Spider-Man trilogy

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Directed by Sam Raimi
Produced by Laura Ziskin
Ian Bryce
Avi Arad
Grant Curtis
Screenplay by David Koepp
Alvin Sargent
Sam Raimi
Ivan Raimi
James Vanderbilt
David Lindsay-Abaire
Gary Ross
Starring Tobey Maguire
Willem Dafoe
Kirsten Dunst
James Franco
Cliff Robertson
Rosemary Harris
Alfred Molina
Thomas Haden Church
Topher Grace
Bryce Dallas Howard
J.K. Simmons
Music by Danny Elfman
Christopher Young
Cinematography Don Burgess
Bill Pope
Edited by Bob Murawski
Arthur Coburn
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • May 3, 2002 (2002-05-03) (Spider-Man)
  • June 30, 2004 (2004-06-30) (Spider-Man 2)
  • May 4, 2007 (2007-05-04) (Spider-Man 3)
  • May 6, 2011 (2011-05-06) (Spider-Man 4)
Running time
387 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $598 million

The Spider-Man trilogy is a film series directed by Sam Raimi, featuring the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. The rights to further motion picture films based on Spider-Man were purchased in 1985 and moved through various production companies and studios, before being secured by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sony hired Sam Raimi to direct Spider-Man (2002) and its sequels, Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Spider-Man 3 (2007). Through the films, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) developed a relationship with his high school crush Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and as Spider-Man, battled villains such as the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), the New Goblin (James Franco), the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and Venom (Topher Grace). The first two films were met with positive reviews from critics, while the third film met mixed reviews. While a sequel to Spider-Man 3 was in development, Sony announced that the franchise would instead be rebooted. Raimi's trilogy, produced on a total budget of US$597 million, grossed nearly $2.5 billion worldwide.


Spider-Man (2002)[edit]

Spider-Man follows Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), an orphaned high schooler who pines after popular girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). While on a science class field trip, Peter is bitten by a genetically-engineered "super spider." As a result, Peter gains superhuman abilities, including increased strength, speed, and the abilities to scale walls and generate organic webbing. After his beloved Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) is murdered, a murder Peter could have easily prevented, the teenager realizes that he must use his newfound abilities to protect New York City. Meanwhile, wealthy industrialist Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), the father of Peter's best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco), subjects himself to an experimental performance-enhancing serum, which creates a psychotic and murderous split personality. Donning a military battlesuit, Norman becomes a freakish "Green Goblin", who begins to terrorize the city. Peter, as Spider-Man, now must do battle with the Goblin, all while trying to express his true feelings for Mary Jane.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)[edit]

Main article: Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 picks up two years after the events of the first film. Struggling to balance both his superhero life and private civilian life, Peter still pines after Mary Jane, who is now engaged, and Harry continues to thirst for revenge against Spider-Man. As the stress of his dual life causes Peter's superpowers to wane, the hero must contend with the presence of Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a.k.a. Dr. Octopus, a mad scientist with four mechanical tentacles fused to his spine who sets out to recreate a dangerous fusion-based experiment that could destroy half of New York City. As the villain rampages across the city, Peter must choose between living the normal life he desires or committing to his responsibility to protect New York as Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)[edit]

Main article: Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 picks up months after the events of the second film. The film finds Peter basking in the spotlight as Spider-Man, and finding a balance between being a superhero and being with his love, Mary Jane Watson. Harry finally decides to take his revenge by setting up Mary Jane, then becomes the New Goblin like his father the original Green Goblin , and threatens the elements in Peter's life. Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), another photographer for the Bugle, sets out on a mission to defame Spider-Man and incriminate him. Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), an escaped convict, falls into a particle accelerator and becomes a shape-shifting sand monster later known as Sandman. He sets out to steal money for his chronically ill daughter. Peter later learns that Marko is the one that killed Uncle Ben, causing Peter's own dark intentions to grow. This vendetta is enhanced by the appearance of the mysterious black alien symbiotic substance that bonds to Peter, resulting in the formation of a new, jet-black costume. Once Peter separates himself from the alien, it finds a new host in the form of Brock, resulting in the creation of Venom.

Unproduced and canceled films[edit]

Spider-Man 4[edit]

"Spider-Man 4" redirects here. For the 2012 film, see The Amazing Spider-Man (2012 film).

In 2008, Spider-Man 4 entered development, with Raimi attached to direct and Maguire, Dunst and other cast members set to reprise their roles. Both a fourth and a fifth film were planned and at one time the idea of shooting the two sequels concurrently was under consideration. However, Raimi stated in March 2009 that only the fourth film was in development at that time and that if there were fifth and sixth films, those two films would actually be a continuation of each other.[1][2][3][4] James Vanderbilt was hired in October 2008 to pen the screenplay after initial reports in early 2008 that Sony Pictures was in contact with David Koepp, who wrote the first Spider-Man film.[5][6] The script was subsequently rewritten by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and rewritten again by Gary Ross in October 2009.[7] Sony also engaged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6.[6]

In 2008, Raimi expressed interest in portraying the transformation of Dr. Curt Connors into his villainous alter-ego, the Lizard; the character's actor Dylan Baker and producer Grant Curtis were also enthusiastic about the idea.[8][9][10] Raimi also discussed his desire to upgrade Bruce Campbell from a cameo appearance to a significant role.[11] It was reported in December 2009 that John Malkovich was in negotiations to play Vulture and that Anne Hathaway would play Felicia Hardy, though she would not have transformed into the Black Cat as in the comics. Instead, Raimi's Felicia was expected to become a new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.[12] However, several years later Raimi stated that Anne Hathaway was going to be Black Cat if Spider-Man 4 had been made.[13]

Sony Pictures announced in January 2010 that plans for Spider-Man 4 had been canceled due to Raimi's withdrawal from the project. Raimi reportedly ended his participation due to his doubt that he could meet the planned May 6, 2011 release date while at the same time upholding the film creatively; he admitted that he was "very unhappy" with the way Spider-Man 3 had turned out, and was under pressure to make the fourth film the best that he could.[14] Raimi purportedly went through four iterations of the script with different screenwriters and still "hated it".[15]

In addition to the dispute over story elements and villain choices between Raimi and Sony Pictures for Spider-Man 4, a big reason for the cancellation was that Raimi said to them he cannot make their deadline to have the film release at the top of summer 2011. Raimi reportedly wanted a budget around $300 million for the film but Sony wanted something closer to $200 million.[16]

Raimi's thoughts on the third and fourth film[edit]

Raimi admitted to being "exhausted" with the "tremendous amount of delegation" needed to make "gigantic" films like the Spider-Man films. However, it ultimately came down to an inability to get together a suitable story that led him to pass on a fourth installment of the blockbuster franchise.

"It really was the most amicable and undramatic of breakups: It was simply that we had a deadline and I couldn’t get the story to work on a level that I wanted it to work", he said of his split with Sony Pictures. "I was very unhappy with Spider-Man 3, and I wanted to make Spider-Man 4 to end on a very high note, the best Spider-Man of them all. But I couldn’t get the script together in time, due to my own failings, and I said to Sony, ‘I don’t want to make a movie that is less than great, so I think we shouldn’t make this picture. Go ahead with your reboot, which you’ve been planning anyway’".

He continued, "[Sony co-chairman] Amy Pascal said, "Thank you. Thank you for not wasting the studio’s money, and I appreciate your candor." So we left on the best of terms, both of us trying to do the best thing for fans, the good name of Spider-Man, and Sony Studios".

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Released films Canceled films
Spider-Man Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man 3 Spider-Man 4
Peter Parker
Tobey Maguire
Ben Parker Cliff Robertson
May Parker Rosemary Harris
J. Jonah Jameson J. K. Simmons
Joseph "Robbie" Robertson Bill Nunn
Norman Osborn
Green Goblin
Willem Dafoe
Harry Osborn
New Goblin
James Franco
Mary Jane Watson Kirsten Dunst
Betty Brant Elizabeth Banks
Flash Thompson Joe Manganiello Joe Manganiello
Burglar Michael Papajohn
(credited as Carjacker)
Michael Papajohn
(credited as Dennis Carradine/Carjacker)
Mendel Stromm Ron Perkins
Dr. Curt Connors
The Lizard
Dylan Baker
Otto Octavius
Doctor Octopus
Alfred Molina
John Jameson Daniel Gillies
Gwen Stacy Bryce Dallas Howard
Captain George Stacy James Cromwell
Eddie Brock, Jr.
Topher Grace
Flint Marko
Thomas Haden Church
Adrian Toomes
John Malkovich
Felicia Hardy
Black Cat
Anne Hathaway


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Other
North America Outside
North America
Worldwide All-time
North America
Spider-Man May 3, 2002 $403,706,375 $418,002,176 $821,708,551 #16
#36 (A)
#41 $140 million [17]
Spider-Man 2 June 30, 2004 $373,585,825 $410,180,516 $783,766,341 #24
#48 $200 million [18]
Spider-Man 3 May 4, 2007 May 1, 2007 $336,530,303 $554,341,323 $890,871,626 #29
#31 $258 million [19]
Total $1,113,822,503(E) $1,382,524,015(E) $2,496,346,518(E) $598 million(E) [20]
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on 2012 ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).
  • (E) indicates an estimated figure based on available numbers.

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Spider-Man 89% (225 reviews)[21] 73 (37 reviews)[22] A-[23]
Spider-Man 2 94% (249 reviews)[24] 83 (41 reviews)[25] A-[23]
Spider-Man 3 63% (244 reviews)[26] 59 (40 reviews)[27] B+[23]


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  2. ^ Carroll, Larry (October 16, 2008). "Sam Raimi Talks 'Spider-Man' Sequel Double-Shoot, Futures of Kirsten Dunst & The Lizard". MTV.com. Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved October 16, 2008. 
  3. ^ Harlow, John (September 14, 2008). "Spider-Man Tobey Maguire spins deal for fatherhood". The Sunday Times (London, England). Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Sam Raimi 'Can't Imagine' Doing 'Spider-Man 4' Without Kirsten Dunst, Only Working On Fourth Film". MTV.com. March 15, 2009. Archived from the original on March 17, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  5. ^ Fleming, Michael (January 21, 2008). "Columbia, Koepp talk 'Spider-Man'". Variety. Archived from the original on May 13, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Fleming, Michael (August 16, 2009). "Sony sets writer to spin 'Spider-Man'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 25, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2009. 
  7. ^ Ditzian, Eric (October 9, 2009). "Sam Raimi Hopes To Start Shooting 'Spider-Man 4' In March 2010". MTV.com. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  8. ^ Goldman, Eric (January 23, 2007). "Exclusive: Lizard Leapin' Into Spidey 4?". IGN.com. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  9. ^ Elliott, Sean (May 29, 2008). "Exclusive Interview: 'Spider-Man 3' Producer Grant Curtis talks about villains for 'Spidey 4' + His own origins - Part 1". iF Magazine. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2008. 
  10. ^ Carroll, Larry (June 26, 2008). "Sam Raimi May Not Helm 'Spider-Man 4'; Wants Carnage, Vulture As Villains If He Does". MTV.com. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. 
  11. ^ Ditzian, Eric (October 19, 2009). "Sam Raimi Confirms Bruce Campbell Will Have 'Meaty Role' in 'Spider-Man 4'". MTV.com. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  12. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (December 8, 2009). "EXCLUSIVE: Spider-Man 4 Circling John Malkovich, Anne Hathaway". Moveline.com. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Sam Raimi Confirms That Anne Hathaway Would Have Been His Black Cat in Spider-Man 4". SuperHeroHype.com. March 5, 2013. 
  14. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (March 6, 2013). "Sam Raimi on Oz, The Avengers, and Two Huge Movies He Never Made". Vulture. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  15. ^ Finke, Nikki; Fleming, Mike (January 11, 2010). "'Spider-Man 4' Scrapped; Sam Rami & Tobey Maguire & Cast Out; Franchise Reboot for 2012". Deadline.com. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Spider-Man Reboot Budget & Origins". screenrant. January 22, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Spider-Man (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Spider-Man 2 (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Spider-Man 3 (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Spider-Man Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Spider-Man". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Spider-Man (2002): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved May 15, 2007. 
  23. ^ a b c "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Spider-Man 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Spider-Man 2 (2004): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved May 15, 2007. 
  26. ^ "Spider-Man 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Spider-Man 3 (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved May 15, 2007.