The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?

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The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?
The Death of Superman Lives poster.jpg
Official release poster
Directed byJon Schnepp
Produced byHolly Payne
Written byJon Schnepp
StarringNicolas Cage
Tim Burton
Kevin Smith
Music byFrederick William Scott
CinematographyCarl Millard King
Edited byMarie Jamora
Jon Schnepp
Release date
  • May 1, 2015 (2015-05-01) (premiere)
  • July 9, 2015 (2015-07-09) (VOD)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? is a 2015 American documentary film written and directed by Jon Schnepp and produced by Holly Payne. It chronicles the behind-the-scenes events surrounding the cancelled Tim Burton film Superman Lives.[1] Funding for the documentary was partially raised through a successful Kickstarter campaign[2] and premiered on May 1, 2015 and was released through VOD on July 9, 2015.


The documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at the 1996–97 pre-production of Superman Lives, an intended reboot of the Superman film series based on the 1992 DC comic The Death of Superman, that was cancelled only three weeks before filming was set to begin in April 1998. In the film, Schnepp interviews several people involved with the development of the project and features numerous conceptual artwork and designs intended for the visual look of Superman Lives.

Pre Production

Tim Burton was planned to Direct the film and Jon Peters would Produce it. The Film would star [[Nicolas Cage| playing Superman and Christopher Walken rumored to play Braniac, Character’s Lex Luthor and Doomsday would also be in the film. Casting choices for Lois Lane were Courtney Cox and Sandra Bullock. Jon Peters stated he wanted Sandra to play the character.

Jon Peter’s Vision[edit]

According to writer Kevin Smith, Jon Peters didn't want Superman to fly or wear his red and blue costume, and he wanted Superman to fight a giant spider for the finale. When Peters was questioned in an interview about the no flying or no costume, Peters denied the claims saying they were false, but the giant spider finale he stated was true and said it would have been an amazing sequence in the movie.


Director Jon Schnepp interviews the following subjects in the film:


Critical reception for The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? has been predominantly positive.[3] The film currently holds an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 13 reviews, with an average of 7.2/10.[4][5] Forbes and The Hollywood Reporter both wrote positive reviews,[6] and The Hollywood Reporter commented that "Fanboys will relish this overstuffed doc about the Superman movie that never hit the screen".[7] IGN awarded it a score of 8 out of 10, saying, "But even if you come out of the documentary thankful the plug was pulled, the personalities involved and the story’s [sic] they tell are worthwhile and offer some great insight into just what a struggle it can be when so many people try to work together to pull off a film of this scope."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Toro, Gabe. "See Nicolas Cage As Superman In The Death Of Superman Lives' Trailer". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  2. ^ "The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?". Kickstarter. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  3. ^ Leane, Rob. "The Death Of Superman Lives: What Happened? review". Den of Geek. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  4. ^ "THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN LIVES: WHAT HAPPENED? (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Nordling Reviews THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN LIVES: WHAT HAPPENED?". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  6. ^ Hughes, Mark (2 May 2015). "Review: 'The Death Of Superman Lives' Proves Nicolas Cage Could Fly". Forbes. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  7. ^ Farber, Stephen. "'The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  8. ^ "The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? Review – IGN". 2015-07-24. Retrieved 2016-02-08.

External links[edit]