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Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced yesterday that they are scrapping the plans for the next Spider-Man movie, tentatively titled Spider-Man 4 and due to open in theaters in May 2011. The new movie is tentatively scheduled for Summer 2012 and will be missing its key cast and its director.
"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.
Reportedly, the studio and the director were at odds about which villains to use in the next movie, and the script had undergone several rewrites already.
Multiple script rewrites are never a good sign for a movie, so it's probably best that the studio had the courage to take a step like this than to release a sub-standard movie, but I'm sure that fans of the first three movies are going to be disappointed that the fourth featuring the familiar cast and led by Raimi will never see the light of day.
This movie, however, tried my patience. At around two hours and 20 minutes, it's too long. Some judicious editing could have knocked probably 30 minutes without losing any of the primary storyline.
The best part is that all the familiar characters and the actors who played them are back. They provide some very good performances that make it easy to settle in and see what's new for Peter Parker and associates.
This "more of the same" issue probably plagued the Spider-Man 4 script, and if that is the case, good riddance!
The fact that they are taking Peter Parker back to high school may also shed some light on the motivations behind this change. Tobey Maguire is 34 years old, and therefore much older than the typical fans that will be targeted for the movie. Is this an example of ageism, only this time hitting a male actor instead of an actress?
Regardless of the motivations, the move of the release date from May 2011 to Summer 2012 creates a bit of a hole in Sony's lineup and it creates a void at the traditional beginning of the summer blockbuster season that other studios will be sure to try to fill in the near future.
See below for the full press release from Columbia Pictures.
What Do You Think?
Is rebooting Spider-Man a good idea, or are they nuts for messing with a tried-and-true formula?
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Spider-Man: Summer 2012
CULVER CITY, Calif., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 dealing 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. 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.
Source: Columbia Pictures
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