In the 2006 film Superman Returns, Luthor is played by Kevin Spacey. Although retaining a humorous streak, Spacey's take on the character is dryer and more straightforward than that of Hackman, and notably displays a more personal dislike and hatred for Superman. In the film, Luthor has been released from prison bent on revenge against Superman. Luthor funds his criminal operations by seducing a wealthy, elderly benefactor. Luthor's machinations once again concern real estate, as they did in the first two films. He plans to use Kryptonian crystals, like the one Superman used to create the Fortress of Solitude, to form a new continent, owned by Luthor, off the East Coast of the United States, destroying all surrounding landmass in the process and killing untold numbers of people. The landmass also has the added effect of sapping Superman's powers when he is in proximity, as Luthor has laced it with Kryptonite. While Superman is weakened, Luthor violently attacks him, stabbing him with a shard of Kryptonite and brutally kicking him as he crawls on the ground. Luthor shoves a barely-conscious Superman off the edge of he landmass into the Atlantic Ocean, presumably to his death. However, with the help of Lois Lane and Richard White, Superman recovers and hurls the landmass into space. After his scheme fails, Luthor uses a helicopter to escape capture, but it runs out of fuel, stranding him on a deserted island with his new sidekick/wife, wealthy heiress Kitty Kowalski, as well as her dog. When she asks what they will eat, he looks at the dog hungrily.

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