The Richard Donner / Christopher Reeve era Superman: The Movie will be released on Blu-ray as a 3-hour extended cut.
No matter where and when you are, there will always be time for nostalgia—especially in the realms of television and superheroes. Warner Bros. has taken that sentiment to heart and will be releasing something that is 35 years overdue. Via io9, we have news that Superman: The Movie (1978) will be getting another release to home video—this time it will be the 3-hour extended cut that was shown in its television premiere back in 1982.
Back then, on-demand was completely unheard of, and even owning a VCR was considered a luxury most people couldn’t afford. So when ABC aired Superman: The Movie as a two-part event across two nights (February 7–8 in 1982), you can bet it was a big deal. I still remember this myself. I was barely five years old and that’s all I could think about for a whole week. On those two nights, bathroom breaks and snack refills were perfectly planned between commercials (yeah, remember those?) during each of those 2-hour airings.
ABC’s presentation also came extra footage—most of it cut from the theatrical release. In subsequent years after the airing, I looked high and low for those scenes. Initially, I thought it was a figment of my childhood imagination. During college in the mid to late 1990s, I discovered people actually selling low quality VHS copies of this extended cut on the burgeoning commercial internet (and later on eBay).
Then, in 2000, Warner Bros. released Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Though this DVD collection—which contained all four Donner/Reeve era Superman films and the Bryan Singer / Brandon Routh Superman Returns (2006)—had a version which was known as the “2000 Expanded Edition,” it was still missing some scenes from the original ABC airing.
Fans today can rejoice, as Warner Bros. will remaster and release—on Blu-ray—two versions of this masterpiece in superhero storytelling: Superman: The Movie: The Extended Cut and Superman: The Movie Special Edition. It’s unknown what’s different between The Extended Cut and the Special Edition. But you can bet Superman fans (me included) will be dissecting and comparing the two once we get our hands on this new collection.
For a generation of avid Superman fans like myself, the late Christopher Reeve remains the definitive Man of Steel, and Richard Donner’s vision is still held up as the gold standard for superhero films.
For nostalgia purposes, this YouTube video contains the teaser for the actual airing and the ABC’s special presentation openings at the time. The inclusion of an Atari (remember that company?) commercial is also a big bonus:
There is no exact target date for this Blu-ray release. Warner Bros. only gave a general time frame of this year. My guess is that it could be December 10, 2017—exactly 37 years from the film’s original US release date at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Are you looking forward to this release? Do you have fond memories of this film and it’s initial ABC airing? Let us know in the comments.
Superman: The Movie had a United States theatrical release date of December 10, 1978.