Article by Rennie Cowan
Back in the late 1980's the Salkinds were developing a new big-budget Superman film if Superman V did not pan-out, and it was called SUPERMAN: THE NEW MOVIE. What does this have to do with Superboy you might ask? Well, even though Christopher Reeve was always the Salkind's first choice, there was a possibility that it would star the lead actor of the Superboy TV show, Gerard Christopher. Aside from Superman: The New Movie being briefly mentioned in Starlog magazine, it was mentioned by Gerard Christopher in an audio tape interview by Dan Recchia that the Salkinds were always more interested in doing major motion pictures rather than television.
Once the Salkinds regained the option rights back to the Superman character from Cannon Pictures (who produced Superman IV), the Salkinds estimated a budget for a new Superman movie of $35-$40 million under the label of Kandor Productions. There is some speculation that by March of 1993 it was called Great Krypton Productions. The production name for the Superboy TV Series was called, you guessed it, Superboy Productions, Inc. There had been an early idea (or rather, media specualtion) of tie-ing Superboy season 2 with Superman: The New Movie starring Gerard Christopher. But it got pushed back, and filmming would begin in the summer for a mid-1994 release.
It was later announced that it would tie-in with the Christopher Reeve movies, though it had been said earlier in the producing stages the film would tie-in with the Superboy TV show. Ilya Salkind professed that his first choice had always been Christopher Reeve at Wizard Com Anaheim 2010. However, in the eyes of the Salkinds, television was merely their stepping stool back to the big screen. Superboy the TV series proved to be a hit, and in retrospect, Gerard Christopher gained a loyal fan-base. So the possiblity of reviving a movie series through their successful Superboy show was certinaly there, if however obscure. Now all they needed was a screenplay....
Cary Bates, executive story consultant of the Superboy TV Series, and Mark Jones, were both hired to write the script for the next Superman movie. We are not sure if the script for SUPERMAN: THE NEW MOVIE would be the same story, but it was a strong possiblity. The story involved Brainiac as the villain and it centered around the bottled city of Kandor. Kandorians were characters in the script and the spirit of Jor-El would pay a visit. Superman: The New Movie probably would have been based on the same story.
Superman: The New Movie wasn't the first time a Superboy actor was said to possibly star in a Superman/Boy movie. In 1989, probably due to the success of both the first 'Batman' film and the climbing ratings of the 'Superboy' series, it was said there had been talks of a Superman film project by the Salkinds unformly titled (by the fans) as "Young Superman". It would have starred the first Superboy star John Haymes Newton (as very briefly mentioned in an interview by John Haymes Newton himself, available to read on this website). It had been a "strong possiblity", he claimed. But information on this was scarce, and no longer heard of by the time he was replaced by Gerard Christopher. (NOTE: Superman Supersite uplifted this enitre paragraph from my website for their website without credit; just incase anyone claims plagarism on my part. This article was written by me for my website close to 8 years ago, formerly known as The Boy of Steel TV website).
Virtually nothing is known about the story of this (possible movie) Newton spoke of, and more than likely, it was mere chatter on the set. Superman: The New Movie was the closest possiblity of reviving the series with a Superboy star even if Reeve was their first choice. Unfortunately for the Salkinds, by mid-1994 the option on the movie rights to Superman met an untimely end and it was reverted back to Warner Brothers. Often called "the evil Jon Peters" by the fans, he stepped in to begin work on 'Superman Reborn/Lives' . By 1996, pre-production plans were laid out for the next Superman movie (the first in nine years) called "Superman Reborn" (based on the "Death and Life Of Superman" storyline as was presented in DC Comics).
Even far more evil than Lex Luthor, Nicholas Cage was said to play the Man of Steel, and it would be directed by Tim Burton. Concerns about the quality of the screenplay and the rising production costs (which was speculated would be over $100 million) immediately put another Superman movie into development hell. This left the Superman franchise in limbo for many years, whereby WB passed it on to many possible directors like Tim Burton, McG and Brett Ratner, but the one that wins the award is the whacky casting choice for Nic Cage as Superman (and aren't we glad that never happened).
Below, for fun, the webmaster of Superboy Theater did an imaginary poster for a Superman movie starring a Superboy star. It is called SUPERBOY: THE MOVIE. You can save the poster directly onto your desktop, it is in high resolution. So feel free to blow it up into a real poster for your own amusement. You can also find it at this link. It is merely a hypothetical poster, so enjoy!