Nikki Finke just broke the following news on her insider blog:
Mike Fleming and I have just confirmed that Sony Pictures decided today to reboot the Spider-Man franchise after franchise director Sam Raimi pulled out of Spider-Man 4 because he felt he couldn’t make its summer release date and keep the film’s creative integrity. This means that Raimi and the cast including star Tobey Maguire are out. There will be no Spider-Man 4. Instead, Mike Fleming is told, the studio will focus on a reboot script by Jamie Vanderbilt with a new director and a new cast. All this took place today at meeting on the lot today. An official Sony Pictures news release about it is expected. My sources tell me that Raimi told Sony Pictures: “I can’t make your date. I can’t go forward creatively.”
This is frustrating in so many ways. Spider-Man 4 was originally set to be released on May 5, 2011, and if Sony believed that anyone could shoot, edit, and finish special effects on a $200+ million superhero movie with any shred of quality, then they were setting an impossible standard. What’s more frustrating to me, though, is the ridiculous need to reboot the entire franchise! The last Spider-Man movie isn’t even three years old, yet, and audiences really connected with the original cast. Sure, Spider-Man 3 was a big disappointment, but Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 showed us how great these films could be, I had faith that Raimi and the rest of the cast could turn it around! Really, I just don’t understand why Sony is so insistent that they must restart the entire Spider-Man story. It makes them look ashamed of the previous films, and if the issue was really all about the release date, then I don’t understand how this is an effective solution, for it will only delay a new Spider-Man even longer. My guess is that the problem was that Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Sam Raimi were asking for too much money. Whether or not that was even the case, though, why not just recast them and continue the story? It’s not like we audiences are too stupid to understand who each of the characters are. It’s a strategy has worked for the Bond franchise for years!
Honestly, I love Spidey. I have all the movies, tons of the old comics, a Spider-Man poster on my wall, a an old Spider-Man blanket under my bed. Raimi’s films exuded love for the character of Peter Parker and a huge respect of Stan Lee’s story. I’m frustrated that Sony doesn’t seem to share any of that. Anyone else with me?