'Superman Returns' director on what went wrong
April 18th, 2011
07:02 PM ET

'Superman Returns' director on what went wrong

With so much buzz surrounding Zack Snyder's upcoming "Man of Steel," it's almost easy to forget director Bryan Singer's 2006 reboot "Superman Returns." Singer himself admits that his film didn't exactly soar at the box office.

"I know it’s hard to blame the time, but there’s a bit of an expectation for a summer movie. I think that 'Superman Returns' was a bit nostalgic and romantic, and I don’t think that was what people were expecting, especially in the summer," he tells VoicesFromKrypton.com of the film, which starred Brandon Routh in the title role.

"What I had noticed is that there weren’t a lot of women lining up to see a comic book movie, but they were going to line up to see 'The Devil Wears Prada,' which may have been something I wanted to address," he says.

Singer now believes that showing Superman's softer side worked against the movie, and he should have cut the lovey-dovey stuff.

"If I was going to do another one, it would be a reboot. I would go back and redo the original… It would be a much less romantic, more b—-to-the-wall action movie," he says. "It would be a very different pace than 'Superman Returns,' which I can say at this point because I have distance from it now."

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soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Ororo

    Just because it made money doesn't mean it was good.

    January 12, 2014 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ororo

    singer was a lucky to be adopted by rich Jewish people it's the only reason he is where he is today. He was also lucky to get to direct and write x1 and x2 because at the time we really had nothing to compare them to. Which means because of the money they made one could consider them successful. Even though in reality they were bad. It's all about money, not good writing or the integrity of the original material. Furthermore this made him look like box office gold which is why he gets to direct so many super hero films. Until the sheep stop being told what to think and what good is, we will continue to have bad movies. Profit is first creativity is last.

    January 12, 2014 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. soaponapope

    this is just sad, it's not even a proper explanation, it's like he's blaming the audience for not being sophisticated enough to appreciate his complex super-drama. "Oh they just wanted lots of action, I should have noticed that and dumbed down my incredibly mind-bending intelligent film." LOL. no, it was awful because it was extremely poorly written, the cast was god awful, and it was this typical Singer over-use of dramatic orchestral scores drowning out the visuals of and completely distracting from every single scene.. that is when the overacting and cheesy, predictable dialogue wasn't distracting you already.

    your movies suck, superman returns sucked, you suck, go away

    March 12, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. drugama

    Hey guys, the one thing they need to do to make Superman work is move on, from trying to break out of the Origin, and bring in the real heavy hitter bad guys like Doomsday, or Darkseid.

    April 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Superman

    My favorite part was when the scientist told Superman he could see Krypton through his teliscope and Superman decides that he should fly there to find out ... and not look through the freakin teliscope himself....
    The script should have never been approved. The entire story was poorly thought out and poorly written

    April 20, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sloozebury

    Wish they would just make feature length Superman movies using the Smallville cast. They're good.

    April 20, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. portalpunk

    Here is a story on superman


    April 20, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jerry Chandler

    No, Bryan, your film was bad because –

    You hired a guy who looked like kind of like Christopher Reeve and had him act and sound like him (up to using lines from the old movie) and just ended up reminding fans that he wasn't Christopher Reeve.

    The plot was garbage.

    Superman as deadbeat dad/absentee father/creepy super stalker.

    The villain's story arc was weak (and garbage.)

    Bryan Singer has done some great films. This was far, far away from being even close to one of them.

    April 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. deshawn

    I agree with the other poster the 1970s superman film was bad it sucks simply because it altered everything about supes and Returns wasn't even considered bad it's like return of the jedi considered fine when it came out but years later it's rating hs gone down and the box office is called weak and besides half the budget was from failed superman films by burotn and kevin smith so in reality if you just do returns cost without that then it was a pretty good success that's why he didn't understand why it was called a bomb because when you look at it's budget it made plenty for a sequel.

    April 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rehan Sheikh

    Superman from the 1970s is in fact one of the greatest films ever made. Christopher Reeve is the best Superman ever. Anyone that thinks otherwise clearly needs their heads checked. I watched it as a kid many times and still watch it when I get time. Not only the 1st one but also the sequels.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Superhiro

      I don't get how people who liked the 1970s Superman can get past the awful awful AWFUL ending. Flying around the planet to turn back time? It just makes no sense on any level. How can fans of that movie just let that fly?

      April 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Samuel

    its been some time since this film came out and for Mr. Singer to speak out about what worked or didnt is kinda too little, too late. Superman fans want action! We know that Lois Lane is his squeeze as do most of america. By put unknow factors in their already touch and go relationship, was a huge mistake by the writers, the screenplay was not very strong. I dont blame Mr. Singer, he was just the director. His vision of how the film looked, filmed,and sounded was on point. Its weak, uneven story line was to blame!

    April 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ororo

      I love how you guys can blame the writing or story and not the director. He had the power to change the script or hire more writers. And often times they pic the writers. Singer should do made for TV movies that's where his trash belongs.

      January 12, 2014 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Zebula

    Maybe it could have some adults in it, too.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. huh

    never actually heard someone refer to themselves as a "troll" before- congratulations, you're now a meta loser

    April 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mormon

      'meta loser', awesome chief. I bet you're pimply and a college freshman...

      April 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. StarFox3

    I wouldn't be too worried about the the upcoming Superman movie being a flop... After all Christopher Nolan is going to be "godfathering" it!!! I'm curious to see how they scale his power this time... One Million? Prime? Silver Age?

    April 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dee

    Quite frankly, I enjoyed "Superman Returns", and that's coming from a huge Superman fan. I enjoyed the soundtrack. There are different takes. Even the comic book story lines change and vary.

    Everyone has different tastes and likes. There is no need to say the director "sucks". He doesn't suck, but made his version from his point of view of Superman. He shouldn't apologize nor regret it. It was an excellent version.

    April 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Oscar

    Superman Returns was not a reboot. It was a continuation of the first two movies while throwing out movies 3 and 4.

    Christopher Reeve was by far the best Superman ever. However Brandon Roth did an Extremely good job at playing a Christopher Reeve Superman.

    Now the rest of the cast for Superman Returns, can be debated, but Brandon Roth can not.

    Tom, saying Smallville is the best Superman dramatization is a joke right? That is the funniest thing I have heard in a very long time. Superman IV, was better than Smallville.

    April 19, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      People that hate on Smallville have most likely not watched the complete series. It started out as a generic CW show that I used to call "Superman's Creek". But, if you gave up after the formulaic and cheesy first couple seasons, I wouldn't blame you... but it gradually matured into a great show, albeit with some bad actors in many roles. The dynamic between Clark and Jonathan Kent was great, and Michael Rosenbaum is hands down the perfect Lex Luthor. With the exception of some of the more wild storylines later on, and the abysmal season 9 finale, I stand by Smallville as the best Superman realization to date.

      April 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Honestgoofy

    Here we go with a few people who disliked it and I mean just a few. mr. Singer is now trying to CYA and that upsets me. Stand behind your work it was awesome!!!
    As for those that said it floped... it cost $270 million to make and advertise and brought in over $390 MILLION!!! That is not a flop in anyones book!!!!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  18. Eh, it had a few good scenes

    Up to the end of the airplane scene Superman Returns was cool and had great potential. Spacey was better than Hackman as Luthor but I still think he should be played more closely toward John Shea's acting or the cartoon version than the way it's been played on the big screen.

    April 19, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  19. big

    I love all the insight that everyone is leaving, this is the stuff studios pay millions of dollars to consultants for and all they need to do is read this chain of blogs and they will 'get it'. But am i the only one who did not like the x-men franchise nor the superman returns. i think the best thing about the xmen was the last 30 mins of part two especially the cgi at the end. Also, they over did it with the score at the end, it seemed to never end for the last thirty minutes and all i wanted to do was scream

    April 19, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  20. B lo me

    2006 superman returns was the worst thing i ever saw with a superpowered love child now this director is robooting zod hollywood has no imagination

    April 19, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  21. John Book

    It left me feeling empty, no fun, no heart, just empty

    April 19, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  22. Brandon

    @ SynthChick87
    well said. you are my new favorite female Superman fan

    April 19, 2011 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  23. YesMan

    Brandon Routh was like a CGI Reeve statue with about ZERO acting ability. Singer had the right idea by "trying" to make this a better Superman III but utterly failed when he made the man of steel more like the man of peeping. Superman is an ALIEN with super human pseudo-DNA, we don't want a cry baby "want to be human" reluctant hero, we want a superhero with arch-enemies trying to kill what he stands for. Snyder, bring it on!

    April 19, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  24. Mark N.

    I enjoyed "Superman Returns". I think the idea of Superman leaving to see if there were any survivors of the Krypton disaster was a fitting psychological prelude to his finding out that he turns out not to be the last living descendent of Jor-El. I though Kevin Spacey was excellent as Lex Luthor, and the writers wisely did away with Ned Beatty's less-than-intelligent "Otis" from the 70's film and gave Luthor some truly menacing sidekicks. Even Gene Hackman's Luthor asked himself why he chose to surround himself with idiots. I was looking forward to seeing how they kept the "son of Superman" story going, but I guess we'll never know. Too bad. They'll probably kill off John Williams' score in the next one, and that will be a huge loss.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  25. Matthew Black

    The only thing really wrong with Singer's Superman Returns was Kate Bosworth. In his quest to make a Godlike being pine for a human woman (Lois) he chose a very beautiful and feminine actress – Bosworth – who otherwise lacked the the gutsy, go-getting energy of the Lois we know. Margot Kidder, Phyliss Coates, Noel Neil, Terry Hatcher and even Erica Durance GOT the character. Singer and especially Bosworth did NOT. Singer & Boswroth's Lois was beautiful, yes, but very bland. Brandon Routh was just fine as Superman/Kent. But the films overlong running time and a little bit too much looking back at the Reeve films held it back from truly flying. 'Superman Returns' ALMOST worked, but at least it had heart and soul. I fear the new version will be too dumbed-down with action & violence for the SAKE of action & violence. Zack Snyder: I implore you DO NOT make a feature-length bunch of CGI computer game graphics. Don't take away the Man Of Steel's soul.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  26. Jeff

    I really enjoyed Superman Returns. I saw nothing wrong with it and have watched it many times. But to each his or her own.

    April 19, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  27. eric

    Superman Returns was good to a point. The use of John Williams score was great and hooked me immediately. I was in for the ride. I liked Brandon Routh. He was a great extension for the Christopher Reeve films. The plane rescue was incredible and worked really well. Kevin Spacey was pretty good, too. What didn't work, Kate Bosworth (horrible casting), the kid and Lex Luthor's evil plan. Yes, I get that, in the earlier films, his whole thing was real estate but it was only menacing to Superman and it didn't provide a good opportunity for Superman to save the world.

    April 19, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  28. christopher

    I very much enjoyed Superman Returns. I thought it was a nice homage to Christopher Reeve and was similar in tone to Singer's X-Men movies which were successful because they brought a real human element to cartoon characters.
    The action sequences were spectacular and Brandon Routh did a good job as both Clark Kent and Superman.

    April 19, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  29. kanye

    They should cast Oprah as superman. Then it would be something to see. Without s huge black lady playimg the man of steel it is just going to be another lame boring remake.

    April 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Name*sean

    Branding routh was an excellent superman!!! Goin behind Christopher reeves, now those are some big shoes to fill. I hope the upcoming movie flops!!

    April 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evel Knievel

      Chris Reeve sure didn't need his shoes there at the end.

      April 18, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stacy

      While I don't hope the movie flops. But, I loved Brandon, he was perfect. People shouldn't blame the actor for a poor story line or writing. Brandon did have huge shoes to fill, and I really don't think bringing in a new actor is going to change that. It's all about money. Hollywood is dried up, if it's not a remake than it's the same actors time after time.

      April 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  31. B lo me

    Just make sure the next guy u pick 4 Superman has enough kielbasa to fill out the leotard! mmm yummy! i'm smackin my lips just thinkin bout the Man of Steel!

    April 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Superhiro

    Yea, brainiac for sure.

    April 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  33. B lo me

    Ok no luther no zod why dont they kill off superman by introducing doomsday or brainiac or bizarro any of those would be a better

    April 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Bruce

    The Boy Wonder of the X-Men films lost his way with The World's Greatest Super-Hero and seems to still not "get it". Successful movies come from the buzz generated by movie-goers. "Superman Returns" generated no such buzz and as a result, its audiences dwindled.

    Its plots and subplots, retreads from the Donner Superman film(s); poor casting led by the weak Routh (even Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor was a disappointment – a difficult feat); disturbing elements (Superman & Lois spawning a super-kid based on their coupling in "Superman II"; Superman as a peeping tom, spying on the married Lois; a dog eating another dog...) and even a ridiculous take on the Superman uniform – made it a loser all-around.

    Singer is misguided to think that the film failed for any other reasons.

    April 18, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Superhiro

    I also like how his first inclination to do a better Superman movie would be to frickin reboot the 1970s one. Hollywood really needs to stop trying to remake the 1970s Superman. It honestly wasn't even that good. Maybe at the time it was exceptional, but today? It's laughable, not even close to the standards of today's hero movies and I'm not just referring to the special effects. My advice for a new superman film would be to start fresh. No Luthor, No Zod

    April 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • SynthChick87

      Your tastes are horrible. To say that the 1978 version of Superman is laughable is just stupid. As a 23 year old FEMALE who has seen Superman: The Movie probably over 100 times since the age of 4, I can say that there was no Superman like Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman was fantastic as Lex Luthor, and the plot and effects were amazing for the time. Seriously, it was the first movie of it's kind to actually have someone "fly" as opposed to the effects of the old time Superman serials/ George Reeve Superman tv show.

      If you don't like movies like Superman from the 70's, then go watch your stupid ass CGI fake crap–most of that crap has NO plot, BAD acting, and is just overall CRAPPY in general. Bleh to you!

      April 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      @ SynthChick87
      well said. you are my new favorite female Superman fan.

      I would rather watch Superman The Movie 100 more times before most movies that are being released today.
      The script and the acting were great in Richard Donner's original.
      I saw Superman The Movie at the theatre on Dec. 10, 1978 and to this day, it is still the benchmark that all other superhero movies try to live up to.
      Unfortunately, with writers like the 2 idiot kids who Wrote SR and xmen being the 'top choices', no wonder they say movies are very good these days. There's no talent in directing (Bryan Singer sucks!) or in the script-writing all together.

      April 19, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      @synthchick and brandon: You are remembering your nostalgia. Superman the movie starring Christopher Reeve was horrible. Gene Hackman was a bumbling idiot with an even more idiotic sidekick and girlfriend... he was certainly not worthy villain. What really made this movie awful however was the resolution mechanism of Superman flying around the earth so fast that it started spinning the other way and thus traveled backwards in time so he could get another chance. Horrendous. Why not do that every time something goes wrong? Reeve was an "okay" Superman. Not the best, not the worst, although I hated his characterization of Clark Kent.

      What's really got me is the choices for Lois Lane in these movies... Margot Kidder? ugh. Kate Bosworth? eh. and now Amy Adams? give me a break. Even TV had Teri Hatcher on Lois & Clark (underrated) and now Erica Durance on Smallville (probably the best superman dramatization).

      April 19, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      @ Tom- If Smallville is the best superman than my farts are the best batman.

      @ Superhiro- well said. I'm not a fan of the original movie. at. all.

      April 19, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Superhiro

      Well said Tom. I personally believe anybody that says the 1970s Superman movie is good with a straight face just hasn't seen that film since the 1970s. If you watch that movie today, it's PAINFULLY bad.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Your Mom

      @ everyone:

      Your Mom was good in the 70's!

      April 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kal El

      You people are morons. To say that movie was painfully bad is just assinine. That was a fantastic, warm, well cast, very well acted movie. It may seem a little dated now, but it is great. Besides, "great" and "bad" are all subjective. There is no right answer. There are people that love Inception and people that think it's the stupidest piece of crap they've ever seen. The same could be said for many films.

      April 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • z-tar

      The first Superman movie was bad. Don't believe me? Refer to the "Can you read my mind" sequence. I thought I remembered liking it but watched it recently and found out how terrible it was.

      But Superman 2? The one released in 1980? Totally awesome. The best Superman to date!

      April 20, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Synthchick87: As in you were born in 1987? And you consider yourself an expert of the 70's - as someone who wasn't even alive in the 70's. Just like with President Reagan, who now think he was a great president, the Superman movie was not consider great when it came out (I was a teenager). The effects were laughable (compared to STAR WARS and even 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY a decade earlier). Everyone liked Reeve and Hackman, but everyone else was terrible, even cartoony like the movie itself. No sense of realism at all. At least Snyder's disappointing remake had a sense of realism. Go back and read the reviews. The 70's was an extremely cynical, post-60's era, and SUPERMAN was pure bubblegum. It's of course better now because of the nostalgia element , but then? No way. It made money because everyone was curious, it was one of the first "event movie", and it was the only game in town - the first big-budget super hero movie. And the first thing to show people flying? You clearly don't know your film history.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  36. Jerry

    So, lets get this straight..Warner hands over it's top comic book superhero to Bryan Singer, trusting him to produce a block buster Superman film that will invigorate the franchise, and Singer is thinking....Chick Flick???????????

    The more you look at his rationale, the more ridiculous it becomes.

    Of course there's expectations for films, and not just summer movies. Who, AT ANYTIME of the year, plunks their hard earned money down at the box office thinking, "Gee, I hope I'm disappointed. I hope it turns out to be something I didn't really want to see. I hope it's all recycled and repackaged material."????

    Sounds to me like Mr. Singer was focusing more on self indulgence, than the genre of film he WAS SUPPOSED to be making.

    April 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  37. kim

    Stop making dum ass remakes waste your money on a new story plot anything you cant get me to waste my money in a theater on a stale remake .

    April 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • B=DOG

      Let's not forget... that in this version Louis is a total s|ut ! She bones superman who then leaves and she's with the next guy SO QUICK that he actually thinks that supermans kid is his. Superman is allegedly the love of her life, and she's in the sack within a month of 2.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Scott

    Still doesn't get it. Boring storyline, bad casting, lame plot.

    April 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jed

      Boring story line? Bad guy wants to destroy the world and super hero tries to stop him and almost dies doing it? Bad casting? How? Snyder was right - too much of an emphasis on the romance and too much emphasis on nostalgia.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • De Profundis

      you forgot to mention: lame special effects

      April 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Mac

      I disagree with you. I don't think it was boring or that the casting was bad. But it was sentimental and nostalic. Singer was overly aware of the past movies and shows and that was obvious throughout the film. However it was a great setup for a Son of Superman sequel which could really breath new life into the series.

      May 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |

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