Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Preview

Oooooooooo boy. Exciting times at BMT HQ. The next set of films nail two (that’s right, two!) different dates on the BMT calendar! “Egad! How is that possible? My life is shattered by the revelation. I love reading this email and perusing the BMT website and didn’t see this coming!” cry our ever-growing crowd of adoring fans. It’s very possible when you have a hot piece of IP like Superman. Even after releasing the critically reviled Superman III, Hollywood still decided to go DJ Khaled on us and bring us ANOTHER ONE: Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. These films hit the blockbuster months of June and July and are some of the classics of the major motion picture bust. Let’s go!

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) – BMeTric: 86.1

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(Just like with number three this just goes up and up. And wow, that rating is just astonishingly low. The regression to the mean suggests it isn’t so funny people are going out of their way to watch and hate it, but that is just such a bad rating, it is amazing. Probably one of the worst superhero films ever.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Superman does his bit for world peace by ridding the globe of nuclear weapons – which inspires Lex Luthor to become a black-market arms profiteer. He also challenges Superman by creating Nuclear Man. Disappointing fantasy adventure is pretty ordinary, with a second-rate special effects. Sincere performances help a lot. Reeve receives co-story credit on this one (along with 2nd unit directing).

(This plot sounds like a mess. Kind of interesting Leonard gives the fourth a better review than the third, but he is often lenient for merely lightweight or boring films. Whereas the third sounds like it rejects the Superman for a clashing and annoying alternative … this movie is going to be boring.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drvoAempNTY

(Wow. It just looks cheap. It has a cheap message, heavy handed and lame. Nuclear Man? This is two years after Rocky defeated Ivan Drago and, by the transitive property, the Soviet Union. And they give us this shit?)

Directors – Sidney J. Furie – (Known For: The Entity; Lady Sings the Blues; The Ipcress File; Future BMT: Ladybugs; My 5 Wives; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for The Jazz Singer in 1981; Notes: Martin Scorsese put the Entity at number four on his list of scariest horror films.)

Writers – Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman) – (Known For: The LEGO Batman Movie; Man of Steel; Superman Returns; Superman; The Iron Giant; Superman II; Future BMT: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: These are credits for creating the original Superman strip.)

Christopher Reeve (story) – (BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Switching Channels in 1989; Notes: I wouldn’t be surprised if his somewhat notorious involvement in the writing of the two widely panned Superman films waylaid his career somewhat. Numerous stories come out of both productions claiming he was rather difficult to work with)

Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Planet of the Apes; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; The Legend of Billie Jean; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Mighty Joe; The Jewel of the Nile; Flicka; Future BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Desperate Hours; Mercury Rising; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: They have worked together for over 30 years! Originally worked in television they were paired on the cult hit The Legend of Billie Jean.)

Actors – Christopher Reeve – (Known For: Superman; The Remains of the Day; Superman II; Somewhere in Time; Noises Off…; Deathtrap; Gray Lady Down; Street Smart; Above Suspicion; Switching Channels; The Bostonians; Future BMT: Village of the Damned; Speechless; Monsignor; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Switching Channels in 1989; Notes: After his horse-riding accident that left him a quadriplegic in 1995 him and his wife founded a center devoted to helping paralyzed individuals live independently.)

Gene Hackman – (Known For: Young Frankenstein; Wyatt Earp; Unforgiven; Superman; The Birdcage; The Royal Tenenbaums; Enemy of the State; The Replacements; A Bridge Too Far; The Firm; Bonnie and Clyde; The French Connection; Get Shorty; Mississippi Burning; Antz; The Poseidon Adventure; Crimson Tide; The Conversation; Heartbreakers; The Quick and the Dead; Future BMT: Loose Cannons; Two of a Kind; Behind Enemy Lines; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Welcome to Mooseport; The Chamber; Notes: I love Gene Hackman. During out last film I noted that a lot of people assume his is dead because he retired from acting after Welcome to Mooseport. At 87 though I don’t know if he will release another book.)

Margot Kidder – (Known For: Superman; Maverick; Superman II; Black Christmas; Sisters; Delirious; The Great Waldo Pepper; Chicago, Chicago; The Annihilation of Fish; The Hi-Line; Future BMT: Halloween II; The Amityville Horror; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: As mentioned in the Superman III preview, her career was put on hold a bit due to mental health issues in the 1990s. As far as recent films, I’m actually rather interested in seeing her in Halloween II (the remake). I loved the original Halloween, and the rest of the series is somewhat notoriously bad, but it’ll fun to see Kidder in a more recent role.)

Budget/Gross – $17 million / Domestic: $15,681,020

(Terrible. And no wonder this filled the franchise for around 15 years. So bad it apparently killed their live action Spiderman idea for over 10 years as well.)

#125 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre and #100 for the Superhero genre

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(This time I’ll only show the Superhero plot. This is below The Phantom … rough stuff. That big peak is Batman, and like with Comic Book Adaptations it basically ticks up with Spiderman in 2000 and then Avengers a decade later.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (5/42): The Superman series bottoms out here: the action is boring, the special effects look cheaper, and none of the actors appear interested in where the plot’s going.

(Ooooooof. So … boring. Not funny-bad like number three … just boring. Blah. At least we have number three to revel in.)

Poster – SuperSklog IV: The Quest for Cheese (B-)

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(A lot going on here, but still nicely artistic as far as posters go. Look at the perspective. Again, wish they had a more consistent color scheme, but can’t complain too much.)

Tagline(s) – Nuclear Power. In the best hands, it is dangerous. In the hands of Lex Luthor, it is pure evil. This is Superman’s greatest battle. And it is for all of us. (F)

(Now this one actually hurts me. This tagline is my kryptonite.)

Keyword(s) – volcanic eruption; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 72.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011); 68.2 Supergirl (1984); 59.6 Congo (1995); 50.5 Pompeii (I) (2014); 49.0 The Wild (2006); 48.5 Robot Monster (1953); 47.3 King Solomon’s Mines (1985); 41.3 2012 (I) (2009); 40.8 Wrath of the Titans (2012);

(Hehe, So Alvin and the Chipmunks have to deal with a volcano when they get Chipwrecked. Also great that Superman IV and Supergirl both made the cut. Some of these are amazing! Like, does anyone remember the The Wild!? Just bonkers.)

Notes – Christopher Reeve publicly regretted his involvement in the film. He stated, “Superman IV was a catastrophe from start to finish. That failure was a huge blow to my career.” (…. you wrote the movie)

According to Margot Kidder, she and Christopher Reeve did not get along during filming. Kidder states that Reeve’s ego was inflated because he co-wrote the story. (Yeah. I’ve heard other interviews which suggested a bit of the same from the beginning of the series as the hot young guy chosen to play Superman)

Wes Craven was set to direct, but was replaced after creative differences with star Christopher Reeve. (What?)

The failure of this film at the box office prompted The Cannon Group Inc., to cancel a planned production of “Spider-Man”. (That would have been a hilarious disaster. Considering the effects in the superman films)

The movie’s original budget was 36 million dollars. Just before filming was to begin, The Cannon Group, Inc., which was experiencing financial problems, slashed the budget to seventeen million dollars. As a result, the filmmakers cut corners, by doing things like re-using special effects. (Makes sense … again considering the effects)

When the film was cut from 134 minutes to 90 minutes, the producers considered using the deleted footage as the groundwork for a fifth film. (Holy shit, that’s a big cut!)

When Nuclear Man was being developed, Christopher Reeve was approached to play that part as Superman’s polar opposite, or a darker version of Bizarro.

Christopher Reeve agreed to play Superman for the fourth time if the studio financed his project, Street Smart (1987). (Cool. Ended up with good reviews too)

The vast majority of the external scenes were filmed in and around Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. Producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus couldn’t afford to shoot in New York City. (London, hoooooooollllla)

Nuclear Man only has eleven lines. (Ha, a wonder he didn’t get third billing like Kidder in number 3)

A scene cut out of the U.S. theatrical version featured Superman saving a group of Soviet Generals from a nuclear missile in Moscow. The scene appears on the video release, but not on the DVD. (fun fact)

Much of the special effects crew that worked on the first three films and Supergirl (1984) were hired during pre-production, but eventually left following salary disputes. (that makes sense)

In the original screenplay, by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, Nuclear Man was able to change shape, and expand in size. (cool idea actually)

The Cannon Group, Inc., thinking that they had a potential blockbuster on their hands, cut the two-hour-plus film down to a lean ninety minutes, so that theater owners could have more screenings per day, and potentially make more money that would eventually filter back to the studio. (Wow, a slight miscalculation there…)

This is the only Superman film from the Christopher Reeve era where Clark Kent changes to Superman in a phone booth. The Superman films made since this film have not featured this signature scene yet. (THAT IS A FUN FACT)

An enlarged Daily Planet front page hanging in the Daily Planet building’s lobby reads “Superman Saves Chemical Plant from Fire.” Superman did save a chemical plant from a fire in Superman III (1983). (Cool I guess. He did)

The Cannon Group, Inc. was in severe financial trouble by the mid 80s. They bought the rights to Superman, hoping the film would save them. The finished picture ended up being another costly failure. (We’ve watched a ton of films that basically bankrupted studios)

The music track used in the deleted scenes featuring Clive Mantle as the Nuclear Man prototype, is actually the theme tune for the British children’s television show Bric-A-Brac (1980). (What?! I’m loving these facts!)

Before Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) was released, The Cannon Group, Inc. began planning a fifth film, directed by Albert Pyun. When Cannon went bankrupt, Superman’s film rights reverted to Ilya Salkind and Alexander Salkind. Ilya wrote a story for a fifth film with Cary Bates and Mark Jones, in which Superman died, and was resurrected in the bottled city Kandor. It was not an adaptation of the famous “Death and Return of Superman” storyline, which it predated by about two years. (Kind of cool idea. A lot of people attached to this disaster of a film had “cool” ideas that went anywhere)

Robert Beatty (U.S. President) previously played the Tanker Commander in Superman III (1983). (A always love fictional president facts)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Mariel Hemingway)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects (Harrison Ellenshaw, John Evans)

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