SPIDER-MAN 4 Dead; Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire, and Cast Out; Reboot Set for Summer 2012

     January 11, 2010

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So here’s your news story of the day: Deadline is reporting that Spider-Man 4 is no more, which was confirmed by a press release Sony Pictures sent out.  The next Spider-Man movie will be a reboot with a new director, cast, working off a script by James Vanderbilt.  The point of contention on Spider-Man 4 was that Raimi said he couldn’t make Sony’s Summer 2011 release date and make a creatively rewarding film.  Deadline also reports that Maguire wasn’t upset at the decision and feels he’s made three quality Spider-Man films.  Most fans would agree with two-thirds of his assessment.  However, Maguire could move to The Shire as he was rumored to play the lead in Guillermo Del Toro’s The Hobbit (a rumor which Maguire denied, but other sources say that he’s fibbing)  As for Raimi, this could open up his move to World of Warcraft or Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day.

Of course, I believe the news of Spider-Man 4‘s collapse is a bummer for fans of the franchise.  Raimi won’t have a chance to redeem himself from the third film, and reboots are so overdone, and in the case of Spider-Man, completely unnecessary.  The first film came out in 2002 and Spider-Man 3, for all its faults, in no way killed the franchise.  We do not need a refresher.  There’s also a lot of blatant (and expected) spinning in the press release.  The one that stings the most is Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, saying, ” We have always believed that story comes first,” This casts aspersions on Raimi’s ability as a storyteller, they’re going back to a story they’ve already told, and I think even without Deadline’s report, it was clear that this was motivated more by release date than by story.

Hit the jump to read the press release and its poor argument for moving the character backwards instead of forwards.

spider-man_2_tobey_maguire_looking_at_costume_01.jpgHere is the full press release  from Sony Pictures:

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 grappling 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.

spiderman_2_movie_image_tobey_maguire_and_sam_raimi.jpg“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 and 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.

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