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Press Release

WEBSITE LAUNCHES INTERNET CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE SUPERMAN II

Site Asking Warner Bros. To Grant Richard Donner a New Edit for 25th Anniversary

May 14, 2004 -- TheForbidden-zone.com, a website dedicated to all things Planet of the Apes, has launched an Internet campaign to help rescue... the Man of Steel?

Long before The Matrix sequels and Lord of the Rings were shot back-to-back, so were Superman: The Movie and Superman II, which introduced Christopher Reeve as Superman. But when the production fell behind, all efforts were put into completing Superman I in time for its release date. After the film was a resounding success and redefined the superhero genre (the effect of which is still felt today), producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind thanked director Richard Donner by firing him. During production, Donner and the Salkinds were increasingly at odds over what type of film they wanted to make. Donner favored the type that Superman eventually became, while the Salkinds favored something resembling the cheesy Superman IV. They also had a falling out (over money) with Marlon Brando (Superman's father, Jor-El), who had already shot all of his scenes for Superman II.

Director Richard Lester, who had served as an intermediary between Donner and the Salkinds on Superman I when tensions reached their highest, was brought in to complete Superman II. In order to avoid paying Brando and to get Donner's name off the credits, the Salkinds had major portions of the film reshot. Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor) refused to participate in these reshoots, so they hired a body double and voice over artist to cover for him in certain scenes. Though the resulting film was a huge success, many people who were involved in the production lament the fact that Donner was not allowed to complete his film. In a recent interview (STARLOG #323), Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) stated, "There's a whole other Superman II in a vault somewhere, with scenes of Chris and me that have never seen the light of day. It's far better than the one that was released."

While Superman I was given the full DVD treatment in 2001, with Warner Bros. even allowing Richard Donner to produce a Director's Cut and including several documentaries about the above situation, Superman II was only released in its theatrical form with just the film's trailers included as extras.

TheForbidden-Zone.com hopes to change that. Given that the film's 25th anniversary is approaching in 2005 (Superman II was first released in foreign markets in late 1980, then in the US during the summer of 1981), TheForbidden-Zone.com has launched a letter campaign asking Warner Bros. to let Richard Donner complete his edit of the film. This campaign has a twist, however. Rather than asking fans to send in letters over a period of time, the website is asking that they all be mailed on the same day -- June 19, the film's US release date, hoping this will make more of an impression.

"I've been a Superman fan ever since I was a little kid," said Roger Alford, webmaster of TheForbidden-Zone.com. "I spent many an afternoon with a towel around my neck and watching the TV show with George Reeves. When I first learned about what happened with Superman II, I was stunned. I wanted to see Donner's version. I wanted to do something about it. I've signed other petitions and I encouraged people to write Warner Bros. when they released Superman II on DVD in 2001. I wrote them myself and told them I would buy the first movie, but not the second without Donner's footage included in some way."

Rather than get discouraged, Alford decided to try another tactic. "I came up with the idea of sending all of the letters on the same day to get more impact. I really hope Warner Bros. gets a flood of mail in the couple of days following. I know what I'm trying is somewhat Quixotic -- Warner Bros. is well aware of the strong desire for a Donner edit, but repeatedly refuses to do anything about it. Still, I'd feel worse if I didn't try. Maybe another voice will make a difference. I've gotten things done through my website before, such as finding Joe Russo a publisher after seventeen years for his excellent book, Planet of the Apes Revisited, and encouraging The Fox Movie Channel to show the extended version of Battle for the Planet of the Apes for the first time in the US. Other sites have helped make changes at Disney, so it is possible."

The campaign is gaining some momentum. Several Superman-related websites have provided links in order to help spread the word, and the site garnered a mention in the April 9 issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Up, up, and away!

About TheForbidden-Zone.com

Founded in 1996, TheForbidden-Zone.com is one of the oldest and the most in-depth Planet of the Apes sites on the Web. It contains a host of information about the films, TV shows, comic books, and more.

Editorial contact: Roger Alford, roger @ theforbidden-zone.com
Visit http://www.theforbidden-zone.com/supermanii for more information.