Richard Donner Tribute - Geoff Johns and Kevin Feige

Today comic book movies are all the rage. In fact, there are so many that every now and then there’s a thinkpiece talking about the possibility of superhero fatigue, though the box office shows that seems to be more of a wish from certain critics rather than something that’s actually happening. If anything, audiences are just getting smarter about what kind of comic book movies they want and the subgenre is evolving. But we may have never gotten the superhero movies of today if it wasn’t for one man.

Richard Donner was the first filmmaker to bring a comic book superhero to the big screen in a respectable way with Superman: The Movie back in 1978. But beyond that, Donner also gave Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and DC Entertainment President and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns their first jobs in the entertainment industry when they were fresh out of college, and the two offered up a tribute to the director recently at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Watch the Richard Donner tribute by Kevin Feige and Geoff Johns after the jump.

Both Feige and Johns worked at Richard Donner’s production company founded by the filmmaker and his wife Lauren Shuler Donner. Though Superman: The Movie didn’t result in the comic book boom that made the jobs that Kevin Feige and Geoff Johns have today possible, it did pave the way for more superhero movies like Batman to continue breaking the mold of what comic books can be on the big screen.

Funnily enough, in addition to giving comic books the respect they deserved with Superman: The Movie, the Donner family is also responsible for today’s comic book movie boom, because they produced the first X-Men movie back in 2000, the film whose box office success had every studio in Hollywood snatching up all of the comic book properties they could. Though that would eventually become a headache for Marvel Studios in their attempt to form a cinematic universe, it was a big step towards the comic book world on film we have today.

It’s crazy to think that the two men in charge of the biggest comic book universes on the big screen both began their careers at the production company responsible for the most groundbreaking superhero films. We’re just thankful that Richard Donner took a chance on them, so they could take a chance on making comic book movies in the way that fans have always wanted.

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