Although not intended to be seen by the public, costume test photos of Nicolas Cage were leaked to the web, resulting in mockery by fans of the notion Cage could be a credible Superman. This, along with other factors, may have led to Warner Brothers pulling the plug on the Tim Burton production.
It was announced with great fanfare. Back in 1998, a theatrical blockbuster titled Superman Lives was to go into release through Warner Brothers with red-hot Tim Burton in the director's chair and Nicolas Cage starring as the legendary D.C. Comics hero. Kevin Smith would be among those contributing to the screenplay. Then, after sinking $30 million into the heavily-hyped production, Warners pulled the plug on the film. The exact reasons remain murky and now an independent filmmaker, Joe Schnepp, is raising funds on-line for a documentary about the Supey would-be blockbuster that never was. Many people attribute the cancellation of the film to the failure of the mega-budgeted Batman and Robin, which also sunk that franchise for a number of years before it was revitalized by director Christopher Nolan. Burton himself theorized that his version of Superman may have been deemed "too dark", a notion he now finds ironic, given the overwhelmingly depressing mood of the Nolan Batman movies. Superman spawned two major hit films in 1978 and 1980 for Warner Brothers. Both starred Christopher Reeve. The third Reeve film, Superman III, released in 1983, was successful but turned off fans with its silly storyline featuring Richard Pryor. A relatively low-budget 1987 flick sub-titled The Quest for Peace was an outright bomb. The next time Superman would appear on film was in the 2006 production Superman Returns. The movie was only modestly successful, but the Man of Steel will get another chance to lure fans to theaters later this year with the appropriately titled Man of Steel. For more on the checkered screen history of Superman click here