Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is a 2006 American superhero film directed by Richard Donner. It is a re-edited director's cut of the 1980 theatrical version of Superman II, directed by Richard Lester, and serves as an alternate sequel to the 1978 film Superman. The film stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, and Marlon Brando in original footage filmed by Donner in 1977. The cut was supervised by Donner, creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz (who penned the 1977 shooting script for Superman II, on which the Donner cut is based), and Michael Thau, an editor who worked with Donner on the 2001 DVD director's cut and restoration of the 1978 film Superman.
Unlike many "special edition" and "director's cuts" released over the years, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is a very different film, despite both versions following roughly the same storyline. As much as half of the film contains never-before seen material filmed by Donner, including 15 minutes of Marlon Brando scenes as Superman's father Jor-El as well as numerous new Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder scenes. Some of this "new" material has appeared in earlier extended television cuts. Some of the existing scenes were also replaced with alternative takes or footage from different camera angles. There are also several newly filmed shots and many new visual effects. Richard Donner is credited as director of the film instead of Richard Lester. More than half of Lester's footage filmed for Superman II has been removed from the film and replaced with Donner footage shot during the original principal photography from 1977. Certain footage filmed by Richard Lester remains in sequences that were not shot by Donner (due to the halt in production for this film) for purposes of story cohesion. As a result, approximately 83% of the footage in the film is Donner's footage.
The film was released on DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 28, 2006.
Donner footage in Superman II
The following is a list of all major Donner footage that was retained for Superman II:
- Lex Luthor in prison, including the escape by balloon.
- The three super-villains land on the moon and kill the astronauts.
- Lex Luthor at the Fortress of Solitude.
- The three super-villains attack the White House and force the President to "kneel before Zod."
- A powerless Clark is beaten up by Rocky, a truck driver in a fast-food diner (Donner appears as an extra in this sequence).
- Lex Luthor visits the super-villains in the White House.
- The villains burst into the Daily Planet and chase after Superman (some close-ups are Lester footage).
- The villains return to the Planet and decide to go to Superman's polar fortress (some close-ups are Lester footage).
- The second part of the final scene at the Fortress of Solitude, beginning with Luthor's belated arrival (some close-ups are Lester footage).
- Clark returns to the diner and gets his revenge on the truck driver.
The rest of the film, including the opening scenes at the Eiffel Tower, some part of the scenes at Niagara Falls, the scenes of the super-villains in Midwest America and the battle in Metropolis were all shot by Lester. Several television stations have broadcast extended cuts over the years. These have largely featured additional Donner material including footage of Superman destroying the Fortress of Solitude at the conclusion of the film, as well as extra scenes between Lois and Superman.
- Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut at the Internet Movie Database
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