12 January 2010

SPIDER-MAN 4: Sony Pictures,' Disney Fear' To Blame For Franchise Murder

Although we're not happy in the least to have been right,Dabbler's predictions on Friday have now all but proved correct for the tormented Spider-Man4

Sony Pictures confirmed  yesterday afternoon that there will be no Spider-Man4, and that both Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire have been removed from the project.  Hints that Sony might resolve their storyline and casting disputes with Raimi in this way surfaced early Friday when a leaked email from a Sony executive suggested the film's visual special effects crew seek work elsewhere. 

Apparently, Raimi's concerns with the film's script, which we accurately interpreted to mean that  there was no script, also meant that he wouldn't be able to meet the Sony's projected 2011 summer release date for the Spidey-sequel.  Instead of delaying the  movie, Sony scrapped the project instead, and is moving forward with its plans to reboot the entire Spider-Man franchise.

While plans of a reboot have never been clearly outlined before today's earthshaking news, Sony has previously announced that in addition to Spider-Man4, future sequels -- Spider-Man5 and Spider-Man6 - were also in development and already had completed scripts written by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac).  In light of today's changes, these projected sequels will lose their numbering, but otherwise comprise the reboot of Sony's intentions. 

It's interesting to note that Vanderbilt was the first writer to tackle Sam Raimi's Spider-Man4, too. Raimi didn't care for the writer's approach, however, and replaced him.   Vanderbilt was then rehired by Sony and Marvel Studios to draft the fifth and sixth films, again taking things in a direction Raimi wasn't at all happy about. [link] Both sequels were intended to keep Raimi in the director's chair, although it was known that a new cast would be chosen those films, essentially becoming the reboots they've been confirmed now to be.

It's also interesting -- and just as frustrating - that, over the weekend, John Malkovich confirmed his role as the Vulture in Spider-Man4 .
Fresh off Tobey Maguire's flimsy statements on Friday, we took Malkovich's with the same grain of sand; as of now, one has to wonder if he was being completely untruthful, or if perhaps there's a Vulture circling between the pages of Vanderbilt's future script.

Sony's reboot of the Spider-Man franchise is hugely premature, considering reboots are the result of failed properties or those, as in Star Trek's case, where the cast no longer fits the project.  Aside from preventing Sam Raimi from redeeming himself with a film that measures up to his artistic merits, Sony's reboots will also allow them to hire a new director with far less clout than Raimi commands.  

According to Entertainment Weekly, Sony's intentions for the future Spider-franchise are rather well-established, which leads us to conclude that dropping Raimi had been a possibility they'd already considered.  The next Spider-Man will be more contemporarily set, be darker and grittier in tone a la    The Dark Knight, and will be an updated -  if not unnecessary - origin story featuring a high school age Peter Parker. We read those plans to mean   'New' Spider-Man will be a direct appeal to the Twilight-set, skewing for a complete storyline revamp rather than a further exploration of the wall-crawler's saga from the bountiful material available.  Dabblers, does that sound about right to you??

The extent of Sam Raimi's conflict with Sony may never be revealed, although we foresee a few dirty details will surface amid the spin before long. Although Maguire's stated he's all right to leave the role,  similar words from Sam Raimi present in Sony's press release yesterday just can't be believed.  Neither can the words of  Sony Pictures' Chairman and CE Michael Lynton:  "We have always believed that story comes first.”  Not only does his statement deign poorly on Raimi's abilities, but indeed the whole turn of events, which together suggest Sony's more concerned about making money than treating Spider-Man with the hero's characteristic responsibility. 

Prior to Disney's August 31st announcement to buy Marvel, Variety reported that rejuvenating Spider-Man was crucial for Sony lest it loose the franchise.  Now with Disney on stage, Sony is hyper-aware that a failure to keep Spider-Man fresh will result in their superhero's migration to the Mouse.  We've got no doubt that the fear of a 'Disney World' is one Sony, and now Spider-Man, won't shake -- at least until 'New' Spider-Man scores at the box office. And even then, not completely.

Speaking of that future box, the Spider-reboot is on the calendar for a Summer 2012 release.  Sony expects to have its tween-aged Peter Parker  -- and a new director  -- within the next several weeks, and promises more announcements to come. 

What we've got coming for you is the entirety of Sony's Press Release from Monday. [link] Give it a read then leave us your Back Issues! We want to know what you're thinking about 'Next' Spider-Man -- thumb's up or thumb's way, way down?  Are we abbracadabbling on target,  or have we been unnecessarily negative?? We can't meet your needs if you don't talk to us, so get spinning, guys. We'll keep you posted as news is invented by powers that be. Excelsior! 

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