Film Seizure #135 – Superman (1978)

SUPER September begins at Film Seizure. We begin this month with 1978’s Superman from Richard Donner!


  1. A comment and a question.

    I saw Superman at Greenwood Park General Cinemas I-III over the Christmas school holiday period. What we knew as auditoriums 1 & 2 were then auditorium 1, seating around 600 people, with what we knew as the middle aisles being the side aisles of that one, huge house. It’s the only time I actually saw Standing Room Only in action. The auditorium was packed, and each aisle boasted a line of people who had paid to stand and watch that film.

    And Geoff, what’s your source on Donner being the first to have a billion dollar filmography? I remember the announcement that Spielberg had crossed that threshold in the Fall of 1984, when the Temple of Doom’s box office take had… matured? That must have been domestically, as Raiders would have crossed the line globally. In my mind, it seems like it would have taken a Lethal Weapon (sequel, even) to push Donner over that threshold. I ask not to contend, but because I’m not certain, and when I tried to find it myself, I learned that this seems to be one of those unGooglable things, where any and all of the search term options bring up too many other stories (first to 10 billion being the biggie).


    1. Dave, I’m not really sure where I got that. I’m going back to Oliver Harper’s video essay on Superman ( – I think it was here that I heard that fact), but I couldn’t find the exact part that stated it. Most definitely Omen and Superman get him almost halfway there, but Spielberg would have gotten there weeks after Raiders of the Lost Ark got released. It might have been a mistake and he was ONE of the first (Spielberg, Lucas, then Donner), not THE first.

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      1. That he was an earliest one is certain, What I was looking for was whether I’d – well first, remembered wrongly a news blip on Entertainment Tonight I would have seen 40 years ago. Or, I knew Omen, Superman and Goonies were huge but wondered if I’d missed something, forgetting a film, like does Superman II count, or did I forget that he directed Rocky III or something, or had I underestimated a gross? And as I wrote, one could be domestic and the other world wide. Global tastes were much different even 20 years ago (The Bodyguard was in the world-wide Top 50 of all time for a while) let alone 40 years ago.

        It’s a position that only exists after Jaws, and not many directors had multiple, massive take pictures for the next few years. Randal Kleiser had Grease and The Blue Lagoon (plus some other pictures). Avildsen had Rocky and some Karate Kids. Stallone directed three financially successful Rockys. Even Hal Needham had a bundle: Smokey & the Bandit (etc.), Hooper, The Cannonball Run (etc), and, of course, Megaforce.

        There’s Ivan Reitman’s trifecta: Meatballs, Stripes & Ghostbusters, and Landis had Animal House, Blues Brothers, American Werewolf and Trading Places (plus others), but Donner’s clearly above all of those with, well it may start with Superman (Omen was only a moderate hit! # 7 for its year; that’s a surprise to me), then Superman II, Ladyhawke (which I usually forget is his), Goonies and the Lethal Weapons, as far as the biggies.

        If it’s not Spielberg, it’s him.


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