don't bemoan the fact that that film has inspired all of these movies."
Feige went on talk about staying true to the source material, which Richard Donner accomplished with Superman and that influence has been brought over to the MCU and DCEU. Johns took the microphone and told a story about finding the original script for the first Superman movie in a storage room of Donner's. Feige and Johns read it and remarked about how terrible and cheesy that it was. Johns went on to say that the studio offered Donner a million dollars to rewrite the movie, but the money wasn't the motivation. When Feige and Johns asked about his motivations, he simply said "I had to save Superman." Donner explained to them that Superman is an American icon and something that should be protected. It's that kind of attitude that both men have taken into their professional lives and it appears to be working out pretty well for them.
Donner is the 80s king of the Hollywood blockbuster. He was the man behind Superman 1 and 2, The Goonies, the Lethal Weapon series, Scrooged, The Omen, and many more. Mel Gibson said "There's a true humility about the man; he refers to himself as a traffic cop, but he's a [email protected]#$%$#@ genius." It's clear that Donner had a profound effect on all the people that he has worked with from unpaid interns all the way up to A-list celebrities.
It's hard to imagine what the current roster of comic book movies would look like today without Donner's Superman movies. There has been a true effort to try and stay true to the spirit (not copying a comic word for word) of the source material and treating the movies like pieces of art instead of a way to sell toys. Now that the two rival presidents have shared the stage and got their start together maybe a DC/Marvel crossover isn't too far off. Check out the video of Feige and Johns below which debuted on the Oscars Youtube Channel.