According to Margot Kidder, she and Christopher Reeve did not get along during filming. Kidder states that Reeve’s ego was inflated because he co-wrote the story.128 of 129 found this interesting | Share thisChristopher Reeve publicly regretted his involvement in the film. He stated, “Superman IV was a catastrophe from start to finish. That failure was a huge blow to my career.”168 of 171 found this interesting | Share thisWes Craven was set to direct, but was replaced after creative differences with star Christopher Reeve.93 of 94 found this interesting | Share thisThe failure of this film at the box office prompted The Cannon Group Inc., to cancel a planned production of “Spider-Man”.88 of 89 found this interesting | Share thisThe movie’s original budget was $36 million. Just before filming was to begin, The Cannon Group, Inc., which was experiencing financial problems, slashed the budget to $17 million. The filmmakers cut corners by doing things like re-using special effects.71 of 72 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Nuclear Man was being developed, Christopher Reeve was approached to play that part as Superman’s polar opposite, or a darker version of Bizarro.62 of 63 found this interesting | Share thisRichard Donner, who’d been fired from Superman II (1980), was offered the director’s chair; he declined. Donner, at the time who was originally directing the first two Superman movies, was planning to make and produce at least four Superman films.79 of 81 found this interesting | Share thisIn Christopher Reeve’s autobiography, Still Me, Reeve only refers to Superman IV in this one sentence: “The less said about Superman IV the better.”30 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisStuntman John Lees suffered career-ending injuries when working on the moon scenes, leading to a subsequent court case.58 of 60 found this interesting | Share thisThe vast majority of the external scenes were filmed in and around Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. Producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus couldn’t afford to shoot in New York City.44 of 45 found this interesting | Share thisChristopher Reeve agreed to play Superman for the fourth time if the studio financed his project, Street Smart (1987).56 of 58 found this interesting | Share thisThe Cannon Group, Inc., thinking that they had a potential blockbuster on their hands, cut the two-hour-plus film down to a lean ninety minutes, so that theater owners could have more screenings per day, and potentially make more money that would eventually filter back to the studio.36 of 37 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to Margot Kidder, Christopher Reeve and director Sidney J. Furie did not get along at all.36 of 37 found this interesting | Share thisThe film was both a critical and commercial failure, with many reviewers criticizing the cheap visual effects, inconsistencies, lack of originality, and plot holes.33 of 34 found this interesting | Share thisNuclear Man has only 11 lines. However, in deleted scenes, he has 3 more lines of dialogue. Which brings a total of 14 lines, if the scenes are added back together.42 of 44 found this interesting | Share thisBefore this film was released, The Cannon Group, Inc. began planning a fifth film, directed by Albert Pyun. When Cannon went bankrupt, Superman’s film rights reverted to Ilya Salkind and Alexander Salkind. Ilya wrote a story for a fifth film with Cary Bates and Mark Jones, in which Superman dies and is resurrected in the bottled city Kandor. It was not an adaptation of the famous “Death and Return of Superman” story arc, which it predated by about two years.21 of 21 found this interesting | Share thisChristopher Reeve approached Tom Mankiewicz, creative consultant for the first two Superman films, to pen the screenplay for this film. He declined, but suggested for this film that Superman deal with a human conflict that even his superpowers can’t control. It formed the basis of Superman challenging the nuclear arms race.21 of 21 found this interesting | Share thisWhen the film was cut from 134 minutes to 90 minutes, the producers considered using the deleted footage as the groundwork for a fifth film.48 of 51 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to Mark Pillow, he found Christopher Reeve to be quite an intense person during the shooting. However, Pillow stated what a joy it was to work alongside Gene Hackman.20 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisChristopher Reeve‘s flying harness was concealed under a larger version of the red shorts he wore for the costume, making his waist look bigger. In previous Superman movies, the bigger waist was hidden by the cape, quick cuts, or creative camera angles. In this movie, the bigger waist is clearly visible, leading some reviewers to speculate that the thicker waist was Reeve’s actual waistline.47 of 50 found this interesting | Share thisOriginally, the film had two Nuclear Men. The first, dubbed Nuclear Man 1, wore a black costume. His scenes were filmed, but eventually cut, allegedly because previews revealed several serious visual effects errors. The deleted footage was considered for a fifth Superman film.38 of 40 found this interesting | Share thisIn the original script, Superman was supposed to rebuild the Great Wall of China at super speed, but when money problems emerged, they had Superman use his “magical rebuilding power” (which had been completely made up for the film). It required only that Director Sidney J. Furie run the camera in reverse, rather than a complicated super-speed scene.45 of 48 found this interesting | Share thisJon Cryer, who played Lenny in this film would return to DC in 2018 as Lex Luthor in Supergirl (2015).36 of 38 found this interesting | Share thisA scene cut out of the U.S. theatrical version featured Superman saving a group of Soviet Generals from a nuclear missile in Moscow. The scene appears on the video release, but not on the DVD.33 of 35 found this interesting | Share thisThis is Mark Pillow‘s only film appearance.61 of 69 found this interesting | Share thisThis is the only Superman film from the Christopher Reeve era where Clark Kent changes to Superman in a phone booth. The Superman films made since this film have not featured this signature scene yet.38 of 42 found this interesting | Share thisMuch of the special effects crew that worked on the first three films and Supergirl (1984) were hired during pre-production, but eventually left following salary disputes. Only Roy Field would remain loyal to the production.32 of 35 found this interesting | Share thisSupergirl (1984) is not mentioned anywhere during the film. The spin-off film was released between Superman III (1983) and this film. Christopher Reeve was originally going to make a cameo in the film, but passed.31 of 34 found this interesting | Share thisAt the end of the film, Superman says to Lex Luthor as he’s dropping him back off in the prison quarry, “See you in twenty”. Superman and Lex wouldn’t appear in a feature film together until Superman Returns (2006).36 of 40 found this interesting | Share thisThe shots of Superman using his “wall rebuilding vision” to repair the Great Wall of China, are just re-purposed footage of him waving at the people, in fact it’s the same shot used twice, with it being mirrored the second time to hide the fact that it’s repeated (this is apparent from the parting in Superman’s hair switching sides between shots). He was originally scripted to fix it at super speed but the VFX budget couldn’t accommodate that effect.24 of 26 found this interesting | Share thisAn enlarged Daily Planet front page hanging in the Daily Planet building’s lobby reads “Superman Saves Chemical Plant from Fire.” Superman did so in Superman III (1983).23 of 25 found this interesting | Share thisNuclear Man was an updated version of Atom Man, a villain that first appeared on the Superman radio show, and was adapted for the serial “Atom Man Vs Superman”.26 of 29 found this interesting | Share thisNo soundtrack release to this film was released for over twenty years until Film Score Monthly issued an 8-CD box set called “Superman: The Music (1978-1988)”, which presents the complete score to this movie.24 of 27 found this interesting | Share thisThe Cannon Group, Inc. was in severe financial trouble by the mid 80s. They bought the rights to Superman, hoping the film would save them. The finished picture ended up being another costly failure.24 of 27 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Superman makes his speech at the end of the film, he paraphrases Dwight D. Eisenhower when he says, “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.”35 of 41 found this interesting | Share thisChristopher Reeve (Superman / Clark Kent), Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Jackie Cooper (Perry White) and Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen) are the only actors to appear in all four “Superman” films. Of these, McClure was the only one to appear in Supergirl (1984).27 of 31 found this interesting | Share thisTrevor Howard and Harry Andrews were asked to reprise their roles as the Elders from Superman (1978), but were not free.19 of 21 found this interesting | Share thisMarc McClure, having appeared as Jimmy Olsen in the past three Superman films (Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), and Superman III (1983)) and Supergirl (1984) is the first actor to have played the same comic book character in five films. Although this record would be tied many times (Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men: First Class (2011), Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Avengers Assemble (2012), and Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man in Iron Man 3 (2013)), it would not be surpassed until Jackman played Wolverine for a sixth time in The Wolverine (2013), released nearly 26 years after this film.47 of 57 found this interesting | Share thisAccording to his biography, Richard Lester was offered the chance to direct the movie, but declined. It is unknown whether he or Richard Donner was asked first.26 of 30 found this interesting | Share thisChristopher Reeve suggested to Cannon to hire Ron Howard to direct this film. However, Ron Howard was unavailable due to pre-production of “Willow.”14 of 15 found this interesting | Share thisIn the original screenplay, by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, Nuclear Man was able to change shape, and expand in size.20 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisDC Comics’ release of “Superman IV” includes the first Nuclear Man, as well as more scenes of Jeremy.16 of 19 found this interesting | Share thisThe final Superman film, in the Salkind period version, and the only one not to be shot at Pinewood Studios, from this period. The infamous Superman IV would be shot at the Cannon Elstree Film Studios, as by 1987 the Salkinds sold the Rights onto Cannon Films, who had themselves by then had acquired the old EMI Elstree Studios, previously known the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film base, which in turn would ultimately lead to half of Elstree Studios being demolished for the Tesco Supermarket in Borehamwood.6 of 6 found this interesting | Share thisThis film would be the last film in the series and the last “Superman” movie for 19 years. An unofficial 5th film Superman Returns (2006), which ignores “Superman III” and “Superman IV”, was released in 2006, 2-years after the death of Christopher Reeve. Brandon Routh replaced Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent, Kate Bosworth took over the role of Lois Lane from Margot Kidder and Kevin Spacey succeeded Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor.30 of 40 found this interesting | Share thisThe music track used in the deleted scenes featuring Clive Mantle as the Nuclear Man prototype, is actually the theme tune for the British children’s television show Bric-A-Brac (1980).16 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisThis was Robert Beatty‘s final film before his death on March 3, 1992 at the age of 82.18 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisThis was Esmond Knight‘s final film before his death on February 23, 1987 at the age of 80. He died five months prior to the film’s release.11 of 13 found this interesting | Share thisWhen Jeremy appears at the press conference, his response to the reporters is “I wish Superman would’ve said yes.” The Daily Planet publishes the headline as “Superman Says Drop Dead to Kid!” In 1975, when New York City was facing bankruptcy, Mayor Abraham Beame asked the government for a federal bailout, and President Gerald Ford gave a speech denying federal assistance to New York City, and the New York Daily News published the story with the headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead”, misquoted words which Ford never himself said when turning down New York City’s request for federal relief.11 of 13 found this interesting | Share thisRobert Beatty (U.S. President) previously played the Tanker Commander in Superman III (1983).15 of 20 found this interesting | Share thisThe theatrical version of the film only runs for ninety minutes. Consequently, it is the second shortest “Superman” film, after Superman and the Mole-Men (1951), which ran for 58 minutes.18 of 25 found this interesting | Share thisThis is the only one of the four Christopher Reeve “Superman” films in which Shane Rimmer does not appear.15 of 23 found this interesting | Share thisThe offices for the Daily Planet subsequently became the Argos head office.4 of 5 found this interesting | Share thisTo clarify some of the confusion surrounding whether or not Richard Donner turned down the chance to direct this film, Cannon Films did en quire as to getting him back on-board as director. However even if he was interested (which is unclear) his schedule would not have permitted it as filming on Lethal Weapon (1987) would have clashed with this film. Therefore he politely wrote to Cannon Films to tell them that he was not available for directing duties but thanked them for their interest.1 of 1 found this interesting | Share thisIn the film, Lex Luthor has a nephew called Lenny. The name Lenny is possibly derived from Lena, Lex’s sister in the comics. In the Pre-Crisis canon, Lena had a son named Val Colby. Val first appeared in ‘Lex Luthor’s Outlaw Nephew!’ (Adventure Comics #387, December 1969) where he busted his Uncle Lex out of a maximum security prison.Is this interesting? | Share thisLacy Warfield like Cat Grant, in the comics, is romantically interested in Clark, though Lacy does it to prove to Lois that “all men are attracted to [her]” because she’s “very, very rich”.Is this interesting? | Share thisAfter Superman catches the Statue of Liberty and flies it back to its pedestal, he’s seen flying east over Manhattan – by the positions of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings – when he should be flying south toward Liberty Island.Is this interesting? | Share this
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.Superman IV is the only film in the Christopher Reeve series to show Clark Kent change into his Superman costume in a phone booth. This has long been a tradition in the comics.Is this interesting? | Share thisNuclear Man initially defeats Superman by infecting him with some form of radioactive poisoning. This concept may have its basis in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986), where a nuclear blast reduces Superman to a similarly weakened condition.
Eventually Superman recovers his strength and defeats Nuclear Man by pushing the moon in front of the sun and causing a solar eclipse, thereby blocking off his opponent’s source of power. Superman pushed the moon in a similar manner during his battle against Hercules in ‘Superman’s Battle With Hercules!’ (Actions Comics #268, September 1960).
Having defeated Nuclear Man, Superman then captures Lex and Lenny. The image of him lifting a criminal’s car into the air has been used in countless comics. In fact the cover of Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the very first Superman comic ever published, featured such an image.Is this interesting? | Share thisA subplot in the movie sees the Daily Planet being bought by an unethical news mogul. This has parallels with a story arc from the early 1970s where Morgan Edge purchased the Daily Planet and brought it under his Galaxy Broadcasting umbrella. Edge butted heads with Perry White and had no qualms about throwing his weight around, just like David Warfield does in the movie. In that regard, Warfield can be seen as a loose analogue of Edge.Is this interesting? | Share thisOne of the film’s most memorable images is that of Superman’s cape being separated from him and flapping in the breeze, symbolizing his ultimate defeat. This same type of imagery was used in the Doomsday storyline and on the classic Superman #75 cover from January 1993. This could be an example of the movie influencing the comics.Is this interesting? | Share thisThe original plan was for Christopher Reeve to play Nuclear Man, but this idea was ultimately scrapped due to budgetary limitations and time constraints. Had this idea gone ahead, the parallels between Nuclear Man and the Bizarro clone would have been even stronger.
Nuclear Man is actually Luthor’s second attempt at cloning Superman. There is a deleted sequence from the film depicting the creation and death of the first imperfect clone. And this clone bore a notable resemblance to John Byrne‘s version of Bizarro.
Another comic character that may have influenced Nuclear Man is the sand creature Superman that appeared during a story arc in 1971. This entity debuted in ‘Superman Breaks Loose’ (Superman #233, January 1971), in which Superman was caught in the blast from a nuclear reactor meltdown. The resultant bombardment of k-radiation created a sand copy of Superman that would return to haunt the Man of Steel in numerous subsequent issues.
The first time Superman encountered the sand creature was in Superman #234 (February 1971). Superman was trying to tame an erupting volcano. Then the sandman Superman showed up and entered the volcano.
The fight scenes between Superman and Nuclear Man visually recall the Superman vs. Bizarro fight in Superman: The Man of Steel.Is this interesting? | Share thisBy the end of the film Superman has realized the folly of his actions. He delivers a public address where he states it isn’t his place to impose peace on the people of Earth. Instead the humans themselves must strive for peace if they are to avoid nuclear annihilation. This is the same conclusion he arrives at in the aforementioned Superman #408.Is this interesting? | Share thisSuperman IV was produced at the height of the Cold War and reflects the fears many people had at the time regarding the threat of nuclear war. The central plot sees the Man of Steel vowing to rid the Earth of all nuclear weapons in the hopes of preventing such a conflict from occurring. The film’s central themes are similar to those explored in ‘The Day the Earth Died!’ (Superman #408, June 1985).
This story sees Superman mulling over the prospect of nuclear war and considering whether or not he should intervene in human affairs. The inspiration of a child ultimately shows him the error of his ways and gives him hope for the future of mankind. The main difference between that comic book and Superman IV is that in the movie he actually does attempt to rid the world of nuclear weapons.Is this interesting? | Share thisThere’s a scene in which after Nuclear Man sets off a volcano in what appears to be Sicily, Superman slices off the top of a mountain and uses it like a cork to stem the flow of lava. Superman did something similar in ‘The Tricks of Lois Lane!’ (Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane Vol 1 #11, August 1959).Is this interesting? | Share this