Today MovieWeb had the privilege of attending the Warner Home Video Sneak Peak. Essentially, this is an event in which Warner Bros. announces their upcoming titles for 2006. Amidst talk of Ultra-Resolution Releases and HD announcements, the biggest announcement concerned not Blu-ray, but the man in blue who wears a red cape and just happens to have an "S" slapped across his chest.
Senior VP of Theatrical Catalog Marketing, George Feltenstein, took this opportunity to discuss the legendary Superman II cut of ousted director, Richard Donner. He had been working on the sequel to the much lauded Superman: The Movie when he was replaced by Richard Lester. Initial, the first two movies were supposed to be shot together.
Donner's cut of Superman II has long been rumored to exist, and now it will be available towards the end of the year as part of the Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition. This set will contain 14 discs and "super extras."
Feltenstein then informed us that 20%-40% of Richard Donner's Superman II has never been seen. He also said he believes this DVD marks the "first time" a director has been allowed to go back and reconstruct his work on a film he was fired off of. This movie will also be available in HD-DVD.
After this presentation, the lights we're dimmed and we were treated to Donner's original opening of Superman II. This segment is set amidst the hustle and bustle of the Daily Planet. Lois Lane is reading an article on Superman. She sees Clark Kent across the room, who is standing with his arms folded, and she realizes that the two look quite similar. After drawing a hat, glasses and a suit on Superman, she and Clark are summoned into Perry White's office and informed of an assignment they will work on together in Niagara Falls.
Perry soon leaves the room and Lois begins dropping hints to Clark that she thinks he's Superman. Clark of course denies this and Lois, believing he is lying, throws herself out the window. As she is tumbling in the air, Clark makes his way down to the street below. Using his "wind blowing" powers he slows up Lois's descent, and then makes an awning drop (courtesy of his "laser-like" eye power) so that Lois's fall is eventually broken by a fruit stand.
Even with a temporary score and titles like "Work Test" cut into this piece, it still very much captured the spirit of what a Richard Donner cut of Superman II might have in store.
In addition, IGN recently sat in the editing room with Richard Donner who is in postproduction on his newest film, the Bruce Willis/Mos Def action film, 16 Blocks. They managed to conduct a fairly in-depth interview with Donner about the DVD release of his version of Superman II.
Here is a snippet of what Donner had to say:
"They're doing it. I'm not doing it. They're doing it. Michael Thau, who used to be my assistant and is a good little editor - [said that] there were so many requests to Warner Brothers to see my cut that he went to them and they authorized it. He's been working for about four or five months now getting all the negatives and cuts out of England. A lot of it's been destroyed, a lot of it wasn't kept. But everything that he was able to [get], he said it will probably be about 70 percent my footage."
Dont't forget to also check out: Superman II