2006 Movie News Archives

Superman Returns

June 12, 2006: “Superman Returns” Press Screening and Junket Impressions

By Jeffrey Bridges

On Thursday, June 8 my stalwart assistant Dragonblink (who can be heard voicing Supergirl in the "Superman: The Last Son of Krypton" radio drama right here on SupermanHomepage.com) headed into Los Angeles to The Bridge theater for the print/online/international media screening of "Superman Returns". After all, two people taking notes on the movie means... twice as many notes!

The Bridge is an enormous, very swanky theater with a full bar/lounge and they'll even serve you full meals while you watch your movie. No meals for us, though. All we got was a card for a free popcorn and small pop.

We left exceptionally early to beat traffic and arrived before the people from Warner Bros. had even gotten there. We went to a Starbucks and hung out for a while, eventually making it back over as things were getting ready to begin.

We checked in with the WB folks and got our passes into the movie, which were nothing more than little gray business cards with the word "Reserved" printed on them. We went upstairs to the selected theater where there were several security guards with metal-detection wands. We gave them our cards and they stamped our hands and in we went.

There was stadium seating with relatively comfortable chairs with arm rests that went up and down. See? I told you it was swanky. I mean, MOVING ARMRESTS. What will they think of next?

The movie started a few minutes late and we were told that since it had just (literally) come over from Technicolor, there may still be a few color-correction problems that won't be there in the final print. The movie opened with a bit of text that I surmise will be replaced with something else on the final print as well. Singer had just recently made the decision to excise the entire "return to Krypon" scene and thus needed a new opening. The full opening credits were there (and were wonderful), I'm just not sure if the paragraph of plain white text on a black background that opened the version we saw will still be there or not.

After the movie ended we were sent down two floors to the IMAX theater. We were told that we would be seeing the footage that IMAX converted to 3D in order to pitch the idea to Bryan Singer. Make note of that... nothing was filmed with 3D in mind. Everything 3D was just what IMAX did after the fact. We were shown the original teaser trailer in full IMAX 3D, along with select moments and scenes from the movie in full IMAX 3D though those scenes had no sound. We were assured that during the actual IMAX version of the movie there would, indeed, be sound.

I was incredibly impressed with it myself. It was frankly hard to believe it had not been shot that way, and during scenes like the one where Superman saves the falling airliner it was truly a new experience. It was like falling through the sky and having a plane coming at you. Absolutely amazing. I fully intend to see the movie in IMAX, my only regret is that it was so time consuming that only 20 minutes or so of the movie is in 3D (although seeing this movie in the IMAX format alone will be a joy).

Truthfully I was in a daze after seeing the movie. After waiting twenty years and then seeing it, and finding it to be everything I'd hoped for... it was a mind-blowing experience. I couldn't even formulate my thoughts about it into coherent sentences until the next day.

I got home late and made it to bed around 2 am. I was then up at 6:30 am to head into downtown Los Angeles to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel, where the press junket was being held in the penthouse on the 19th floor.

Again I was incredibly early, not wanting to risk getting caught in the horrendous LA traffic and missing anything. I went up to the WB Hospitality Suite where they had a full breakfast buffet set up with eggs and fruit and bagels and coffee and juice. I ate nothing, however, as I was far too excited to do any eating. I also discovered that I wasn't remotely the first reporter there. Just being in there and hearing the phone ring and someone picks it up and answered "Warner Brothers!" was a surreal experience. There were people running all over discussing scripts and casts and junkets for other WB productions and it was a very fun and exciting atmosphere to be in.

I grabbed some swag from the suite, namely a promotional 8-page Daily Planet (on real newsprint) with stories about Superman Returns (some written as real news stories about Superman, some as articles about the films, and with ads for all kinds of Superman products) and a Digital Media Kit (which contains the entire Production Notes printed into a nice booklet and a DVD with a bunch of very nice hi-resolution promotional images from the movie).

I was eventually told which room I was assigned to and made my way down there. Eventually more and more reporters arrived and were assigned to their rooms. There were four rooms just for online reporters alone, I believe.

We got Kate Bosworth first. Kate immediately struck me as very graceful. She was very sweet and friendly. What struck me about her is that she is a very small-framed person, and I can see how some people think that might make her frail. She was very spirited, I can assure you, and you can rest assured that in the movie she's not remotely frail by any stretch of the imagination.

Next we got Brandon Routh, which is a pretty good one-two combo to start things off. Brandon came in with a big smile and a cheery hello, and made it a point to go around the entire table and shake everyone's hand and introduce himself, also making sure to get everyone's name. Brandon was the most open, approachable guy you could imagine. He was very humble and incredibly respectful to the character and his legacy, and though we were probably more excited to meet him than he was to meet us, he genuinely seemed to want to be there to talk with us and seemed to be having a very good time. Brandon is only an inch taller than I am (he's 6'3") and I can tell you, I STILL felt dwarfed next to him. He has a presence about him that's really amazing, and what's even more amazing is that he and Clark are not all that different. I saw a lot of Clark in Brandon when he was just being himself. He was a really nice, genuinely likeable guy who it was a complete pleasure to talk to.

After Brandon came Paul Levitz, president of DC Comics. Paul was incredibly knowledgeable about comics (and their movie adaptations) and had a lot of very interesting things to say about DC's properties and the comics-to-movies process. And he also had a very clear idea of who Superman is and what he's all about. I trust that he's in good hands.

After Paul we had a short break and then Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris came in. They were very friendly guys who clearly make an excellent team. They were sometimes finishing each other's sentences and were both totally on the same page about everything. They also had great senses of humor, which you'll see shows through in the movie.

Next was Sam Huntington, and if ever any character were almost identical to the actor playing them, it's Sam and Jimmy Olsen. Sam was a joy to be around and had amazing energy and spirit. He was hilarious and incredibly friendly, and honestly seemed a whole lot like a modern-day Jimmy Olsen. As Sam said, "Maybe that's what Bryan Singer saw." Sam was thrilled to be a part of the movie and seemed to be the biggest Superman fan of the bunch.

Next was Bryan Singer, who said he was going to try and vacation soon. And that's good, because he needs it. The poor man was clearly exhausted and very tired, but he still came to talk to us about the project and it was clear it's because of how much he believes in it. He has a passion for the characters that was incredibly comforting, and I think it's why the movie turned out as amazing as it did. He clearly loves them and loved working with them, and I respect the hell out of him for the job he did. He's clearly very gifted.

After Bryan was Parker Posey, who was rather soft-spoken and who seemed a little overwhelmed by the group of reporters all staring at her and hanging on her every word. Thankfully her assistant was there to help and she made it through just fine, and she was a very nice and friendly person.

Our day came to a close with Kevin Spacey who I'm sure was tired after a long day of going from room to room to room to answer our questions. To his credit it never once showed, and he was very warm, kind and remarkably intelligent (not that I expected any less!). It was clear that Bryan and he have a great friendship, and the trust between them is very strong. He was magnanimous and humble, despite all of his accomplishments, and clearly found making the movie to be an incredibly fun experience.

After that we were given our swag bags. They were white plastic bags with the WB logo emblazoned on them. Inside was the following:

  • A promotional Daily Planet
  • A copy of the "Look, up in the sky!" documentary on DVD
  • A copy of "Superman Returns: The Official Movie Guide" which is a very nice book with stills, publicity photos and information on the movie
  • A bag of the complete collection of Superman Returns toys that will be part of a Burger King promotion with their kid's meals, including a Frisbee and sunglasses.
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    I got back home around 2 in the afternoon and my wife Susan and I immediately began working on the transcriptions. We stopped after the first two for dinner, and that was the first time I'd eaten all day. After eating we resumed work on the transcriptions, which I finished around 11 or 12 pm. I headed off to bed after sending the last one to Steve and after having had only 4 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours.

    But I'm not complaining. It was an amazing experience that I'll never forget, and I want to thank Steve for making it all possible. It was my complete thrill to be able to bring this news to the Superman Homepage and my fellow Superman fans, and my complete honor to represent all of you at the junket.

    Enjoy the movie, my friends.

    You've never seen anything like it.

    Jeffrey Bridges

    Other websites who attended the same press screening have also put up reviews:

    2006 Movie News

    Listed below are all the Movie News items archived for 2006 organized into various categories:

    “Superman Returns” Movie News:

    Christopher Reeve Movie News: Hollywoodland (George Reeves) Movie News: Direct-to-DVD Animated Movie News: Other Movie News:

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