Watch the $10 Million Deleted Opening of 'Superman Returns'

Thursday, 28 July 2011 08:48 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Watch the $10 Million Deleted Opening of 'Superman Returns'

The title of Bryan Singer's 2006 Superman Returns referred not just to the Big Blue Boy Scout's first big screen adventure in almost twenty years, but also to the film's premise that Superman was back on Earth after disappearing into outer space for five years.  The theatrical film opens with credits referencing Richard Donner's 1978 Superman, then a scene or two later shows Supes crash-landing in Smallville.  The original opening sequence, which was filmed but cut, is said to have cost in the neighborhood of $10 million.  The dialogue-free, five-minutes-and-change opening introduces Brandon Routh as Superman aboard a crystal spaceship exploring the ruins of Krypton, and it is now freely available for viewing for the first time online.

When the sequence was cut, Singer initially floated the idea of seeing it in some sort of extended cut, but when Superman Returns failed to make the desired commercial impact, that idea ceased to be in any way viable.  Eventually, the intro ended up on the elaborate, extras-filled Superman Anthology Blu-ray, but it's here thanks to The Hollywood Reporter.

Some snazzy production design by Guy Hendrix Dyas on display here.  Wondering about the giant S symbol and what it's doing on the ruins of Krypton?  In Donner's film (to which Singer's take is very much beholden), Marlon Brando sports the symbol, as it is actually the symbol of the House of El, and thusly represents Kal-El's Kryptonian heritage.

The film that this bit would've preceded focuses extensively on the loneliness of being the last Kryptonian, and everything here reinforces that, with his tiny spacecraft floating through desolate, silent space.  While it's an ambitious sequence, it underlines the problems that audiences had with Singer's take on the character, which was introspective and nostalgic rather than action-packed and modern.  For Singer's thoughts on the failure of Superman Returns to connect, check this out.

Having abandoned Singer's take, Warner Bros next crack at the character, Man of Steel, is nearing the start of production under director Zack Snyder for a release on June 14, 2013.

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