Spider-Man (film series)


Spider-Man (film series)

Infobox Film
name = Spider-Man film series


image_size =
caption = Spider-Man complete trilogy box set
director = Sam Raimi
producer = Avi Arad
Laura Ziskin
Grant Curtis
writer = David Koepp ("Spider-Man")
Alvin Sargent ("Spider-Man 2 & 3")
Ivan Raimi ("Spider-Man 3")
Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man 3")
James Vanderbilt ("Spider-Man 4")
starring = Tobey Maguire
Kirsten Dunst
James Franco
Rosemary Harris
J. K. Simmons
Cliff Robertson
Willem Dafoe
music = Danny Elfman ("Spider-Man 1 & 2")
Christopher Young ("Spider-Man 3")
cinematography = Don Burgess ("Spider-Man")
Bill Pope ("Spider-Man 2 & 3")
editing = Arthur Coburn ("Spider-Man")
Bob Murawski ("Spider-Man 1-3")
distributor = Sony Pictures Entertainment
released = 2002 – 2007
country = USA
language = English
runtime = 388 minutes (all three films)
budget = US$597 million (all three films)
amg_id = 1:325280
gross = $2,496,346,518 (total, worldwide, all three films)

The "Spider-Man film series" consists of three superhero films based on the fictional Marvel Comics character of the same name, portrayed by Tobey Maguire. The rights to a motion picture based on Spider-Man were purchased in 1985 and moved through various production companies and studios, at one point having James Cameron to direct, before being secured by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Sony hired comic book fan Sam Raimi to direct the films, and the series began with "Spider-Man" in 2002, continued with "Spider-Man 2" in 2004, and became a trilogy with the release of "Spider-Man 3" in 2007. Throughout the films, Spider-Man developed a relationship with his school crush Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). To date, he has battled the villains Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), New Goblin (James Franco), Venom (Topher Grace) and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) throughout the series. While the films' central storylines have been concluded, the studio plans to develop more films, continuing Spider-Man's adventures.

Development

Cannon Films development period

The disappointing performance of 1983's "Superman III" made comic book adaptations low priority in Hollywood, though the comic industry itself thrived.cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik | url=http://www.teako170.com/spidey.html | title=Spidey’s Movie Mess | publisher=Los Angeles Times | date=1998-09-29 | accessdate= 2007-11-05] In 1985, after a brief option on "Spider-Man" by Roger Corman expired [cite web | url=http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808496334/critic | title=Roger Corman Interview | publisher=M.J.Simpson | accessdate=2007-05-15 ] , 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 the film’s revenues. cite news | author=Ronald Grover | url=http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/apr2002/nf20020415_7441.htm | title=Unraveling Spider-Man's Tangled Web | publisher=Business Week | date=2002-04-15 | accessdate=2007-01-22 ] The rights would revert to Marvel if a film was not made by April 1990.cite news | author=Janet Shprintz | url=http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=print_story&articleid=VR1117479641&categoryid=13 | title=Spider-Man's legal web may finally be unraveled | publisher=Variety | date=1998-08-19 | accessdate=2007-01-22]

Tobe Hooper, then preparing both "Invaders From Mars" and "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)cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik | title=Untangling the Web | publisher=Los Angeles Times Magazine | date=2002-03-24] and instructed writer Leslie Stevens, creator of "The Outer Limits", to write a treatment reflecting their misconception. In Stevens’s story, a corporate scientist intentionally subjects ID-badge photographer Peter Parker to radioactive bombardment, transforming him into a hairy, suicidal, eight-armed monster. The human tarantula refuses to join the scientist’s new master-race of mutants, battling a succession of mutations kept in a basement laboratory.cite book|author=Edward Gross|title=Spider-Man Confidential|publisher=Hyperion|year=2002] cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik|title=Untangling the Web|publisher=Los Angeles Times|date=2002-03-24]

Unhappy with the 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.cite magazine | author=Patrick Daniel O’Neill | Comics Interview Magazine #85 | title=Screenwriter Ted Newsom | publisher=Fictioneer Books Ltd. | month=March | year=1990] The variation on the origin story had Otto Octavius as a teacher and mentor to a college-age 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. Ock reconstructs his cyclotron and causes electromagnetic abnormalities, anti-gravity effects and bilocation which threatens to engulf New York 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 sidekick 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 then made a minor polish to Cohen's rewrite, using his pen name "Joseph Goldman." Zito scouted locations and studio facilities in both the US 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 for Marvel as Spidey. The young, up-and-coming 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. cite journal |last=Jankiewicz |first=Pat |authorlink= Pat Jankiewicz |year=2002 |month=July |title=Scott Leva, the Man Who Was Almost Spider-Man |journal=Starlog/Comics Scene Presents Spider-Man |volume=1 |issue=1 |pages=62–64 |accessdate= 2007-11-05 ] Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn were considered for Aunt May, Peter Cushing as a sympathetic scientist, and Adolph Caesar as a police detective.cite magazine | author=Patrick Daniel O’Neill | Comics Interview Magazine #85 | title=Screenwriter Ted Newsom | publisher=Fictioneer Books Ltd. | month=March | year=1990] With Cannon finances syphoned by the expensive " (1987)" 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.cite book | author=Edward Gross | | title=Spider-Man Confidential | publisher=Hyperion | date=2002]

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.cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik|title=Untangling the Web|publisher=Los Angeles Times|date=2002-03-24] 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 create 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. [cite news | author=Sheldon Teitelbaum | title=Spider-Man - The Movie: For Cannon Films it was a web too far. | publisher=Cinefantastique | month=September | year=1987 | accessdate=2007-06-08 ] 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."cite news | title=21stCenturyAd1989 | page=11 | publisher=Variety | date=1989-05-05 | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] As standard practice, Golan pre-sold the unmade film to raise production funds, with TV rights bought by Viacom, home video rights by Columbia Pictures, which wanted to establish a studio franchise. 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.cite magazine | author=Steve Ryfle | Creative Screenwriting magazine | title=Spider-Man’s Tangled Web |publisher=CS Publications | date=May/June 2002] 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."cite news | author=Dan Hagen | title=Publisher Stan Lee Speaks | publisher=Fictioneer Books Ltd. journal=David Anthony Kroft's Comics Interview Magazine | year=1990]

Carolco Pictures

Golan returned to Cannes Film Festival in 1990 to raise more funds, now taking out trade ads crediting "Neil Ruttenberg and Joseph Goldman" as writers (with a "Credits not contractual" caveat in fine print). cite news | title=21stCenturyAd1990 | page=8 | publisher=Variety | date=1990-02-20 | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] However, in Cannes, Carolco outbid Columbia's offer to back the film and acquired all existing "Spider-Man" material and rights from Golan (Carolco released its films through Columbia's Tri-Star subsidiary.). Carolco agreed to the proviso that Golan would still be considered the producer. James Cameron was officially revealed to be director of the film with pending approval of the studio, due to his success with "The Terminator". It was also announced that Cameron would write, direct and produce the film, but aware of cost overruns on "Terminator 2", the studio insisted that Cameron would not be paid his $3 million writer's fee unless he provided a completed screenplay which could be budgeted (in their estimation) for $60 million or less.

In the meantime, 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") cite book |last= Archer |first=Steven |title=Willis O’Brien, Special Effects Genius|page=177 |publisher= McFarland & Co. |year= 1993 |isbn= 0-89950-833-2 ]

Toward the end of shooting "True Lies", Variety carried the announcement that Carolco had received a completed screenplay from Cameron.cite news | title=Cameron Delivers Spider-Man Script | url= http://www.variety.com/article/VR110100.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&query=cameron+spider%2Dman | page=3 | publisher=Variety | date=1993-09-01 | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] 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. [cite web | url=http://www.hundland.com/scripts/Spider-Man.txt | title=Spider-Man | author1=Barry Cohen | author2=Ted Newson | author3=James Cameron | author4=Joseph Goldmari | author5=James Cameron | author6=John Brancato | publisher=Carolco | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] 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. [cite web | url=http://www.realmovietrivia.com/page_xmen.html | title=Spider-Man | publisher=Sci-Fi Trivia Reel | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] [cite web | url=http://www.cracked.com/article_15072_p2.html | title=10 Most Awesome Movies Hollywood Ever Killed | author=David Wong | publisher=Cracked.com | accessdate=2007-05-15 ] [cite web | url=http://www.retrojunk.com/details_articles/664 | title=If Spiderman Were Made in the 90s | author=dg | publisher=RetroJunk | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] As late as 1995, internet industry sources such as Baseline Hollywood still listed both Neil Ruttenberg (author of one of the 1990 "Doc Ock" variations submitted to Columbia), and James Cameron as co-writers. [cite web | url=http://www.blssi.com/overview.aspx | title=Spider-Man the Movie | publisher=Baseline/New York Times | accessdate=2007-05-15]

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. cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik |title=Untangling the Web | publisher=Los Angeles Times Magazine | date=2002-03-24]

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 sympathetic character, Cameron’s "Sandman" (named simply 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. [cite news | author = Scott Chitwood | title = Review of James Cameron's Spider-Man Scriptment | publisher = IGN | date = 2000-02-15 | url = http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/034/034412p1.html | accessdate=2007-04-28]

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 & 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 "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. [cite news | author=Jim Bullard | title=Spider-Man now 30 | publisher=St. Petersburg Times | date=1992-04-17 | accessdate=2007-01-22 ]

Tangled Web of Litigation

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, 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." [cite web |url= http://www.secinfo.com | title=Securities and Exchange Commission document 1-09264 |accessdate=2007-11-05 |author= Securities and Exchange Commission |date=1995-04-15|work=settlement|publisher=SEC] 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 new 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 (by then absorbed by Sony) for a reported $7 million. MGM disputed the legality, claiming it had the "Spider-Man" rights via Cannon, 21st Century, and Carolco, and threatened to make a competing film. [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/1998-12-24#film1|title=Movie/TV News ]

007 vs. Spidey

In the meantime, MGM/UA chief executive John Calley moved to Columbia. 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. [cite web | url=http://www.mi6.co.uk/sections/articles/sony_past_007_attempts.php3?s=articles&t | title=Past 007 Attempts | publisher=MI6, Home of James Bond | date=2004-09-14 | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] (Columbia had made the original 1967 film version 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 movie 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" movie 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. [cite web | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117871343.html?categoryid=1343&cs=1&query=Kirsten+Dunst%2C+%22kirsten+dunst%22 | title=A League of Her Own | author=Anne Thompson | publisher=Variety | date=2002-08-18 | accessdate=2007-11-07 ]

The two studios made a complex 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. [cite web | url=http://www.mi6.co.uk/sections/articles/obituary_kevin_mcclory.php3 | title=Kevin McClory (1926-2006) | author=dg | publisher=MI6, Home of James Bond | date=2006-11-29 | accessdate=2007-11-07 ] 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."cite news | author=Michael A. Hiltzik | title=Untangling the Web | publisher=Los Angeles Times Magazine | date=2002-03-24 | ] After more than a decade of attempts, "Spider-Man" truly went into production.

Film series

After this long development history, all of the Spider-Man films were produced by Laura Ziskin and distributed by Columbia Pictures, the primary film production holding of Sony. They were all directed by "Evil Dead" director Sam Raimi.

"Spider-Man" (2002)

"Spider-Man" follows Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) as he is bitten by a genetically engineered "super-spider", which causes him to take on the traits of a spider. Following the murder of his uncle (Cliff Robertson), Peter devotes his life to fighting crime. Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), in an attempt to save his company, experiments with human performance-enhancing drugs. The drugs cause Norman to go insane, and he dons the mantle of the Green Goblin. When Spider-Man refuses to join the Green Goblin, the two face off against each other in an epic battle.

"Spider-Man 2" (2004)

"Spider-Man 2" picks up two years after the events of the first film. Peter (Tobey Maguire) is struggling with being Spider-Man and keeping the rest of his life in order. Peter's best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco), is out for revenge against Spider-Man, and the woman Peter loves, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), is about to marry someone else. Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) develops four mechanical, artificially intelligent arms to handle a fusion reactor he's creating. The reactor malfunctions, and the mechanical arms are melded to his body. With the arms giving him direction, Octavius sets out to build a bigger, stronger fusion reactor which can destroy New York City and ultimately the rest of the world.

"Spider-Man 3" (2007)

"Spider-Man 3" finds Peter (Tobey Maguire) basking in the spotlight as Spider-Man, and finding a balance between being a superhero and being with his love, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Harry (James Franco) finally decides to take his revenge, becoming the New Goblin and later helps Spidey, and Peter learns the truth about who really killed his uncle. Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), an escaped convict, falls into a particle accelerator and becomes a shape-shifting sand monster later known as Sandman. A rival photographer, Eddie Brock Jr. (Topher Grace), threatens to take Peter's place at the Daily Bugle. All this happens while an alien substance crashes to earth on a meteor, and latches on to Spidey's suit, turning it black and manipulating him by amplifying his darker qualities. The substance (known as a "symbiote") eventually possesses Eddie Brock, creating the villain Venom.

Future

In January 2007 Columbia Pictures entered negotiations with screenwriter David Koepp, who is credited with the first "Spider-Man" screenplay, to pen the script for a fourth film, which would be released in 2009 or 2010. [cite news | author=Michael Fleming | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117957843.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 | title=Columbia, Koepp talk 'Spider-Man' | work=Variety | date=2007-01-21 | accessdate=2007-01-24 ] James Vanderbilt was soon announced as screenwriter, impressing the studio with his focus on characterization. The studio also decided to limit the scope of the film to two villains. [cite news | author = Borys Kit | title = Col hands Vanderbilt pen for 'Spidey 4' | work = The Hollywood Reporter | date = [007-10-31 | url = http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3ic868cb7073298c931e9d39a02384565e | accessdate=2007-10-31] In June 2008, Sony pushed the film back to May 2011. [cite news | author = John Horn | title = 'Spider-Man 4' aiming for May 2011 release | work = Los Angeles Times | date = 2008-06-20 | url = http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2008/06/spider-man-4-ai.html | accessdate=2008-06-21]

In September 2008, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire were finalizing deals to direct and star in a fourth and fifth film, respectively. Sony wanted to film the sequels together, beginning in late 2009, to keep the budget down. "The studio never considered any other actor," said a spokesman about recasting the role. "Tobey was our only choice and the only person we've discussed the role with."cite news|author=Leslie Simmons|title=Two more 'Spider-Man' films on the way|work=The Hollywood Reporter|date=2008-09-06|url=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3id9a975e26c8545c5c2f2858ae93969c4|accessdate=2008-09-06] Maguire will earn $50 million up front for agreeing to shoot both films over six months. Part of his deal means he can take evenings and early mornings off to spend time raising his daughter. [cite news|author=John Harlow|title=Spider-Man Tobey Maguire spins deal for fatherhood|work=The Sunday Times|date=2008-09-14|url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article4749016.ece|accessdate=2008-09-16] Actress Kirsten Dunst had also expressed openness to return with Raimi and Maguire. [cite news | author=Patrick Lee | url=http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=3&id=40891 | title=Maguire Open To "Spidey 4" | work=Sci Fi Wire | date=2007-04-04 | accessdate=2007-04-06] Raimi said he "couldn't imagine" doing more sequels to the Spider-Man films without Tobey Maguire in the title role, but refused to completely rule out directing any future installments. [cite news | author=Tom Roston | url=http://www.premiere.com/features/3346/the-secrets-of-spider-man-3.html | title=The Secrets of Spider-Man 3 | work=Premiere | pages=62, 65, 118 | date=January/February 2007 | accessdate=2006-12-14 ]

Beforehand, Dylan Baker, who portrays Dr. Curt Connors, expressed interest in portraying the character's villainous alter-ego, the Lizard. [cite news | author = Eric Goldman | title = Exclusive: Lizard Leapin' Into Spidey 4? | work = IGN | date = 2007-01-23 | url = http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/757/757729p1.html | accessdate=2007-05-29] Producer Grant Curtis is also a fan of the character, and also expressed interest in Kraven the Hunter. [cite news | author = Sean Elliott | title = Exclusive Interview: 'Spider-Man 3' Producer Grant Curtis talks about villains for 'Spidey 4' + His own origins - Part 1 | work = iF Magazine | date = 2007-05-29 | url = http://www.ifmagazine.com/feature.asp?article=2127 | accessdate=2007-05-29] Raimi said that if he returned to direct, he would turn Connors into the Lizard. He also expressed interest in setting up the Sinister Six by introducing the Vulture and Electro. [cite news | author = Larry Carroll | title = Sam Raimi May Not Helm 'Spider-Man 4'; Wants Electro, Vulture As Villains If He Does | work = MTV | date = 2007-06-26 | url = http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1563359/20070625/story.jhtml | accessdate=2007-06-26] J. K. Simmons is hoping to return as J. Jonah Jameson. [cite news | title = J.K. Simmons Talks "Spider-Man 4" | work = Superhero Hype! | date = 2008-02-20 | url = http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=6818 | accessdate=2008-02-21]

Meanwhile, in July 2007, Avi Arad revealed a Venom spin-off was in the works. [cite news | author=Paul Fischer | url=http://www.darkhorizons.com/news07/aviarad.php | title=Exclusive Interview: Avi Arad for "Bratz" | work=Dark Horizons | date=2007-07-24 | accessdate=2007-08-16 ] The studio commissioned Jacob Aaron Estes to write a script, but rejected it the following year. Sony announced that in addition to a new director and writer, they wanted to replace Topher Grace in the lead, as they felt he was unable to "carry" a blockbuster. [cite news|author=Steven Zeitchik|url=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i9603a54f631ae7b08ff64122f7c95c8e|title=Sony may bite on Spidey spinoff|work=The Hollywood Reporter|date=2008-07-31|accessdate=2008-07-31] In September 2008, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Sony's upcoming "Zombieland") signed on to write.

Cast and characters

List indicator(s)

*Italics indicate a transition to a minor role, such as an extended flashback, after the initial appearance.
*A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.

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". [cite news | author=David Ansen | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18335265/site/newsweek/ | title=Spidey the Swinger | publisher=Newsweek | date=2007-05-07 | accessdate=2007-05-15 ] 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". [cite news | author=Tom Charity | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/05/03/review.spiderman3/index.html | title=Review: 'Spider-Man 3' mixes highs and lows | publisher=CNN | date=2007-05-03 | accessdate=2007-05-15 ] 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". [cite news | author=Richard Corliss | url=http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1617207-2,00.html | title=Spider-Man Gets Sensitive | publisher=TIME | date=2007-05-03 | accessdate=2007-05-15 ]

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". [cite news | author=Colin Covert | url=http://www.startribune.com/1553/story/1161073.html | title=Movie review: 'Spider-Man' weaves tangled web | publisher=Star Tribune | date=2007-05-03 | accessdate=2007-05-15 ] 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." [cite news | author=Manohla Dargis | url=http://movies2.nytimes.com/2007/05/04/movies/04spid.html | title=Superhero Sandbagged | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-05-04 | accessdate=2007-05-15 ] 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 Doc Ock from the second film, he found the third film – despite being "bigger, though not necessarily better" – to have a "satisfying conclusion". [cite news | author=Robert Denerstein | url=http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/movies/article/0,2792,DRMN_23_5518699,00.html | title=Denerstein: Spidey sense and sensibility | publisher=Rocky Mountain News | date=2007-05-04 | accessdate=2007-05-15 ]

References

External links

* [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/briefing/spiderman.htm Spider-Man film franchise overview] at Box Office Mojo
* [http://dantom.altervista.org/spider_ing_script.html James Cameron's scriptment]
*imdb title|id=0948470|title=Spider-Man 4 (in development)


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