Today at San Diego Comic-Con (is anything else happening in the world at the moment?), the first full-length trailer for Jon Schnepp’s documentary, The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? (the question’s rhetorical, obviously) debuted and has now been released online. One of the weirder “what if” films of all time, Schnepp’s documentary digs at the “whys” behind the collapse of Tim Burton and Kevin Smith‘s potential superhero shitstorm.
The Kickstarter-funded doc will try to explain why the movie never made it out of pre-production Hell. For those not in the know — in 1993, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to Supes following revived fascination in the property following “The Death of Superman” arc. Executive Producer Jon Peters focused on making a Superman film that was family-friendly as well as toy-friendly (funny, he was only fifteen years too early in his green-lighting approach). Several writers were brought in, but all of their scripts were rejected. The most famous was, of course, Kevin Smith, whose pass is still relatively easy to find if you know where to look online (reading it, however, is another story entirely). Smith was fired once Burton was brought on to direct, as the director (who was coming off of Beetlejuice, two Batman films and Edward Scissorhands) wanted to add his own unique elements to the script, so he hired Wesley Strick (Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear remake). Things didn’t go well and, whenever he talks about it, Smith still sounds insanely butthurt (suck it up, big baby).
Is this a story worth telling? I don’t know. If you ask me, there are several infinitely more interesting “lost films” floating around out there, just waiting for someone to make a Jodorowsky’s Dune* about them (David Cronenberg’s Alien, anyone?). But people still somehow like Burton and Smith, so this is definitely marketable. And as long as there’s footage of Smith acting petulant (does he have any other mode?), I’ll most likely enjoy snickering at it.
*Which is amazing. Why haven’t you seen it yet?
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