Supe’s on for Donner

Helmer's cut of 'Superman' sequel flying to DVD

One of the most hotly anticipated Hollywood preems in coming weeks isn’t for a bigscreen release but for a DVD debut — of a movie abandoned almost 30 years ago.

On Nov. 2, Warner Home Video will bow Richard Donner‘s cut of “Superman II” with a cocktail party and screening at the DGA.

Comicbook fans have been clamoring for this version since Donner, helmer of 1978’s bigscreen “Superman,” was booted off the sequel by producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and replaced by Richard Lester.

Donner, originally contracted to do both films, had shot much of “II” concurrently with the first film, but famously parted ways with the Salkinds after disputes over costs and production delays. They reportedly also clashed over the introduction of campier elements in the sequel.

But Donner has revisited the film for Warner’s massive “Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition,” a 14-disc set due Nov. 28 that’s loaded with every modern film iteration of the man in tights, including Bryan Singer‘s recent “Superman Returns.”

Donner pieced together his abandoned project from footage now owned by Warners, even using screen tests to complete some of the shots. The new cut is said to include less than 20% of the footage shot by Lester.

Bonus features promise to be a geek’s delight, showing the Lester and Donner versions side-by-side on a split screen. The Donner version also restores Marlon Brando’s Jor-El character to the film, with about 15 minutes of footage.

Warner Home Video, which declared 2006 the year of Superman long before “Superman Returns” opened to not-quite-super B.O., also has prepared a Christopher Reeve box set showcasing the late thesp, and is reissuing “Supergirl.”

But bigscreen purists needn’t fret: The Lester version of “Superman II” will have its place among the Men of Steel.

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