"The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?" Documentary Kickstarter

"The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?" Documentary Kickstarter

Have you ever wondered why Tim Burton's "SUPERMAN LIVES" movie never saw the light of day? Well one fan is setting out to make a documentary and you can help fund the making of it!

Click here to help fund this project!

The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? is a Feature Length Documentary about the unmade movie "Superman Lives". This film, out of all the various attempts to make a Superman movie between 1987 and 2006, would have stood the test of time and become a bonafide Cult Classic nowadays. I am not alone with my intense interest in knowing everything I can about this project, and so now I'm embarking on making a Documentary that will cover everything ever made for this film, from interviewing as many people as I can who were involved, to including actually recreating scenes from the script!!!

I’ve been interested in this film since it was first announced back in the late 90’s. Nicolas Cage was announced as Superman, Kevin Smith was announced as the Writer, Tim Burton was announced as the Director, and fans have had very heavy opinions, both positive and negative, on all of this. As news slowly bubbled out, news buzzed around about Rainbow Robot Outfits, Brainiac Skull ships, Superman not "flying", Fighting a Giant Spider, Polar Bears guarding the Fortress of Solitude. It all sounded so crazy, so weird, so different, that I honestly was hoping that they would actually make it, just so we would have something different from what had come before. It never happened. Cut to almost 15 years later, and I really wish I could slap that “Superman Lives” disc into my player, and watch this guaranteed weird, strange, and original new take on the mythology of the Superman character. By this time, whether it was a success or failure at the box office, It would have for sure been a cult classic, due mainly to its inspired casting, and its tremendous bravery in it’s attempt to merge toy sales with the weirdness.


I have been working professionally in the world of media for over 15 years now, writing, producing and directing shows that many of you have heard about. Some have even achieved cult status themselves ( Upright Citizens Brigade, Metalocalypse, The Venture Bros ). This will be my first feature length documentary, but over the years I’ve had plenty of experience in doing interviews, talking on camera and specifically editing interviews. I was a featured guest in Morgan Spurlock’s “ComicConIV: A Fans Hope", I’ve edited over a dozen episodes of "Space Ghost Coast to Coast", and I’ve directed hundreds of Actors both in front of the camera and in "behind the scenes" docs, so I’m very prepared to make this documentary soar, both visually and with the talent involved!

I’m going to be interviewing as many Key Personnel that I can get in contact with, and I plan on getting everybody! In addition to delving into the making of “Superman Lives”, I’ll be focusing on the ideas, legends, and ever expanding mythos of Superman and the need for a superhuman character in our society and culture in general. By interviewing other Writers, Artists, Filmmakers, and Fans, I intend on asking more questions than could possibly be answered, but we are going to have lots of fun along the way!

Including myself, my Producer, my Cameramen and my Editor, we will be setting up interviews with all the key personnel, and will be travelling about to get the people when we can. I’ll have a music composer and sound designer, with additional ADR and Sound Booth Recording, and all finished HiDef with a 5.1 professional mix.


I hope that with the possible success of raising the money to make this feature documentary, that we also reach our additionally intended “Stretch Goal” of $50k, which will be used to actually produce and create several key scenes and moments from the “Superman Lives” scripts, using the incredible graphic ideas generated by the many designers and artists. I will also hire artists to make 3D models, build Practical Models, design Backgrounds, animate Lasers (very important!), make Brainiac's eyes glow inside a giant floating SkullShip, and to composite very cool action flying shots. I'm going to direct these scenes in the spirit of the unmade Burton Version, and hope to be able to create some crazy "Superman Lives" Scenarios! For these reasons, that’s the budget needed to make this project, and that's where you come in!


With your help, I will have a finished cut of “The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?” finished and a World Premiere Screening by the time of the 2013 San Diego Comic Convention, and ready to screen it to the entire world after that! Once we get funded, I’ll be posting monthly updates on the progress I’m making, who we interviewed that month, and keeping you in the loop with Exclusive Kickstarter Video Updates!

Thank you for your support!

-Jon Schnepp

John Wilbanks
Posted By:
Member Since 1/28/2010
Filed Under "Superman" 1/25/2013 Source: Kickstarter
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INSTANTJUSTICE - 1/25/2013, 10:21 AM

That's a lot of dough for a documentary.

JohnWilbanks - 1/25/2013, 10:24 AM
I just helped fund at the $40.00 dollar level. I think it will be interesting to see it, especially if he gets to interview all of the people he says he will in the video...
ManofSteel23 - 1/25/2013, 10:29 AM
I'd watch it,just to see how [frick]ing weird and stupid it would have been,and would of probably killed superman at the movies permanently for a long long time
CavEl - 1/25/2013, 10:30 AM
With the exclusion of the Animated Series and L&C, the 90s were not a very good decade for Supes.
EdGross - 1/25/2013, 10:30 AM
Not only is it a lot money - and despite the fact I applaud the notion of doing this - but there is NO WAY that Warner Bros. is going to allow this documentary to happen using THEIR artwork (don't forget, they paid for everything that was done in the development of this project). And then shooting sequences from the Kevin Smith script? Uh... isn't that a copyright issue?

Hey, I hope it happens, but the way it's laid out in the video, it just sounds like a major legal nightmare.
jessepostal - 1/25/2013, 10:31 AM
What people do with their money is their own business, but I wanna hear a valid reason to give your money to this.
DRMidNite - 1/25/2013, 10:31 AM
I'm with tea on this.
DCjohnny - 1/25/2013, 10:39 AM
glad that Tim Burton's superman lives got canceled

imagine Nicolas cage as superman...eeuw
TonyChu - 1/25/2013, 10:45 AM
Just watch that one hour sit in with Kevin Smith on YouTube, he explains why this did not happen and how ludicrous some of the ideas were. For instance Superman would not fly, he would have to fight a giant spider, and polar bears were to defend the Fortress of Solitude.
KeefNCookies - 1/25/2013, 10:45 AM
AHAHAHAHAHA... good God... who in the world would wonder why, let alone pay for a documentary? This is the funniest thing I've seen in a long, long time.
pud333 - 1/25/2013, 10:51 AM
I didn't realize Nic Cage named his kid Kal-El. I'm as big a Superman fan as the next guy, but holy crap, that is just cruel.
typicalfanboy - 1/25/2013, 11:18 AM
Making the movie is one thing, making a profit from it is where the lawyers come in. This looks like the former.

It's like if you and 3 friends wanted to make a fan film using this story. Each of you put in $1k, make the movie with no intention of making profit.
EdGross - 1/25/2013, 11:21 AM
True, but will he be able to play this documentary at Comic-Con? It will be interesting to see. Like I said, I'm not against the idea, I just wonder how it's going to work.
INSTANTJUSTICE - 1/25/2013, 11:37 AM
EdGross: "Not only is it a lot money - and despite the fact I applaud the notion of doing this - but there is NO WAY that Warner Bros. is going to allow this documentary to happen using THEIR artwork (don't forget, they paid for everything that was done in the development of this project). And then shooting sequences from the Kevin Smith script? Uh... isn't that a copyright issue?"

Using the sampled work as part of an historical, not for profit, documentary should not be a problem, if they were utilising the material as part of a feature film, it would.

Though I don't see how they couldn't license it if Warners actually want to release it and make money too.
RexDartEskimoSpy - 1/25/2013, 1:02 PM
What happened? The execs at WB ran out of cocaine for a couple of days and said "What the f*ck were we thinking? This would've been a dissaster!"
thewolfx - 1/25/2013, 1:21 PM
Why in gods name would anyone with common sense fund this guys odd hardon for this dumbass vision of superman.

They only thing smart about tims vision was braniac
Nemeres - 1/25/2013, 1:31 PM
I can't believe there's more than one person other than me who's obsessed with this thing to the point of still remembering it when no one else does. It's a [frick]ing great idea and I can't wait to see it. I just wish he would cover all the failed Superman projects, not just Lives, but I'm guessing that would require even more green.
ArtisticErotic - 1/25/2013, 1:41 PM
This would have killed Superman in the say way that Batman and Robin killed the Batman movie franchise before Begins.
npkuiper - 1/25/2013, 1:43 PM
That's an expensive ceace and desist letter. No way WB will allow this to be made. NO, just because it is a documentary and not for profit that doesn't mean you have the ability to infringe on copyright. Just by using the S symbol they could face the wrath of Warner Bros. That being said, maybe WB will make an official doc one day "A Filmmaker's Apocolypse: Superman Lives."
ThatWanker - 1/25/2013, 3:10 PM
Has nobody ever read this?


It's all in this book.
Freek - 1/25/2013, 3:20 PM
"it would have been a cult classic" Yeah like Joel Schmaucher's Batman, right. Glad that saw the light of day.
JustinMSalvato - 1/25/2013, 3:24 PM
What happened?? It was a horrible idea and people got wind of it.

Now save your money and cancel the kickstarter.
rbfn04 - 1/25/2013, 3:57 PM
Tim Burton happened.
oldnoname - 1/25/2013, 4:08 PM
Maybe they saw Nicky in the suit looking shitty as [frick] and immediately passed on it

DioFoRio - 1/25/2013, 4:10 PM
I would love to see this. I like shit like this. And from some of the Kevin Smith stories , I'd like to see the people behind this clusterphuk interviewed. Shit will be funny I'm sure.
DarthLaney - 1/25/2013, 5:38 PM
This movie marks a special point in WB history. An executive came to the realisation that the movie looked terrible... And the other execs actually listened.
toyman81 - 1/25/2013, 5:41 PM
Do you think Michael Bay's Ninja Turtle would work something like this one?
BaneFTW - 1/25/2013, 5:43 PM
It's really not THAT much money for the scale he's trying to accomplish. Clerks was made for almost 30k back in '93 which would be about 50k if it were made today. Nothing is cheap, kids... especially movies.
Ancar - 1/25/2013, 6:20 PM
I think he started wrong showing a lot of concept art from the Superman movie that would be directed by McG in this presentation.
JULEZ13 - 1/25/2013, 6:48 PM

But, I like the guys enthusiasm and after watching the video I would love for him to make this doc!

He makes the movie sound like it was gonna be really cool. Only problems with it were Tim Burton directing and Nic Cage playing Superman (who the F**K ever thought that was a good idea!?!?!).

Sandra Bullock as Lois Lane!?! LOL Never heard of that but its not much of a stretch, she has the personality. Still much better than Amy Adamns!
mgeoff88 - 1/25/2013, 8:28 PM
I don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Tim Allen as Brainiac!? Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen!?

And let's not forget Nic Cage as Clark Kent/Superman!?! Are you [frick]ing kidding me???

@JULEZ The movie would've killed the Superman on the big screen.
birdfists - 1/25/2013, 9:07 PM
Kevin Smith's script actually wasn't that terrible, I thought it was pretty good. Especially for the era that it took place in, and the things that the producer demanded.
JoeMomma29 - 1/25/2013, 9:45 PM
LOL this will die just like Super Man Lives!!!
UltimaRex - 1/26/2013, 5:28 AM
The only thing about this I want to see is the Nic Cage interview.

Superman Lives would have got Jon Peters off Superman sooner and killed the chances of Smallvile happening.

Superman Lives should have been made.
Nevermender - 1/26/2013, 6:20 AM
150k isn't astronomical for producing a documentary and he seems to have a lot of engaging ideas . It doesn't sound like a it's going to be a bunch of listening to people's gripes or lamentations. I'm excited to see this.
JULEZ13 - 1/26/2013, 10:52 AM
@mgeoff88 : Oh God! I know!!! This would've been worse than Batman & Robin. smh I would never want this to happen but if all that concept art he showed is from this film then I'm curious to hear about it.

I'm extremely grateful this isn't happening. Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen?? WTF. *FACEPALM*
Kalel59 - 1/26/2013, 11:45 AM
mgeoff88 - 1/26/2013, 8:45 PM
@JULEZ This movie would have made Batman & Robin look good!!! That is really bad to say!

We dodged a big Kryptonite bullet here!
JULEZ13 - 1/26/2013, 9:45 PM
@mgeoff88: LOL. Hell yeah.

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