From 1979-94, two Israeli filmmakers, Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus, ran a small studio called Cannon Group, and though they did have some better films on their resume like Runaway Train, still made quite a few junk movies on shoestring budgets, with insufficient quality in scripting to compensate for what were basically crummy products. These included at least a few attempts to enter the big scene in Hollywood with seemingly higher budgets, with one of the most notable, yet also least successful, being Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the last installment in the Christopher Reeve-starring live action films first produced by the father-son duo of Alexander and Ilya Salkind (they’d also produced the regrettably botched Supergirl film, which led to their selling off production rights to Cannon). I found the following Cheat Sheet article from 6 months ago, where Globus admitted years later in a documentary that he regretted screwing up the production so badly:
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was the last Superman film starring Christopher Reeve. It unfortunately provided a lackluster conclusion due both to its lackluster box office ($15.6 million according to Box Office Mojo), and the shortcuts taken in its production. Decades later, producer Yoram Globus regrets shortchanging the film.
The documentary The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films interviewed producers Globus and the late Menahem Golan. When they got to Superman IV, Globus shared his regret. Showbiz Cheat Sheet got an early copy of the Blu-ray, out July 20, so here’s a preview of what Globus said about Superman IV.
Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan had big ambitions for ‘Superman IV’
Reeve was technically finished with the Man of Steel after Superman III. He only agreed to return if they would do a story about nuclear disarmament, one of the issues Reeve was concerned about in the ’80s. In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman rids the world of nuclear weapons, but Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) uses the opportunity to create a new supervillain. Globus said the company was regrettably distracted by a number of films while producing Superman IV.
“To Superman we should have put all of our efforts to make from it a hit movie,” Globus said. “A better movie than the first three. And because of so many productions, you don’t have the time to devote to it. This is, for me, our biggest fiasco. It could have been our breakthrough to the top of Hollywood.”
I wonder if he’s also regretful for all the repellent sequels they produced based on Charles Bronson’s Death Wish, just to make a quick buck? (The rapes in the second movie went way overboard.) Such movie sequels only serve to give the original a bad name, and embarrass what was an impressive focus on vigilantism back in 1974. In any event, at least Globus is willing, after all these years, to admit they blew it big time, putting an end to the live action Superman films with a sour note, though the original quartet of Batman films also ended on a sour note later, and at the time Joel Schumacher directed the 4th, it was originally considered dreadful.
And now, years later, look how Superman’s been turned into a “neglected stepchild”, both in movies, and back in the comics proper, subject as the Man of Steel was to a darker vision in cinema back in 2013, in a movie that never got a standalone sequel with Henry Cavill to date. In fact, chances are far less likely a movie like the 4th Superman film would be made dealing with nuclear warfare today, since here, Iran’s got nuclear weapons development, and does anyone in Hollywood do movies today dealing even metaphorically with their brand of warfare in the making? Nope. If Reeve were still around and wanted to make the 4th installment today using Iran as a metaphor, it’s doubtful his Hollywood career would last much longer.
It’s good Globus later admitted to failure, but it doesn’t excuse the fact quite a few of the movies he and Golan were producing were simply tasteless, no matter the size of the budget. If the scripts and crew workers lack quality and talent, the budget won’t mean anything.
Originally published here.