Filming Locations for “Superman Returns”

By Steve Younis

Most of the filming for "Superman Returns" happened at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia. The project took over the entire studio for the duration of the shoot. But, as is necessary, Bryan Singer needed to film certain scenes at real locations, which took place in and around Sydney.

Living in Sydney meant that I was lucky enough to witness quite a lot of the location shoots during the making of "Superman Returns" in 2005. Now with the movie's release on DVD I thought I'd take this opportunity to look at some of the photos and video I took and compare them against the actual movie itself.

Superman to the Rescue

Upon seeing the TV report that the Space Shuttle Genesis is in trouble, Clark leaves the Ace 'o Clubs tavern, rushes past an electronics store (with TVs in the window), crosses a street, heads down a deserted alleyway and rips open his shirt revealing the Superman costume beneath. This all happened at the corner of York Street and Barrack Street (not far from Wynyard train station), with York Lane acting as the alleyway.

Electronics Store
Movie Image: Electronics Store

Photo: Electronics Store during filming

Photo: Electronics Store weeks after filming

Shirt Rip
Movie Image: Alleyway

Trailer Still: Another angle shown in a trailer

Photo: Alleyway weeks after filming

Here's video footage (2.1mb Quicktime file) I shot on April 16, 2005 of Brandon Routh as Clark Kent running down the alleyway.

Bank Robbery

A theif, having robbed the bank, fires on police cars on the street below from atop the bank building. The "Newhart Federal Bank" is actually the University House at the University of Newcastle, around Civic Park and King Street, Newcastle.

Bank Robbery
Movie Image: Bank Robbery

Bank Robbery
Movie Image: Bank Robbery

Photo: Preparing to film on location in Newcastle (2 hours north of Sydney)

Photo: Preparing to film on location in Newcastle (2 hours north of Sydney)

Kitty Out of Control

As a diversion, Kitty Kowalski drives her Mustang through Metropolis to get Superman's attention away from Lex's robbery at the Metropolis Museum. Out of control, Kitty's car nearly takes out people having dinner at an outdoor restaurant, before being caught by Superman who lowers the car safely in front of a water feature. This all took place in and around Martin Place in Sydney.

People in danger
Movie Image: People in danger

Photo: Filming on location at Martin Place, Sydney

Superman saves Kitty
Movie Image: Superman lowers the car

Photo: The car waits for filming to start in Martin Place, Sydney

Photo: Taken on the same night, after filming concluded

Here's video footage (2.5mb AVI file) showing Kitty's car driving down a street during the filming of this sequence.

Here's video footage (6mb Quicktime file) from filming which took place on November 6, 2005, showing a camera mounted on a crane, with headlights on either side of the camera. The footage shot by this camera shows us what Kitty saw out the front window when Superman caught and lowered her runaway car.

Here's another video (4.5mb AVI file) showing you some tests conducted for the lowering of the car on the night of filming.

Earthquake Rescue

During the earthquake caused by Lex Luthor's new landmass, Superman catches a workman who falls from a crane.

Superman saves man
Movie Image: Superman catches falling man

Photo: Filming on location at Castlereagh St, Sydney (notice the same red awning)

Here's video footage (1.7mb Quicktime file) showing crowd reaction as Superman saves the man and flies off.

The Radisson Plaza Hotel on the corner of Pitt and O'Connell Sts. in Sydney is the centerpiece of another scene in which fireballs errupt up through road man holes from an underground gas leak during the earthquake.

Movie Image: Fire in the streets

Superman Falls

Having tossed the "New Krypton" landmass into space, Superman falls from the sky, crashing in Metropolis Park. He is then rushed to Metropolis General Hospital where he's soon visited by Lois Lane who has to push through crowds of people to get inside. The exterior of the hospital is actually the railway (subway) entrance to Wynyard Station, on York Street in Sydney.

Crowd Watches
Movie Image: Crowds watch as Superman falls from the sky

Photo: Filming on location at the courtyard outside St. Mary's Cathedral, located on Cathedral St (cnr College St) Sydney

Movie Image: Superman crashes in the park

Photo: Cars positioned on location near Hyde Park in Sydney. Note the same trash bins and newspaper dispensers.

Metropolis General Hospital
Movie Image: Metropolis General Hospital

Metropolis General Hospital
Movie Image: Outside Metropolis General Hospital. Note the circled bus shelter and hospital entrance which I took close up photos of below

Photo: Wynyard Station entry

Photo: Bus Shelter photo taken prior to filming

Lex on the Beach

At the end of the movie Lex and Kitty are stranded on a small island with no fuel for their helicopter. The actual location for this scene was a beach in North Narrabeen, north of Sydney.

Metropolis General Hospital
Movie Image: Lex and Kitty on the island

Metropolis General Hospital
Movie Image: The island

Photo: Filming at a beach in North Narrabeen

Other Locations

Some locations that I didn't visit:
  • Kent Farm - Located in Breeza, 30 miles southwest of Tamworth (north of Sydney).
  • The Vanderworth Mansion - The building is actually the Rivendell Hospital, located on Hospital Road, Concord West on the Parramatta River (this is still a working hospital).
  • Lois Lane's Home - Located on the artificially created James Cook Island in Sylvania Waters.

The inside of the "Metropolis Museum", from which Lex Luthor steals the Kryptonite from, is actually the Australian Museum in College St, Sydney.

Movie Tours

Sydney Movie Tours conducts regular walking tours of locations in Sydney where scenes from famous films were shot, including various scenes from "Superman Returns". Having taken the tour, I can highly recommend it to Superman fans living in or visiting Sydney. Visit their website and tell them Steve Younis from Superman Homepage recommended the tour.

In America, you should check out tours offered by On Location Tours. Their New York TV & Movie Tour includes many filming locations used in the Christopher Reeve "Superman" movies. Superman Homepage fans can use the Discout Code "SUPERMANHOME" to get 10% off any NY public tour price, including the New York TV & Movie Tour, Sex & the City Hotspots Tour, Gossip Girl Sites Tour, Sopranos Sites Tour, and Central Park Movie Sites Tour.