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Superman prequel filmed in Belfast cancelled by US network


Belfast Harbour Studio

Belfast Harbour Studio

Belfast Harbour Studio

A Superman prequel filmed in Belfast has been cancelled after two seasons due to poor viewing figures.

The American network SyFy pulled the plug on the show after only 350,000 people in the United States tuned in for the finale of the second season. This represents a shocking decline from more than 1m per episode during the first season.

Krypton was the first tenant at Belfast Harbour Studios, an eight-acre complex which opened in 2017.

The show ranked as SyFy's best series premiered in three years when it debuted last year, averaging 1.8m viewers per episode.

This dropped to 408,000 in America for its second season, which will be aired on E4 in Ireland and UK on Wednesday.

Cemeron Welsh, the show's producer and writer said: "Unfortunately, the challenge of keeping a show on the air in today's television landscape- especially a relatively expensive show for a network like SyFy- proved too great."

The show, set on Superman's home planet of Krypton, told the story of his grandfather.

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“Krypton didn’t hang together,” said Dave Golder, a writer for SFX Magazine. “It kept throwing in mythological elements from the DC universe, so it confused people. Krypton was a superhero show without a superhero.

"The producers were buoyed up by the fact Gotham, a Batman prequel [on Fox], went on for five series. But Bruce Wayne was in it; Superman’s dad wasn’t even in the first season of Krypton.”

Northern Irish actor Ian McElhinney, who played a distant relative of Superman in the show, said: “Twenty years ago this kind of production wasn’t possible in Belfast. We didn’t have the space or the personnel.”

The show was filmed on two 65,000 sq ft stages at Belfast Harbour Studios and around £900,000 was spent per episode on visual effects.

Belfast Harbour revealed a further £35m investment in the studio in July.

Jenni Barkley, a spokeswoman for Belfast Harbour Commissioners, said the studios do not have a tenant at present.

Despite the cancellation of Krypton, investment plans are continuing but depend on planning permission.

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