Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) - Superman (Christopher Reeve)

Man of Steel is a blockbuster hit, but the movie that killed the franchise for two decades was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The movie cost $17 million to make and made a pitiful $15 million. Even Christopher Reeve called the film a "huge blow" to his career. Here are 25 things about the film you probably didn't know.

1. Christopher Reeve wore a wig to hide his receding hairline.

2. After the failure of Superman III and Supergirl (1984), producer Alexander Salkind assumed the franchise had run its course. He sold the movie rights to low-budget movie producer Cannon Pictures for $5 million.

3. The producers had no script when they asked Christopher Reeve to play Superman, but they let him develop the storyline.

4. Christopher Reeve had sworn off playing Superman again, but agreed to star in Superman IV because Cannon funded his crime drama Street Smart.

5. Street Smart was critically acclaimed and nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar,  but bombed because the studio didn't promote it.

6. The story of Superman fighting for peace was inspired by Christopher Reeve’s narration of a public television show on world peace.

7. Wes Craven was offered the director's job but he and Reeve had creative differences. Craven said Reeve was “kind of upper class.”

8. Gene Hackman refused to work on Superman III because of the way the studio had treated Richard Donner. But he and Margot Kidder agreed to work on Superman IV because of Reeve.

9. Warner Bros gave the producers $36 million, but Cannon Pictures only gave the filmmakers $17 million and used the rest to fund other projects. The first Superman movie cost $55 million.

10. Originally, Christopher Reeve was supposed to play the evil clone, like in Superman II, but they didn't have the budget for the split screen effects.

11. Mark Pillow, who played Nuclear Man (II) had hopes of becoming a bodybuilding actor like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was his first, and last, feature film role.

12. At the last minute they decided to have Gene Hackman record all Nuclear Man's lines and then have Pillow lip sync them on set. Pillow said this led to his "wooden performance."

13. They filmed an early fight scene with Lex Luthor's first attempt at the Nuclear Man (Clive Mantle) but they cut the scene because the special effects were terrible. His white skin and clownish behavior was inspired by the Superman villain Bizarro.

14. Clive Mantle went on to play Lord Greatjon Umber on Game of Thrones.

15. Superman IV called for three times the number of special effects shots than the first three Superman films combined...at a fraction of the budget.

16. The filmmakers planned six months to shoot the flying scenes, but the studio cut it to 30 days.

17. The studio couldn't afford filming Superman's walk to the U.N. in NewYork, so they filmed it in England's Milton Keynes Central railway station by using randomly placed fake fire hydrants and throwing pigeons into the shot.

18. The scene with Superman flying Lenny (Jon Cryer) and Lex Luthor in a convertible was done using a real car suspended 40 feet in the air by a crane with Christopher Reeve wired to the bottom.

19. Jon Cryer is a huge fan of the first film and hoped Superman IV would resurrect the franchise.

20. Stuntman John Lees was doing wire work during a fight scene when his harness snapped and he fell 25 feet to the ground. He suffered career ending injuries.

21. Gene Hackman mispronounced the word "Nuclear" throughout the film even after Jon Cryer tried to correct him.

22. According to Mariel Hemingway, during the Royal Premiere of Superman IV, Prince Charles wouldn't stop talking to her.

23. Christopher Reeve's flying suit from Superman IV sold for $35,000. This is almost half what Reeve's 1978 Superman costume sold for.

24. At the end of the film, Superman paraphrases Eisenhower saying, "there will be peace when the people of the world want it so much that their leaders will have no choice but to give it to them."

25. Because Superman IV bombed, Cannon Group Inc. canceled the next superhero movie they were working on: Spider-Man.

What's the most surprising thing on the list?

Please use the buttons below to tell your friends about this post. Click on the links to follow us for free by Email, RSS and follow us on Twitter @thegeektwins and like us on Facebook

    Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!


Pat Dilloway said...

When the studio is essentially embezzling almost $20M it's no wonder the movie sucks. It's too bad because nuclear disarmament was obviously something Reeve cared about.

Tony Laplume said...

I actually like Superman IV. But I also like Superman III. And prefer the Richard Donner cut of Superman II to the original theatrical one. And like Superman Returns. And Man of Steel, including the ending. I like Superman movies, basically...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That Prince Charles wouldn't stop talking is funny.
And the only thing anyone really needs to know about the film - it's awful.

Maurice Mitchell said...

That sums it up Alex.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Reeve's heart was in the right place but he just got caught with the wrong studio.


If I were John Lees I would want more than $422,000 for a career ending injury!

Maurice Mitchell said...

It's a little low hunh David?

Maurice Mitchell said...

Superman is always amazing

Rusty Carl said...

I knew almost none of this. I am a superman fan - but I did not enjoy this movie. At all.

Kelen Conley said...

This made The Dime Session! http://blog.bhyphen.com/2014/02/the-dime-session-22014.html

Fergun Conell said...

In the comics, Superman can act like a douche. But in real live, the people who make the movies can act worse, too.


Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!