In-between the disastrous Superman III and the god-awful Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind were still looking to wring as much cash as possible from their superhero franchise. Their brilliant idea? A spin-off, starring Superman’s cousin – Supergirl!
Starring the likes of Peter O’Toole, Faye Dunaway and Peter Cook (all of whom were clearly strapped for cash), Supergirl attempted to replicate the success of the first Superman movie by surrounding the unknown lead with some famous faces. It didn’t work.
We know what you’re thinking: “But I love Supergirl! It was great when I was a kid!” Yes, we grew up loving Supergirl as well, but you have to admit, it’s one of the most bizarre, cheap-looking and nonsensical superhero films ever made. Need proof? Just look at the opening scene.
It starts with Peter O’Toole (wearing a glorious sweater and clearly thinking about when Happy Hour begins), playing Argo City’s resident artist and eccentric Zaltar, stealing the city’s power source (which resembles a glowing Christmas ornament) in order to create a tree. Kara (aka Supergirl) then makes a dragonfly using Zaltar’s magic wand, which then ruptures Argo City’s ‘membrane’ (seriously, is this incredibly cheap-looking space city surrounded by skin thinner than clingfilm?!), prompting Kara to try and retrieve in it an inter-dimensional pod.
Rumour has it, that Melanie Griffith, Brooke Shields and Demi Moore all turned down the role, until relative unknown, Helen Slater was finally cast.
While she is perfectly fine in the role, it is a shame that the overall film never saw her career take off. Plus it doesn’t help that while she’s taking it seriously, everyone else seems to be be there for the money or just bemused by the whole thing.
The film went on to under-perform in every possible way. It has the lowest box office returns of any Superman film (just $14 million) and even got Peter O’Toole and Faye Dunaway nominated for two Razzie awards.
It is one reason DC Comics are so reluctant to put money into a female-led superhero film (Catwoman can also take a lot of the blame), but for that reason alone, it stands unique among the plethora of spandex-clad superhero films out there.
As well as the film, we will also have comedian Amy Howerska doing a comedy set beforehand. A movie AND a night of stand-up comedy?! Bristol… you are welcome.