Spider-Man in film
The fictional character Spider-Man, a comic book superhero created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and featured in Marvel Comics publications, has appeared in six live-action films since his inception. Spider-Man is the alter-ego of Peter Parker, a talented young freelance photographer and aspiring scientist, imbued with superhuman abilities after being bitten by a radioactive/genetically-altered spider. The first live-action film was an American, made-for-television film-special that premiered on the CBS network in 1977 (intended as a backdoor pilot for what became a short-lived, weekly episodic TV series). It was directed by E.W. Swackhamer and starred Nicholas Hammond and Thayer David.
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. Marc Webb was hired to direct the reboot which featured a new cast including Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors. The reboot's intention was to have Peter Parker develop his abilities in high school once again. The reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man was released in 2012 to positive reviews, and its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released in 2014 to mixed reviews. Raimi's trilogy, produced on a total budget of US$597 million, grossed nearly $2.5 billion worldwide, while Webb's films were produced on a total budget of $480 million and grossed over $1.4 billion. The Spider-Man films are the sixth highest-grossing film franchise, having grossed over $3.9 billion.
In February 2015, Disney, Marvel Studios (a purchased subsidiary of Disney), and Sony Pictures jointly announced that a new iteration of Spider-Man would be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), following a deal to share the film rights to Spider-Man. This new teenage incarnation of Peter Parker would be played by Tom Holland, confirmed to make his MCU debut in 2016's Captain America: Civil War (distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures); the character would then appear in his own Spider-Man reboot film (distributed by Sony), scheduled for July 28, 2017.
- 1 Early films
- 2 Development
- 3 Sam Raimi films
- 4 Marc Webb films
- 5 Licensing agreement with Marvel Studios
- 6 Cast and characters
- 7 Crew
- 8 Home media
- 9 Reception
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
In 1977, the pilot episode of The Amazing Spider-Man television series was released by Columbia Pictures as a feature film outside of the United States. In 1978, episodes from the television series were re-edited and released outside of the United States as a feature film titled Spider-Man Strikes Back. In 1979, a film made using the same method was released as Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge. The disappointing performance of 1983's Superman III made feature-film adaptations of comic book properties a very low priority in Hollywood until the 1990s.
On July 22, 1978, Tōei released a theatrical spin-off of their Spider-Man TV series at the Tōei Cartoon Festival[ja]. The film was directed by Kōichi Takemoto[ja], who also directed eight episodes of the TV series. The week after the film's release, a character introduced in the film, Jūzō Mamiya (played by Noboru Nakaya[ja]), began appearing in episodes of the TV series. Like the rest of the series, the film was made available for streaming on Marvel's official website in 2009.
In 1985, after a brief option on Spider-Man by Roger Corman expired, Marvel Comics optioned the property to Cannon Films. Cannon chiefs Menahem Golan and his cousin Yoram Globus agreed to pay Marvel Comics $225,000 over the five-year option period, plus a percentage of any film’s revenues. However, the rights would revert to Marvel if a film was not made by April 1990.
Tobe Hooper, then preparing both Invaders From Mars and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, was mooted as director. Golan and Globus misunderstood the concept of the character ("They thought it was like The Wolf Man", said director Joseph Zito) and instructed writer Leslie Stevens, creator of The Outer Limits, to write a treatment reflecting their misconception. In Stevens’ story, a corporate scientist intentionally subjects ID-badge photographer Peter Parker to radioactive bombardment, transforming him into a hairy, suicidal, eight-armed monster. This human tarantula refuses to join the scientist’s new master-race of mutants, battling a succession of mutations kept in a basement laboratory.
Unhappy with this perceived debasement of his comic book creation, Marvel’s Stan Lee pushed for a new story and screenplay, written for Cannon by Ted Newsom and John Brancato. The variation on the origin story had Otto Octavius as a teacher and mentor to a college-aged Peter Parker. The cyclotron accident which "creates" Spider-Man also deforms the scientist into Doctor Octopus and results in his mad pursuit of proof of the Fifth Force. "Doc Ock" reconstructs his cyclotron and causes electromagnetic abnormalities, anti-gravity effects, and bilocation which threatens to engulf New York City and the world. Joseph Zito, who had directed Cannon’s successful Chuck Norris film Invasion USA, replaced Tobe Hooper. The new director hired Barney Cohen to rewrite the script. Cohen, creator of TV's Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Forever Knight, added action scenes, a non-canonical comic for the villain, gave Doc Ock the catch phrase, "Okey-dokey", and altered his goal from the Fifth Force to a quest for anti-gravity. Producer Golan (using his pen name "Joseph Goldman") then made a minor polish to Cohen's rewrite. Zito scouted locations and studio facilities in both the U.S. and Europe, and oversaw storyboard breakdowns supervised by Harper Goff. Cannon planned to make the film on the then-substantial budget of between $15 and $20 million.
While no casting was finalized, Zito expressed interest in actor/stunt man Scott Leva, who had posed for Cannon's promotional photos and ads, and made public appearances as Spider-Man for Marvel. The up-and-coming actor Tom Cruise was also discussed for the leading role. Zito considered Bob Hoskins as Doc Ock. Stan Lee expressed his desire to play Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson. Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn were considered for Aunt May, Peter Cushing as a sympathetic scientist, and Adolph Caesar as a police detective. With Cannon finances siphoned by the expensive Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Masters of the Universe, the company slashed the proposed Spider-Man budget to under $10 million. Director Zito opted out, unwilling to make a compromised Spider-Man. The company commissioned low-budget rewrites from writers Shepard Goldman, Don Michael Paul, and finally Ethan Wiley, and penciled in company workhorse Albert Pyun as director, who also made script alterations.
Scott Leva was still associated with the character through Marvel (he had appeared in photo covers of the comic), and read each draft. Leva commented, "Ted Newsom and John Brancato had written the script. It was good but it needed a little work. Unfortunately, with every subsequent rewrite by other writers, it went from good to bad to terrible." Due to Cannon's assorted financial crises, the project shut down after spending about $1.5 million on the project. In 1989, Pathé, owned by corrupt Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti, acquired the overextended Cannon. The filmmaking cousins parted, Globus remaining associated with Pathé, Golan leaving to run 21st Century Film Corporation, keeping a number of properties (including Spider-Man) in lieu of a cash buy-out. He also extended his Spider-Man option with Marvel up to January 1992.
Golan shelved the low-budget rewrites and attempted to finance an independent production from the original big-budget script, already budgeted, storyboarded and laid out. At Cannes in May 1989, 21st Century announced a September start date, with ads touting the script by "Barney Cohen, Ted Newsom & John Brancato and Joseph Goldman." As standard practice, Golan pre-sold the unmade film to raise production funds, with television rights bought by Viacom and home video rights by Columbia Pictures, which wanted to establish a studio franchise. Stephen Herek was attached as director at this point. Golan submitted this "new" screenplay to Columbia in late 1989 (actually the 1985 script with an adjusted "1989" date) and the studio requested yet another rewrite. Golan hired Frank LaLoggia, who turned in his draft but grew disenchanted with 21st Century. Neil Ruttenberg was hired for one more draft, which was also "covered" by script readers at Columbia. Columbia’s script analysts considered all three submissions "essentially the same story." A tentative production deal was set. Said Stan Lee in 1990, "21st Century [is] supposed to do Spider-Man and now they're talking to Columbia and the way it looks now, Columbia may end up buying Spider-Man from 21st Century."
21st Century’s Menahem Golan still actively immersed himself mounting "his" Spider-Man, sending the original "Doc Ock" script for production bids. In 1990, he contacted Canadian effects company Light and Motion Corporation regarding the visual effects, which in turn offered the stop-motion chores to Steven Archer (Krull, Clash of the Titans).
Toward the end of shooting True Lies, Variety carried the announcement that Carolco Pictures had received a completed screenplay from James Cameron. This script bore the names of James Cameron, John Brancato, Ted Newsom, Barry [sic] Cohen and "Joseph Goldmari", a typographical scrambling of Golan's pen name ("Joseph Goldman") with Marvel executive Joseph Calimari. The script text was identical to the one Golan submitted to Columbia the previous year, with the addition of a new 1993 date. Cameron stalwart Arnold Schwarzenegger was frequently linked to the project as the director's choice for Dr. Octopus.
James Cameron "scriptment"
Months later, James Cameron submitted an undated 47-page "scriptment" with an alternate story (the copyright registration was dated 1991), part screenplay, part narrative story outline. The "scriptment" told the Spider-Man origin, but used variations on the comic book characters Electro and Sandman as villains. This "Electro" (named Carlton Strand, instead of Max Dillion) was a megalomaniacal parody of corrupt capitalists. Instead of Flint Marko's character, Cameron’s "Sandman" (simply named Boyd) is mutated by an accident involving Philadelphia Experiment-style bilocation and atom-mixing, in lieu of getting caught in a nuclear blast on a beach. The story climaxes with a battle atop the World Trade Center and had Peter Parker revealing his identity to Mary Jane Watson. In addition, the treatment was also heavy on profanity, and had Spider-Man and Mary Jane having sex on the Brooklyn Bridge.
This treatment reflected elements in previous scripts: from the Stevens treatment, organic web-shooters, and a villain who tempts Spider-Man to join a coming "master race" of mutants; from the original screenplay and rewrite, weird electrical storms causing blackouts, freak magnetic events and bi-location; from the Ethan Wiley draft, a villain addicted to toxic super-powers and multiple experimental spiders, one of which escapes and bites Peter, causing an hallucinatory nightmare invoking Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis; from the Frank LaLoggia script, a blizzard of stolen cash fluttering down onto surprised New Yorkers; and from the Neil Ruttenberg screenplay, a criminal assault on the NYC Stock Exchange. In 1991, Carolco Pictures extended Golan’s option agreement with Marvel through May 1996, but in April 1992, Carolco ceased active production on Spider-Man due to continued financial and legal problems.
When James Cameron agreed to make Spider-Man, Carolco lawyers simply used his previous Terminator 2 contract as a template. A clause in this agreement gave Cameron the right to decide on movie and advertising credits. Show business trade articles and advertisements made no mention of Golan, who was still actively assembling the elements for the film. In 1993, Golan complained publicly and finally instigated legal action against Carolco for disavowing his contractual guarantee credit as producer. On the other hand, Cameron had the contractual right to decide on credits. Eventually, Carolco sued Viacom and Columbia to recover broadcast and home video rights, and the two studios countersued. 20th Century Fox, though not part of the litigation, contested Cameron’s participation, claiming exclusivity on his services as a director under yet another contract. In 1996, Carolco, 21st Century, and Marvel went bankrupt.
Via a quitclaim from Carolco dated March 28, 1995, MGM acquired 21st Century's film library and assets, and received "...all rights in and to all drafts and versions of the screenplay(s) for Spider-Man written by James Cameron, Ted Newsom & John Brancato, Menahem Golan, Jon [sic] Michael Paul, Ethan Wiley, Leslie Stevens, Frank Laloggia, Neil Ruttenberg, Barney Cohen, Shepard Goldman and any and all other writers." MGM also sued 21st Century, Viacom, and Marvel Comics, alleging fraud in the original deal between Cannon and Marvel. In 1998, Marvel emerged from bankruptcy with a reorganization plan that merged the company with Toy Biz. The courts determined that the original contract of Marvel's rights to Golan had expired, returning the rights to Marvel, but the matter was still not completely resolved. In 1999, Marvel licensed Spider-Man rights to Columbia, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment. MGM disputed the legality, claiming it had the Spider-Man rights via Cannon, 21st Century, and Carolco.
In the meantime, MGM/UA chief executive John Calley moved to Columbia Pictures. Intimately familiar with the legal history of producer Kevin McClory’s claim to the rights to both Thunderball and other related James Bond characters and elements, Calley announced that Columbia would produce an alternate 007 series, based on the "McClory material", which Calley acquired for Columbia. (Columbia had made the original 1967 film spoof of Casino Royale, a non-Eon production).
Both studios now faced rival projects, which could undercut their own long-term financial stability and plans. Columbia had no consistent movie franchise, and had sought Spider-Man since 1989; MGM/UA’s only reliable source of theatrical income was a new James Bond film every two or three years. An alternate 007 series could diminish or even eliminate the power of MGM/UA’s long-running Bond series. Likewise, an MGM/UA Spider-Man film could negate Columbia’s plans to create an exclusive cash cow. Both sides seemed to have strong arguments for the rights to do such films.
The two studios made a trade-off in March 1999; Columbia relinquished its rights to create a new 007 series in exchange for MGM's giving up its claim to Spider-Man. Columbia acquired the rights to all previous scripts in 2000, but exercised options only on the "Cameron Material", i.e., both the completed multi-author screenplay and the subsequent "scriptment." After more than a decade of attempts, Spider-Man truly went into production and all of the Spider-Man films were distributed by Columbia Pictures, the primary film production holding of Sony. The first three were directed by Sam Raimi, and the reboot was directed by Marc Webb. Laura Ziskin served as producer until her death in 2011.
Sam Raimi films
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)
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, who he believes is responsible for his father's death. 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)
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, 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 cancelled films
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. 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. The script was subsequently rewritten by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and rewritten again by Gary Ross in October 2009. Sony also engaged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 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. Raimi also discussed his desire to upgrade Bruce Campbell from a cameo appearance to a significant role. 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. However, several years later Raimi stated that Anne Hathaway was going to be Black Cat if Spider-Man 4 had been made.
As disagreements between Sony and Raimi threatened to push the film off the intended May 6, 2011 release date, 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. Raimi purportedly went through four iterations of the script with different screenwriters and still "hated it".
In July 2007, Avi Arad revealed a Venom spin-off was in the works. The studio commissioned Jacob Aaron Estes to write a script, but rejected it the following year. In September 2008, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese signed on to write. Stan Lee signed on to make a cameo in the film. Rhett Reese later revealed that they had written two drafts for the film and that the studio was pushing the film forward. In 2009, Gary Ross, who was then rewriting the latest draft of the unproduced Spider-Man 4, was assigned to rewrite the Venom script and direct the film, in which Venom would be an antihero rather than a supervillain. In March 2012, Chronicle director Josh Trank negotiated with Sony about his interest in directing the film after Ross left development to direct The Hunger Games. In June 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man producer Matt Tolmach, speaking of his and fellow producer Avi Arad's next project, a Venom film, suggested it could follow the shared-universe model of the film The Avengers: "What I'm trying to say to you without giving anything away is hopefully all these worlds will live together in peace someday."
Marc Webb films
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Sony announced that the franchise would be rebooted with a new director and new cast. The Amazing Spider-Man was released on July 3, 2012 in 3D and IMAX 3D, and is intended to focus on Peter Parker developing his abilities in high school. Sony also confirmed that James Vanderbilt would write the script for the new film and Marc Webb, whose previous film (500) Days of Summer was his directorial debut, would direct the reboot. Entertainment Weekly called Vanderbilt's script "gritty, contemporary" and referenced Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan's reboot of the Batman film series, which also reinvented the tone of the series. The cast includes Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors. Merchandising rights were sold by Sony to Disney Consumer Products in 2011, in exchange for full participation in the films themselves.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Series co-star Emma Stone said The Amazing Spider-Man would be the first in what is envisioned as a new series. Columbia Pictures said in March 2011 that it had contracted James Vanderbilt to write a sequel, and by April 2012, Sony had contracted Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner to re-write the sequel. In August 2011, nearly a year before The Amazing Spider-Man's release, Sony announced a sequel release date of May 2, 2014. Star Andrew Garfield said days before the release of The Amazing Spider-Man that, "If we do [a sequel], I hope I can do it — I hope they'd let me do it. ... They already have a release date for the second one. But no script! So we have our priorities in order." On September 14, 2012, it was confirmed that Garfield will return to the role and that Marc Webb will return as director. A second sequel was also expected, but was cancelled due to the deal with Marvel Studios. J. K. Simmons, who portrayed J. Jonah Jameson in Raimi's trilogy, expressed interest in returning to the role. On October 10, 2012, it was announced that Shailene Woodley was offered the role of Mary Jane Watson for the first sequel. Woodley was cast as Mary Jane Watson, but with a small role in the second film, and a larger role planned for the third film. However, it was announced on June 19, 2013, that Mary Jane was cut from the film and moved to the sequel in order to streamline the story and focus on the relationship between Garfield's and Stone's characters. On November 1, 2012, it was announced that Jamie Foxx was in "early talks" to play the role of Electro in the second film, later it was confirmed he would be playing the character. On November 16, 2012, it was revealed that Harry Osborn would appear in the film. On December 3, 2012, Marc Webb revealed that Dane DeHaan was cast in the role. In February 2013, it was announced that Paul Giamatti would play the Rhino and Chris Cooper would play Norman Osborn.
In June 2013, Sony Pictures announced it had set release dates for the next two Spider-Man films. The third film was scheduled to be released on June 10, 2016, and the fourth was scheduled to be released on May 4, 2018. Paul Giamatti confirmed that Rhino would return in the third film. That November, Sony Pictures Entertainment chief Michael Lynton told analysts, "We do very much have the ambition about creating a bigger universe around Spider-Man. There are a number of scripts in the works." Andrew Garfield stated that his contract is for three films, and is unsure of his involvement for the fourth film. In February 2014, Sony announced that Webb would return to direct the third Amazing Spider-Man film. In March 2014, Webb stated that he would not be directing the fourth film, but would like to remain as a consultant for the series. On July 11, 2014, Orci told IGN that he is not working on the third film due to the third Star Trek film. Kurtzman revealed in an interview that the third film is still continuing production and there is a possibility of seeing a Black Cat film. On July 23, 2014, Sony Pictures announced that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was delayed to 2018. After the announcement in February 2015 of a new franchise with Marvel Studios, the sequels to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 were cancelled.
Possible spin-off films
On December 12, 2013, Sony issued a press release through the viral site, Electro Arrives announcing that two films were in development, with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Ed Solomon writing a spin-off to The Amazing Spider-Man focused on Venom (with Kurtzman attached to direct) and Drew Goddard writing one focused on the villain team Sinister Six with an eye to direct. Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee the development and production of these films for the studio. In April 2014, it was announced that Goddard will direct the Sinister Six film, and that both spin-offs would be released before a fourth Amazing Spider-Man, with Spider-Man potentially appearing in both spin-offs. Later in the month, Tolmach and Arad revealed the Sinister Six film would be a redemption story and that the film's lineup might differ from the comics. On July 23, 2014, Sony Pictures announced that The Sinister Six is scheduled for release on November 11, 2016. By August 2014, Sony was also looking to release a female-centered spin-off film in 2017, with Lisa Joy Nolan writing, and had given the Venom spin-off the potential title of Venom Carnage.
Despite the announcement in February 2015 of a new franchise with Marvel Studios, it was revealed that The Sinister Six, Venom, and the female-led spin-off films set in The Amazing Spider-Man franchise are "still moving forward". Feige is not expected to be creatively involved with these films. However, as of August 2015, the spin-offs have been aborted due to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperforming commercially.
Licensing agreement with Marvel Studios
In December 2014, following the hacking of Sony Pictures' computers, both Sony and Marvel were in discussion about allowing Spider-Man to appear in the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Captain America: Civil War while having control of the film rights remaining with Sony. Those plans were said to be tabled. Instead, Sony had considered having Sam Raimi return to direct a new trilogy, along with an animated comedy with Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the latter of which is set for release on July 20, 2018.
However, on February 9, 2015, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios announced that Spider-Man would appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the character appearing in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film and Sony releasing a Spider-Man film co-produced by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal on July 28, 2017, with Sony Pictures continuing to own, finance, distribute, and having final creative control of the Spider-Man films. Reports indicated that the MCU film Spider-Man would appear in as part of the deal would be Captain America: Civil War. In March 2015, Marvel Entertainment CCO Joe Quesada indicated that the Peter Parker version of the character would be used, which was confirmed by Feige in April.
In April 2015, Feige said that the reboot would not have an origin story, and would take inspiration from Batman Begins, as it would stay true to the spirit of the character while still having a different tone from previous incarnations. He also revealed that Marvel had been working to add Spider-Man to the MCU since at least October 2014, when they announced their full slate of Phase Three films, saying, "Marvel doesn't announce anything officially until it's set in stone. So we went forward with that Plan A in October, with the Plan B being, if [the deal] were to happen with Sony, how it would all shift. We've been thinking about [the Spider-Man film] as long as we've been thinking about Phase Three."
In early May 2015, Jonathan Levine, Ted Melfi, Jason Moore, John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein and Jared Hess were being considered to direct the film. By the end of the month, Asa Butterfield, Tom Holland, Judah Lewis, Matthew Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Charlie Rowe screen tested for the lead role, against Robert Downey Jr., who portrays Iron Man, for chemistry. The six were chosen out of a search of over 1,500 actors to test in front of Feige, Pascal and the Russo brothers, the directors of Captain America: Civil War. By early June 2015, Levine and Melfi became the favorites to direct the film, with Daley & Goldstein and Jon Watts also in consideration, and Feige and Pascal narrowed the actors considered to Holland and Rowe. Both screen tested again with Downey, with Holland also testing with Chris Evans, who portrays Captain America, and emerged as the favorite. On June 23, 2015, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios jointly announced that Holland would star and that Watts would direct the film. Holland is signed for three films, as well as his appearance in Captain America: Civil War. Also in June, Feige clarified that the initial Sony deal does not allow the character to appear in any of the MCU television series, as it was "very specific... with a certain amount of back and forth allowed." Filming is expected to begin in June 2016. In July 2015, it was reported that Marisa Tomei was offered the role of Aunt May. Later in the month, John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein confirmed that they would write the screenplay for the film.
Cast and characters
Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell have both appeared in the films as cameo appearances. Lee, one of the co-creators of Spider-Man, has appeared in all films except the 1977 film. In Spider-Man, he was a bystander who grabs a young girl from falling debris during the battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin in Times Square. Also, the gag reel of the film reveals Stan showing Peter Parker some sunglasses that were used for the X-Men film. In Spider-Man 2, he appears once again as a bystander saving someone from falling debris, during the battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus at a building. In Spider-Man 3, he was a man on the street talking to Peter Parker, explaining that some people can't make a difference. He then says his famous line, "'Nuff Said!". In the Webb series, Lee appears as a librarian in The Amazing Spider-Man listening to music on his headphones while stamping books, oblivious to the ongoing battle, and as a graduation guest in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Campbell, a long-time colleague of Sam Raimi, appeared in all three of his films. In Spider-Man, he was the announcer at the wrestling ring Peter was in and gave him the name "Spider-Man", instead of the "Human Spider" (the name with which Peter wanted to be introduced). In Spider-Man 2, he was an usher who refuses to let Peter enter the theater for Mary Jane's play when arriving late. In Spider-Man 3, Campbell appears as a French maître d'.
|The Amazing Spider-Man
|The Amazing Spider-Man 2
|Untitled Spider-Man film
|Director||Sam Raimi||Marc Webb||Jon Watts|
|Executive producer(s)||Avi Arad,
Joseph M. Caracciolo
|E. Bennett Walsh,
John Francis Daley,
Jonathan M. Goldstein
|Composer(s)||Danny Elfman||Christopher Young||James Horner||Hans Zimmer,
|Director of photography||Don Burgess||Bill Pope||John Schwartzman||Dan Mindel||TBD|
|Bob Murawski||Alan Edward Bell,
The Sam Raimi trilogy was released on DVD, the first two being released exclusively as two-disc sets, with the third film being released in both single and two-disc editions. All three films were later packaged in a "Motion Picture DVD Trilogy" box set.
Spider-Man 3 was initially the only Spider-Man film to be released individually on the high-definition Blu-ray format. The first two films were made available on Blu-ray, but only as part of a boxed set with the third film, called Spider-Man: The High-Definition Trilogy. The first two films lacked the bonus features from the DVDs, although Spider-Man 2 did contain both cuts of the film.
Sony announced on April 2, 2012 that the three films would be re-released on June 12, 2012. The DVDs of the first two films reinstated a selection of the bonus features missing from the earlier Blu-ray releases, although the Spider-Man 3 reissue did not include the bonus disc of additional special features that appeared on earlier Blu-ray releases.
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Box office ranking||Budget||Ref(s)|
|Spider-Man||May 3, 2002||$403,706,375||$418,002,176||$821,708,551||18
|Spider-Man 2||June 30, 2004||$373,585,825||$410,180,516||$783,766,341||26
|Spider-Man 3||May 4, 2007||May 1, 2007||$336,530,303||$554,341,323||$890,871,626||34
|The Amazing Spider-Man||July 3, 2012||June 27, 2012||$262,030,663||$495,900,000||$757,930,663||75||59||$230 million|||
|The Amazing Spider-Man 2||May 2, 2014||April 16, 2014||$202,853,933||$506,128,390||$708,982,323||153||73||$250 million|||
The first three Spider-Man films set new opening day records in North America in their opening weekend. The films are among the top of North American rankings of films based on Marvel Comics, with Spider-Man ranking second, Spider-Man 2 ranking third, and Spider-Man 3 ranking fourth. In North America, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 are ranked third, fourth and fifth for all superhero films, with the third film ranking fifth worldwide for superhero films (behind The Avengers, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises). Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 are the most successful films produced by Sony/Columbia Pictures in North America.
Critical and public response
|Spider-Man||89% (236 reviews)||73 (37 reviews)||A-|
|Spider-Man 2||93% (261 reviews)||83 (41 reviews)||A-|
|Spider-Man 3||63% (246 reviews)||59 (40 reviews)||B+|
|The Amazing Spider-Man||72% (285 reviews)||66 (42 reviews)||A-|
|The Amazing Spider-Man 2||53% (267 reviews)||53 (49 reviews)||B+|
David Ansen of Newsweek enjoyed Spider-Man as a fun film to watch, though he considered Spider-Man 2 to be "a little too self-important for its own good." Ansen saw Spider-Man 3 as a return to form, finding it "the most grandiose chapter and the nuttiest." Tom Charity of CNN appreciated the films' "solidly redemptive moral convictions", also noting the vast improvement of the visual effects from the first film to the third. While he saw the second film's Doc Ock as the "most engaging" villain, he applauded the third film's Sandman as "a triumph of CGI wizardry." Richard Corliss of Time enjoyed the action of the films and thought that they did better than most action movies by "rethinking the characters, the franchise and the genre."
Colin Covert of the Star Tribune praised Spider-Man as a "superb debut" of the superhero as well as Spider-Man 2 as a "superior sequel" for filmgoers who are fans "of spectacle and of story." Covert expressed disappointment in Spider-Man 3 as too ambitious with the multiple storylines leaving one "feeling overstuffed yet shortchanged." Manohla Dargis of The New York Times enjoyed the humor of the first two films, but found it missing in the third installment. Dargis also noted, "The bittersweet paradox of this franchise is that while the stories have grown progressively less interesting the special effects have improved tremendously." Robert Denerstein of the Rocky Mountain News ranked the films from his favorite to his least favorite: Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man 3. While Denerstein missed the presence of Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus from the second film, he found the third film – despite being "bigger, though not necessarily better" – to have a "satisfying conclusion."
Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were both nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, which Spider-Man 2 won. Spider-Man was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing and Spider-Man 2 for the Academy Award for Best Sound.
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Cite error: The named reference
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