Well, we won't be seeing Sam Raimi directing "Spider-Man 4" and we won't be watching Tobey Maguire swinging from building to building either...
Sony put out a press release today:
Culver City, CA (January 11, 2010) -- 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.
“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."
I hope this doesn't mean the hole in Maguire's schedule will be filled playing Bilbo Baggins. He's a talented actor and I really liked his Peter Parker, but seeing him with hairy feet next Gandalf isn't something I look forward to. Raimi could move on to "World of Warcraft" which many thought was just a producing project for him. Now, the whole reboot comes into play with Spidey going back to high school and starting over. I don't mind that, but there is no need for an origin movie. We don't need to movie the story back to square one. It's been done and there is no need to show it to the two guys that don't know what happens when you get bit by a radioactive spider. Just start him off right after he's become the Webslinger and give him a new villain.
I wonder if the rush to get a film on to screen has anything to do with Marvel (read Disney's) ability to regain the character for filming by the Mouse? I don't know how long they have to make another sequel between films before the rights would expire/revert back to the comic book company/film studio/subsidiary of the Mouse. I hope that the next version is done with as much care as Raimi put into the first two and as little studio interference as the Suits put into the third one.