1978’s Superman was the first genuine big budget attempt at portraying the comic book hero on the big screen. Mario Puzo was hired to pen the screenplay (Yes that’s the guy who wrote The Godfather films). Puzo signed a two film contract with the Salkind’s who originally hired Steven Spielberg to direct. At the time, Spielberg was making Jaws but had ran into budget problems which led the Salkind’s to sour in their opinion of Spielberg. Guy Hamilton was given the job to direct but he was unable to shoot in England due to tax violations which led to Richard Donner being given the project. Donner was coming off big success with his film The Omen which received critical praise. Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando joined the cast, giving Superman bon-a-fide star power.
Superman was a big success. Made for $50million, it brought in a staggering $300million at the box office and garnered positive reviews from critics like Roger Ebert;
"Superman is a pure delight, a wondrous combination of all the
old-fashioned things we never really get tired of.”
Superman pleased comic fans across the world as it stayed true to the characters and the origins of Superman. Although the film is flawed in terms of plot, Superman is still regarded as one of the most enjoyable superhero films ever made. The special effects look poor by today’s standards, but it’s during these computer generated images that Superman’s charm shines.