2000 Movie News Archives

August 16, 2000: Superman DVD Interview

Here is a portion of an interview conducted by Wide Screen Review with Jon Gaines about the up-coming Superman DVD...

WSR: Let's move on to what many may consider to be the most eagerly awaited DVD of the year, Superman. So Warner has big plans with Superman?

Gaines: Oh yes, it's going to be a DVD-18.

WSR: Will that be Warner's first DVD-18?

Gaines: No, A Star Is Born will be the first, so Superman might be the second.

WSR: One DVD-18 has the same space as two DVD-9s. Why do you suppose some studios (such as Fox and Disney) have a preference for two DVD-9s, while others (such as Warner and Artisan) prefer one DVD-18?

Gaines: It's marketing. With a two-disc set, there is the impression that the consumer is getting more.

WSR: So there are no technical problems with DVD-18s?

Gaines: No. The only thing is that it takes longer to replicate. I believe WAMO is the only place that is capable of doing them right now and they are pretty bogged down with Warner Bros. product.

WSR: Superman is one of Warner Bros.' most successful movies and certainly a title crying out to be remastered. How did the DVD project finally get started?

Gaines: It was one of Warner's most requested films screaming for a remastered Special Edition, even back on LaserDisc. It was often at the top of people's lists. When I first started working with Warner Bros., I would always say to them, "What about Superman? What about Superman?" Until recently, a lot of the original materials including the negatives were missing. They were unaccounted for.

WSR: In this instance, did they go to the original negative, check it for any damage and them make a new transfer element from it?

Gaines: Yes, they made a new interpositive from it.

WSR: Does Warner have any plans for a theatrical re-release in addition to a new DVD release?

Gaines: The plan is for a theatrical release, and it will include a new 5.1-channel soundtrack.

WSR: When do you anticipate it will be released?

Gaines: Hopefully by the end of the year.

WSR: What stage is the project at?

Gaines: I've been involved in producing a documentary which will feature new interviews with several members of the original creative team, including Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, director Richard Donner and composer John Williams. I've also been going through several cans of 16mm negative that was shot as B-roll during the original shoot for a documentary.

WSR: Has any of that footage been seen before?

Gaines: Some of the footage was included in a documentary hosted by Christopher Reeve that was broadcast on TV. Back then, the producers didn't want to publicize how they made Superman fly, so all the good footage of seeing how he was made to fly was never used - which we are now going to show you.

WSR: Will Warner be releasing all of the Superman movies or just the original?

Gaines: They are giving the first film the royal treatment. I don't know what their plans are for the sequels.

WSR: What condition did the production team find the original elements to be in?

Gaines: We found that we will have to digitally fix some shots. Of course, we are not approaching Superman like Star Wars. We are not reinventing the wheel. We are simply fixing some things that were obviously done incorrectly. We are not adding any new characters or anything. We are just cleaning up the film and getting rid of some negative damage. We're trying to make the film technically better. The audio is where most of the work is going in terms of giving the movie the epic feel that it deserves. There is no way I can take credit for Superman alone. Michael Thau is producing the project in terms of the picture and audio remastering. It's too big of a project for one person to handle. I'm dealing a lot with the supplemental material and budgetary aspects of the project. I'm working very closely with Warner on it. It's going to be a huge disc and we think fans of the movie will love it.

Source: Wide Screen Review.

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