Nikki Finke’s money was well spent on Variety’s Michael Fleming as they have unleashed a huge scoop: SPIDER-MAN 4 will be a complete reboot of the franchise, and both director Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire are gone. PR is in the jump but this is huge. According to the story, Raimi felt he couldn’t make the summer release date with the script in such disarray.

This seems kind of inevitable — although Raimi had led the franchise to box office platinum, his quirky, character driven style wasn’t something that modern day studio heads readily understood. On paper the Vulture sounds like a boring villain — but could it have been any worse than Venom? Really now?

The reboot will take Peter Parker back to high school so we’ll get  a new origin, a new Mary Jane…it’s a….brand…new…day. Movies are taking after comics and redoing origins less than 10 years after the original. Sad.


Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012. Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today they are moving forward with a film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises.

The new chapter in the Spider-Man franchise produced by Columbia, Marvel Studios and Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will have a new cast and filmmaking team. Spider-Man 4 was to have been released in 2011, but had not yet gone into production.

“A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We’re very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter’s roots and we look forward to working once again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job,” said Sam Raimi.

“We have had a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration and friendship with Sam and Tobey and they have given us their best for the better part of the last decade.This is a bittersweet moment for us because while it is hard to imagine Spider-Man in anyone else’s hands, I know that this was a day that was inevitable,” said Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, who has served as the studio’s chief production executive since the beginning of the franchise. “Now everything begins anew, and that’s got us all tremendously excited about what comes next. Under the continuing supervision of Avi and Laura, we have a clear vision for the future of Spider-Man and can’t wait to share this exciting new direction with audiences in 2012.”

“Spider-Man will always be an important franchise for Sony Pictures and a fresh start like this is a responsibility that we all take very seriously,” said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. “We have always believed that story comes first and story guides the direction of these films and as we move onto the next chapter, we will stay true to that principle and will do so with the highest respect for the source material and the fans and moviegoers who deserve nothing but the best when it comes to bringing these stories and characters to life on the big screen.”

The studio will have more news about Spider-Man in 2012 in the coming weeks as it prepares for production of the film.

1 COMMENT

  1. So the translation is “We had difficulty finding a script anyone liked, so rather than get a better script, we’re firing the people who hated the script and using it anyway”? That’s…a terrible, terrible way about doing things. On the surface of it, the idea of keeping Peter in high school and progressing that makes sense for the franchise (that is the Spidey most people know, after all), but I personally loved Raimi’s take on the character and would much rather have seen more of that now and a reboot later.

  2. Yeah, this is a fairly radical switch in direction. Hmmm.

    But, a new Mary Jane = I won’t have to watch Kirsten Dunst hanging off any more buildings & screaming. Which rocks. I already didn’t dig her as MJ: MJ was this cool, happenin’ strong babe in the comics, & in the movies, she felt like so much window dressing, just a victim.

    Didn’t like Spidey 3..hopefully, a reboot will be good, & not like X-men 3 was to the previous two.

  3. …and unleash the calls for Bendis to script and Cameron to direct.

    Seriously, this is terrible news for the Spider-Man franchise, but great news for Raimi who is freed up to do something else. I know I’m in the minority here, but Malkovich as the Vulture was the most interesting thing about this whole thing. I am kind of disappointed that I’m not going to get to see that.

    Then again, the only comic book movie that I’m currently excited about is Scott Pilgrim, so what do I know?

  4. As one of 8 or 10 people in the world who liked S-M3 BETTER than S-M1 (2 was the best) I’m especially saddened. I really liked where he was going with the franchise and wanted to see more.

    But if Rami does World of Warcraft (speculated) I’ll be all over it. I’m not sure anyone else would have the quirky sense of humor and big-budget action cred to pull that one off.

  5. The problem with SPIDER-MAN isn’t so much different from the problem a writer faces with a serial character. The elements are very simple: hero, love interest, villain. New movie, new villain, something new with the love interest. If a movie’s a hit, the creators want to keep what works, but they also have to do something new so viewers don’t feel cheated by getting a repeat — and movies have to reach a much wider audience than comic books do. If Raimi’s directorial idiosyncrasies were important in making the SPIDER-MAN movies hits, then the financial people could justifiably be nervous about trying to continue the series without him. One failure in the series could kill the franchise. Better to go back to the beginning, which they’re sure there’s an audience for, and try to start a new series.

    IMO, this demonstrates the problem in trying to convert comic books into movies. Niche audiences accept repetition but there’s always pressure to increase the viewership for movies, given the increased expenses with every film. Taking in less revenue, putting fewer people in the seats, making less money overall, is bad publicity for everyone involved.

    SRS

  6. Ok, the 50 year old me thinks this is a bad idea because I liked the cast they had and Sam Raimi’s direction. Plus Spider-Man 3 ended on a kind of unresolved issue with Peter and MJ. HOWEVER, even though I don’t personally like the idea of a reboot, I can understand it because Sony see Spider-Man as part of a merchandising franchise for the kids. And a new generation of kids at that, who may already consider Maguire and Dunst as old school.

    Spider-Man isn’t really for 50 year old fans. It’s for da kidz, so a new beginning to keep it fresh makes sense. I think if I was nine years old I’d really be excited about this, and for this kind of movie that’s the age that matters.

    That said, if the revamp returns Peter and MJ to High School age then Sony might actually diminish their potential audience. Raimi had the good sense to have Peter graduate as soon as he could in his version. After all, it is Spider MAN not Spider BOY. I have a horrible feeling the reboot may be guided by Ultimate Spider-Man and become a kid movie rather than a family film.

  7. How is this any different from comics’ long tradition of many equally talented yet vastly diverse creators taking on creative duties with single iconic characters? There’s a bevy of young gifted talent out there that could bring a fresh approach to the Spidey mythos. There’s no need to assume Sony’d opt for an origin story, either; the public knows the basics, the reboot could pick up in media res. I’m a big Raimi fan, but I’m open and eager to see someone else’s fresh take.

    Unless it’s Uwe Boll. Then it’s time for pitchforks.

  8. So much for the curt conners cocktease!
    I’m a little sad. I felt we got cheated out of a good third film cuz of Sonys interference. How great would a true sandman movie have been? Oh well. I have no faith in Sonys decision making abilities. We are going to get a shitty reboot. I hope I’m wrong.

  9. we got cheated out of a good third film cuz of Sonys interference.

    Sony didn’t have Peter Parker smack his girlfriend in the mouth. Neither did they try to absolve him of his guilt over Uncle Ben. Neither did they waste ten minutes of the film on Bruce Campbell’s sub-Kline, sub-Cleese antics. Neither did they leave the Goddamn camera rolling on Aunt May’s stupid flaming engagement story. And I’d bet good money that Sony had nothing to do with shoehorning Gwen Stacy and her Dad into the film, either.

    Spider-Man 2 is still probably my second or third favourite superhero movie (second. Definitely second). But Spider-Man 3 was a goddamn abortion.

    //Oo/\

  10. Yeah, this def is a big shake-up…

    …but as some have mentioned, it’s really a challenge with Spider-Man, no matter who is on the film. What do you do, movie after movie?

    Peter. Origin of new villain that of course is connected to Peter in a personal way. MJ. Fight with villain. Peter’s personal problems. MJ. Another fight with villain. Peter problems. MJ. Climactic fight with villain, saving MJ.

    The challenge is how creative you can be within that. I really couldn’t believe they went to the “MJ held captive by villain” well two times, let alone in the third one as well…how many times can I hear, “Hold on Mary Jane! Mary Jane! I’m coming Mary Jane!”

  11. why not reboot something that needs a reboot? Like Daredevil.

    Hollywood keeps telling the same stories over and over again. At least now they’re being obvious about it.

  12. Recast? Sure, it had to happen eventually.

    New director? I guess so, though I liked what Raimi brought to the table.

    Reboot? Completely unnecessary and potentially confusing for the masses. Why not just keep Peter in some perpetual collegiate phase?

    What does backtracking accomplish? Do they plan on re-using the Green Goblin or Harry (I hope not)? Is there really anything so broken that it couldn’t be solved by a minor repositioning in the next film?

  13. Exactly. Peter is a college student. That’s fine. Especially when you consider that he was only a high schooler for a very short time in the comics.

    MJ and Peter … we’ve seen this in three films. Now we’re going to see more “I wonder if MJ would like me if she knew I was Spider-Man.” Bring in some different supporting characters. Gwen. Captain Stacy. For that matter, I would actaully like to see more of Joe Robertson (the Daily Bugle City Editor).

    “Niche audiences accept repetition but there’s always pressure to increase the viewership for movies…” You’re kidding, right? Mainstream audiences DON’T accept repeition?

    The best that might come of this is that Sam Raimi might actually start working on THE SHADOW. But there had better not be any musical numbers …

  14. If it wasn’t for Sony still being at the wheel, I’d say this was terrific news. Now I enjoyed Rami’s take in the first couple. The last one was a clunker, but that’s not solely Rami’s fault. Still, I hope they can redo Spider-man origins and get a few things right. Namely I hope they get Mary Jane done right this time as well as Peter’s first love, Gwen. Surprisingly, the love triangles and the teen drama of the original books were fairly weak and absent from the movies. You’d think the studios would be all for that.

  15. Reboot, shmeeboot. BATMAN got rebooted successfully beyond anyone’s expectations. SUPERMAN got…well…okay, you got me there.

    I was only a fair-to-middlin’ fan of Mr. Raimi’s take on things, so I don’t really have a dog in that particular fight (though I never took to Tobey MacGuire as Peter Parker). I do hope that they actually make it a movie that kids and adults can enjoy, which I never felt happened with the Sony SPIDER-MAN, aiming squarely at teens plus.

  16. “Niche audiences accept repetition but there’s always pressure to increase the viewership for movies…” You’re kidding, right? Mainstream audiences DON’T accept repeition?

    I was referring to such things as repeat encounters with villains. How many people would pay to see Spidey vs. Doc Ock again?

    SRS

  17. a reboot would basically be a remake of the first film which isn’t even ten years old

    i would just move forward on spidey 4 with a new cast, new director.

  18. I think we can all agree that movies > comics repeatedly tell us one thing.

    That any comic book franchise will continue to be it’s awesome self, in print, in the comics, where it belongs. Movies, as good as one or two of them might be, will never stand the test of time OR consistency that great comic writers and artists can demonstrate.

    I really liked what Riami did with the characters/story 2 out of the 3. I don’t know if Sony will be able to make the right choices for this reboot, so I’m not optimistic.

    As long as we don’t have something horribly rushed and complete tripe like that Wolverine-y Origin something-or-another…I want to say movie, but that’s not a correct word….

    It’ll be a coin toss. Train wreck like Spidey 3? Or “meh.”

  19. Ditching Raimi cannot be a good move. The genius that brought us Army of Darkness and put Spidey on the map – and they let him go? Not smart.

  20. It would be interesting to know the terms of Sony’s Spider Man contract with Marvel and how this decision will impact it…

  21. Raimi did his trilogy and now can focus on other projects. Harry Potter does the director switcheroo and it has its high and low points, same with Trek. Spider-Man is no different. I’d like to see another director do their take. Raimi would do an interesting Ghost Rider, Tomb of Dracula, Fantastic Four or even a Spectre film.

  22. I almost thought it was April 1 when I saw this headline.

    I can only imagine that the studio thinking went something like this:

    Spider-Man 1: Sam Raimi + creative control = Blockbuster
    Spider-Man 2: Sam Raimi + creative control = Blockbuster
    Spider-Man 3: Sam Raimi + studio ‘input’ = Disappointment
    Reason for Spider-Man 3 Disappointment = Sam Raimi

    I suspect someone at Sony also looked at the success of the Twilight and Harry Potter franchises and figures teen Spider-Man, with an emphasis on angsty teen-romance and really hot actors, has a potential to reach the same demographic. Which it might.

  23. I’m actually relieved by this news. I think Raimi & Co. have said just about everything they wanted to say about Spider-Man, and it was time to change things up. Similar to team changes on the comic books themselves, only on a much larger (and insanely more expensive) scale. Kudos to all involved for calling a time out to regroup rather than just plunging ahead on something nobody felt good about. There’s too much of that reckless spirit in Hollywood, so it’s good to see a little sanity intervene on behalf of a great character like Spider-Man.

    That said, I will dearly miss J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. Of course, he always could be re-cast as Jonah, but not likely with this sort of “back to the drawing board” move.

    Beyond that rather minor regret, bring on a new Spidey. Oh, and it’s gotta be 3D. I mean, come on.

  24. Well Ultimate Spiderman was great, so if they make an “Ultimate” Spiderman movie, there is a chance it could be good. Doing a teen Spidey in high school sounds like it would be a better cartoon series than a movie, but I’m willing to give an Ultimate Spiderman movie a shot.

  25. I would think the reason for a reboot is that Sony/Columbia wants to hold on to the license longer because of the Disney deal. The film franchise has potentially a longer life with a younger cast and a new director and a new direction.
    Plus, the recent commercial and critical success of THE DARK KNIGHT might determine the artistic direction of the new film.

  26. If the Maguire-Raimey series continued, the 4th film should have had a matured Flash Thompson move in with Pete as a roommate and the villian would be the Lizard.

    Just had to get that off my chest.

  27. Get ready for Spider-man remade as a Twilight clone. It’s time for a love triangle, teen angst, brooding, and magic….

  28. It would be interesting to know the terms of Sony’s Spider Man contract with Marvel and how this decision will impact it

    Advance for SPIDER-MAN 4 already paid:

    During a recent conference call to discuss their second quarter results, Marvel revealed that Sony has paid them an advance on ‘Spider-Man 4’, which may be taken as a sign of the studio’s commitment to the next installment of the franchise.

    Marvel Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Kenneth West told reporters, “During this quarter, we did receive the $5 million advance associated with Spider-man 4. That keeps Sony in line with actually releasing this picture within the normal time period.”

    Sony preferred Vanderbilt’s script:

    If you’ll recall, Vanderbilt wrote a draft for Spidey 4, but Raimi went out to multiple different writers to rewrite from there. It appears that Sony preferred Vanderbilt’s vision, but didn’t like where Raimi was going. With rumors of the two disputing sides wanting different villains, you can see where this has gone nutty.

    Sony has long-term license:

    Marvel owns Spider-Man, but it has a long-term agreement with Sony Corp. that allows Sony Pictures Entertainment to make movies based on the character, in exchange for royalties. Similarly, News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox makes the movies starring Marvel’s “X-Men.”

    While Marvel doesn’t comment on those deals, it receives gross participation in the films, usually a percentage that analysts estimate to be as high as 5% off the top of the film’s revenue.

    Sony’s first three Spider-Man films have taken in more than $1 billion at the domestic box office and DVD sales, and the studio has three more movies in development, and rights to make movies even beyond those.

    Budgets for the Spider-Man films
    SPIDER-MAN $139,000,000
    SPIDER-MAN 2 $200,000,000
    SPIDER-MAN 3 $258,000,000

  29. Ugh. Would somebody *please* institute a moratorium on using the cover to ASM #50 to illustrate virtually every item of bad news about anything Spider-Man?

    — Rob

  30. “…and unleash the calls for Bendis to script and Cameron to direct.”

    Stan Lee read Cameron’s script and said it was one of the most beautiful treatments on Spider-Man he’d ever read. I’m fine with a reboot. We get different takes on SM in comics all the time. Why not? It’s just movies. No big deal.

  31. While I can say I wasn’t a huge fan of the way they translated the movie from the comic originally, I hate with Hollywood does crap like this. They already established a story and idea, now it’s flush it and redo it. That is what ultimately made me drop comics and stop buying them all together. The sad thing is though, the casual fan will make the new movie a hit and Hollywood will once again pat themself on the head and say they did a good job. That’s throwing out the idea that a “part 4” would probably have pulled the same numbers just because of the name recognition.