Rob C. was kind enough to send me some pictures of an early trade publication ad for Superman: The Movie. This four-page center spread featuring the casting of Oscar winning actors Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor was published in The Hollywood Reporter.
Rob’s copy has a date of 8-19-77 inscribed on the last page. However, I think it’s actually earlier based on a few things;
1. The copyright date on the ad is 1976.
2. The ad bills Superman: The Movie as “A Guy Hamilton film.” Guy Hamilton was originally hired to direct Superman: The Movie, but was unable to do it after production moved from Italy to England. (Marlon Brando had an arrest warrant in Italy on an obscenity charge from his controversial film Last Tango in Paris, and Hamilton couldn’t go back to England because he was a tax exile.) Richard Donner replaced Hamilton in January of 1977, which means this ad probably appeared before then, because it seems unlikely they’d still be calling it a Guy Hamilton film seven months after Donner was hired.
3. The ad also says, “Shooting begins this fall.” Shooting for Superman: The Movie started in England in March of 1977 after some early effects tests were done in 1976. Christopher Reeve, who isn’t mentioned in the ad, wasn’t cast until February of 1977.
It just seems to me the logical conclusion here is that this ad was likely from 1976, maybe August 19, 1976 instead of 1977.
Because of the pre-Donner Guy Hamilton billing, and the lack of Christopher Reeve, this is an interesting piece of early Superman: The Movie history… I learned a lot from just trying to pinpoint the date. Thanks, Rob!