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Monday March 27th 2023

Superman Returns | 2006

Superman Returns film location: Rivendell Hospital, Concord West, New South Wales
Superman Returns film location: the mansion of Gertrude Vanderworth: Rivendell Hospital, Concord West, New South Wales | Photograph: Wikimedia / Sardaka

Locations for Superman Returns can be found around New South Wales as Bryan Singer follows George Lucas to film at Sydney’s Fox Studios.

There are a few glimpses of the USA, however. Keeping with tradition, views across ‘Metropolis’ are aerial shots of a digitally doctored Manhattan. And the baseball stadium, into which Superman gently settles the stricken plane, is the Dodger Stadium, 1000 Vin Scully Avenue, north of downtown Los Angeles.

The rest is New South Wales. West of Sydney, on the waterfront of the Parramatta River, the Rivendell Hospital, Hospital Road, Concord West, becomes ‘Vanderworth Mansion’, the florid mansion of society widow Gertrude Vanderworth, inherited by the devious Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) to become the hideaway where he experiments with the stolen crystals.

After having disappeared for five years looking for the remnants of his home planet, Clark Kent (Brandon Routh) crashes back to earth at the Kent family farm in ‘Smallville, Kansas’. The house and barn were constructed on a 1200-hectare property, Umagarlee, on Barnbrook Road just south of Breeza-Currabubula Road, at Breeza, southwest of Tamworth, about 250 miles north of Sydney.

On the coast about 70 miles north of Sydney, stands the city of Newcastle. ‘Newhart Federal Bank’, where Superman prevents a robbery – while taking a bullet to the eyeball – is University House, on King Street at Auckland Street, part of the University of Newcastle.

Superman Returns film location: Art Gallery Of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales
Superman Returns film location: Lex Luthor steals the shard of kryptonite from the museum: Art Gallery Of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales | Photograph: Wikimedia / Nick-D

In Sydney itself, the exterior of the ‘Metropolitan Museum of Natural History’, from which Luthor steals the shard of kryptonite, is the Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road. The museum interior, though, is a few blocks to the south, in the Australian Museum, 6 College Street on the east side of Hyde Park.

As the museum is being robbed, Superman is diverted as he rescues Kitty Kowalski (Parker Posey) in the runaway car, which he deposits at Martin Place, at Pitt Street alongside the fountain you might recognise from The Matrix.

The waterfront home of Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), where Superman creepily spies on her and her new partner Richard White (James Marsden), is 2 James Cook Island, the artificial crescent-shaped island in the Sylvania Waters development, south of Sydney, made famous by the early Nineties reality TV show of the same name.

As Luthor’s crystals grow and ‘Metropolis’ trembles, flames erupt from the sewers at the junction of Pitt Street and Hunter Street, as the camera zooms up the frontage of the flatiron-style Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, 27 O'Connell Street.

Superman Returns film location: Wynyard Green Building, York Street, Sydney, New South Wales
Superman Returns film location: crowds gather outside the entrance to ‘Metropolis General Hospital’: Wynyard Building, York Street, Sydney, New South Wales | Photograph: Wikimedia / J-Bar

The 1932 Wynyard Building, 11 York Street (which contains the entrance to Wynyard Station) becomes ‘Metropolis General Hospital’ outside which crowds gather apprehensively as the injured Superman flatlines.

The ‘tropical island’ on which Lex Luthor and Kitty Kowalski are finally marooned as their ’copter runs out of fuel, is actually Narrabeen Beach, a famous surfing spot about 14 miles north of Sydney.