Sony Pictures is making big plans for its Spider-Man franchise and beyond. When the studio announced plans to move forward with a Venom spinoff and a Sinister Six film in addition to further adventures in the proper Spider-Man series, it became clear that the studio was keen on building its own mini-universe not unlike Marvel’s interconnected franchises. Now it appears that the plan involves releasing a new Spider-Man film every year for the foreseeable future. That begins with 2016’s The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which the studio has now confirmed that Marc Webb will indeed be returning to direct. Hit the jump for more.
In a report in Variety on how Sony has been slower to develop franchises than other studios (not for lack of trying), the studio confirms that Marc Webb will indeed return to take the helm of The Amazing Spider-Man 3, completing his trilogy of Spider-Man films just as Sam Raimi did with the initial iteration of the franchise. While Webb is currently putting the finishing touches on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in anticipation of the film’s May release date, the studio has already been hard at work prepping Spider-Man 3 by hiring Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner to pen the screenplay last year. The plan is to begin production on The Amazing Spider-Man 3 this fall in anticipation of its May 2016 release date, and the studio has already dated The Amazing Spider-Man 4 for May 2018.
Additionally, Sony apparently has a game plan that involves releasing a new Spider-Man film every year, per studio co-chairman Amy Pascal. Unless the aforementioned Venom or The Sinister Six somehow move into production within the next few months, that plan will likely kick off with Spider-Man 3. Kurtzman is onboard to direct Venom while Drew Goddard is writing and directing The Sinister Six, so one of those two films will almost certainly hit theaters in 2017 to fill in the gap between Spider-Man 3 and Spider-Man 4. Since Goddard is currently busy directing a Daredevil series for Netflix and Marvel, the safe bet is on Venom to be the first out of the gate.
The big question with releasing a new Spider-Man film every year, though, is whether audiences will become fatigued. Marvel can get away with releasing two new movies a year because they have separate franchises with separate characters and wildly different tones; Thor and Captain America are worlds apart from each other, literally. Sony, however, only holds the rights to all of the characters within the Spider-Man series, which means all of its films occupy a much smaller and singular universe. Will audiences be itching to get a yearly fix of Spider-Man? I’m not so sure, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
What’s also unclear is how the franchise actors fit into this equation. When initially signing on to big franchises, most actors sign a contract that includes options for two sequels, which means they’re contractually obligated to appear in Franchise Movie 2 and Franchise Movie 3. Andrew Garfield has already hinted that he may want to move on after fulfilling his obligation with The Amazing Spider-Man 3, so it’ll be interesting to see how the franchise would move forward should he depart—but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. With the litany of villains promised to appear in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we’ll likely have a better idea of what this expanded Spider-Man universe might look like once the film opens in theaters on May 2nd.