On this day in pop culture history: ‘Superman Returns’ opened in theaters
10 years ago, Superman looked a lot different onscreen. Kevin Spacey, not Jesse Eisenberg, was playing Lex Luthor. Kate Bosworth, not Amy Adams, was in the role of Lois Lane. And unknown actor Brandon Routh was starring as the Man of Steel. In retrospect, Superman was headlining a rather bright, campy movie when you look at his 2006 flick next to this year’s grimdark Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Superman Returns opened in theaters 10 years ago today.
It didn’t manage to reboot the long-stagnant Superman property into a new franchise, as Warner Bros. hoped.
The Batman v Superman title was being tossed around already during discussion for a sequel to Superman Returns. But the studio ultimately decided to move on from the Routh-Bryan Singer-et al. line-up.
“Superman [Returns] didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to,” then-WB president Jeff Robinov said in 2008. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned. Had Superman worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009,” he adds. “But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all.”
Cut to 10 years later, and WB has their Batman and Superman movie, with more than twice the box office gross of their 2006 movie and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 27% (Superman Returns stands at 76% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes).
And Routh isn’t for lack of a DC superhero role. He’s currently playing The Atom on Legends of Tomorrow.
Other notable June 28 happenings in pop culture history:
• 1951: Amos ’n’ Andy debuted on CBS Television, nearly three decades after the show originated as a nightly radio serial.
• 1967: The Supremes performed their first show under the name Diana Ross and the Supremes.
• 1969: Henry Mancini’s “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” hit no. 1 on the U.S. single chart, one of a select group of instrumental tracks to top the chart.
• 1985: St. Elmo’s Fire opened in theaters, boasting a cast with three actors from the prior year’s hit The Breakfast Club — Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, and Ally Sheedy — along with Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, and Andrew McCarthy. Also on this day, Clint Eastwood film Pale Rider hit theaters, following its Cannes Film Festival premiere.
• 1990: At a concert in Liverpool, Paul McCartney played three John Lennon-penned songs live for the first time: “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Help!” and “Give Peace a Chance.” He had a substantial number of Beatles songs in the set list for his world tour that year.
• 1996: Charles Schulz got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Snoopy got his own star 19 years later.
• 2009: August: Osage County staged its final performance on Broadway. Two years prior on this day, the play premiered in Chicago.