The Quest For Rental…

1988 was a landmark year for the Superman character – his 50 year anniversary was intended by DC Comics to be a grand event celebrated across all mediums.

Beyond featuring on the cover of Time magazine it was instead a subdued occasion with only the best-forgotten TV special (hosted by Dana Carvey) to mark it. The film series had bowed out on a sour note with disappointing returns and poor critical and audience response to Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. Initiators of the Superman Film series, Alexander and Ilya Salkind would eventually buy the rights back from The Cannon Group Inc. after premiering their SuperBoy TV show to similarly lukewarm notices. Though the series would continue for three seasons, Superman would be noticeably absent from our screens for some time…

From the top – Vintage magazine ad, scarce A3 size pop-up promo card for video rental, an original copy in library case and the UK Laserdisc…


5 Replies to “The Quest For Rental…”

  1. TQFP was a VERY big deal to me back in 87 – there hadnt been a new superman in AGES (as a kid time passes much slower so 4 years felt more like 10 years) there was no internet and i didnt have any money to buy magazines like Starlog so the first i knew of a superman IV was when i walked past the cinema and saw this poster in those plastic cases outside (note the superior 'crystal' font:)
    with a 'Coming this summer' sign underneath.

    as a huge huge fan of the series having seen II and III at the cinema (& STM on tv only) i couldnt believe it..I had no idea they were making another (i remembered Reeve having stated several times hed never do another after III in articles and tv interviews) let alone it being due out soon. It just didnt make any sense!! how could i not know about this!?….

    the month or so wait was waiting for xmas only wanting it more and when it eventually came out i saw it 4 times at the cinema and thought it was amazing – the best one of all 4

    it was exciting, new, fresh, it was balls to the wall action packed (even more than II – to which it felt like a true sequel)- it had a powerful scary villian, there were fights in space (a first!) and on the moon, superman got his ass kicked and nearly dies, Lex was back again being all bad and we got to see the fortess again (first time since II), the new music was awesome…

    i knew something was up with the FX as they seemed to reuse the same shot of a turquoise coloured superman flying toward the camera but it didnt affect my enjoyment one bit – neither did the whole Milton Keynes thing – i had no idea about all that.

    i had no idea it was reviled and was a flop (i mean i knew it wasnt as big a hit as star wars but i mustve thought it'll have been at least as big as the previous ones) i bought all the stuff the Starlog postermagazine, the DC comic, the novel, the poster (i remember being quite disappointed there were no action figures)

    and when i finally got a VHS player in 1988 the first VHS box my hand reached for was in that picture above…

    So back then in my mind it went best to worst – IV, II, III and lastly I (which was quite overlong, talky and boring for a kid with no supervillains and no fighting!…plus only having seen it on tv cant have helped)

    the question i was asking myself after IV was would Superman V (due in a couple of years with an all new cast joining Reeve according to the Daily Mail) be even more enjoyable than IV?!

    it was a question id have to wait 20 years to be answered (just like superman promised at the end of QFP)….and the answer was a resounding NO!!

  2. i just realised…2012 is the 25th anniversary of Superman IV!

    they should re release it in cinemas with all the extra footage and improved FX a few weeks before the new movie to whet everyones appetite!

  3. Great notices guys…!

    My experience of IV was very similar -I remember coming home from a family holiday and seeing the quad poster outside a cinema and being very intrigued by the fact it was called 'Quest For Peace'.

    Months later I remember being first in the queue at the Kings Cinema West Bromwich – these were the days people literally used to queue 'round the block to watch a movie – and just loving it from start to finish, so much so that when I bumped into a friend on the way out I went straight in again for the next showing…

    As you can see from my archive here, its a very special thing for me too – there were so many elements that made it more entertaining than III for me as Reeve was on great form and his Clark still made me laugh. The dash into the lobby where he skids on the floor still creases me up.

    There are many who hate this film but much of that is directed at the effects and the Nuclear Man concept than the film itself. There are some wonderful moments in there (including a great nod to Superman II where Lois admits to remembering everything) and Roger Corman moments aside, its still very watchable and SUCH a product of its time. if STM defined the 70's, SIV summed up everything about the 80's. Such a pity we were deprived of his bridge into the 90's – it so nearly happened…

  4. if it hadnt had its budget slashed (36m to 18m) and certain silly stuff had been cleared up (e.g. Lacy in space, some of the more comical bits) itd have been more well respected and liked and done ALOT more BO leading to a Superman V directed by Reeve (like Nimoy eventually directing Star Trek)

    sure the FX arent great but im impressed with some of the stuff they managed to achieve and can only wonder how awesome they would have been had the budget been double!

    i much prefer IV (and III) to SR. best to worst for me (now) would be I, II, III, IV, SR

  5. oh yeah and one day im gonna get me one of those bad boy quad posters with the crystal font and have it framed as a homage to my youth (along with one of those VHS box sets LOL). I always thought IV had the best poster (with II 'over the water' and the one on the record LP close 2nd's)

    and speaking of the UK quad – why the heck didnt they use the crystal font for all the other IV posters and in the film instead of the silly 'toon' font?..did DC request it for the impending 50th anniversary? was it lost in the buying of the rights? 'ok you can have everything expect the crystal font'

    anyway those were some really happy days as a kid before life got all crappy in the 90s (and never really stopped)..

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