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25 Superman Movie Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

06 June 2013 | Features, Other Lists | by David Zou


Why Superman movies are so great?

Because Superman went into production prior to the releases of Star Wars (May 1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (November 1977), we should credit the three films collectively for launching the reemergence of a large market for science fiction films in the 1980s.

Superman also established the superhero film genre as viable outside the world of Saturday matinee serials, although it was a decade before the comparable success of the Batman series and two decades before that of X-Men and Spider-Man.

OK, so you have watched some of the Superman movies, some of you may have watched every one of them, many times. But it’s still easily possible that you don’t know all the Superman movie facts below.


1. Henry Cavill auditioned the role of Clark Kent for Superman Returns in 2006. He eventually landed the role of Superman in Man of Steel.


2. Superman Returns is the highest US grosser, with $200m. Adjusted for inflation though, 1978′s Superman: The Movie soars to $455m.

3. The big ‘S’ on Superman’s shield doesn’t stand for Superman. It’s the El family seal, standing for ‘Hope’, worn by Jor-El in Superman: The Movie on Krypton.

Superma logo symbol

4. A 1975 TV musical, ‘It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Superman!” starred David Wilson as a truly embarrassing Man Of Spandex.

5. Marlon Brando was paid $3.7m for 2 weeks work for Jor-El. He refused to learn his lines, and had to have them pinned to props on the set.



6. Skinny Christopher Reeve was trained by David Prowse, aka Darth Vader – he bulked up so much they had to reshoot early footage.


7. In Superman: The Movie, Martha Kent’s maiden name was ‘Clark’, hence why the discovered young Kal-El is named ‘Clark Kent’.

8. Annette O’Toole played Superman’s grown-up childhood love Lana Lang in Superman III, and also his mum, Martha, in TV series Smallville Ew.

Annette O'Tool superman

9. Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner is adamant that John Williams’ famous theme tune actually says “Sup-er-man” in notes!

10. Sylvester Stallone wanted the role in Superman: The Movie. That would have been bad enough, but the first choice was actually Burt Reynolds!



11. X-Men’s Iceman, Shawn Ashmore, was considered for Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns. His identical twin Aaron played the part on Smallville.


12. Marlon Brando suggested to producers that he provided only Jol-El’s voice, and his physical should be a glowing green bagel.

13. Ben Affleck turned down the chance to direct Man Of Steel, having starred in Hollywoodland, a biopic about Superman actor George Reeves.

Ben Affleck hollywoodland

14. Superman’s final line to Lex Luthor in Superman IV was “see you in 20″. It was filmed in 1986, and Superman Returns opened in 2006.

15. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace suffered a budget cut from $36m to $17m and its running time was chopped from 134 to 90 minutes.

Superman IV The Quest For Peace


16. New York, London, Sydney and Vancouver have all stood in for Metropolis onscreen, but Superman IV used Milton Keynes!

17. Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh is actually two years younger than Tom Welling, who played the teenage Clark Kent for 10 years on Smallville.


18. Look closely in Man of Steel and you’ll see a building featuring a sign for ‘Lexcorp’, a hint that villain Lex Luthor could appear in a sequel.


19. The boy by the photo booth where Clark changes in Superman III was the same kid who played baby Kal-El in Superman: The Movie.

20. At the end of Superman III, the coal mining facility where Supes drops Richard Pryor off was actually shot in the empty Battersea Power Station.



21. Gene Hackman refused to go bold as Lex Luthor, so they styled his hair differently from scene to scene to imply a range of wigs.


22. Another hair fact: from Superman I to Superman IV, Clark and Superman’s hair part on different sides- it’s not just the glasses that make up his disguise.


23. When Superman flies the flag back to the top of the White House at the end of Superman II, the fountains on the lawn aren’t moving.

24. Genre Hackman didn’t do any new shooting fro Superman II. Any new footage used a body double and voice impersonator.

25. Superman: The Movie’s title sequence cost more than the average film budget in 1978, and the end credits ran to a then record-breaking seven minutes.



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  • ruth

    Awesome facts! I knew a lot of these but still fun to read ‘em.