Being the first live-action Spider-Man film, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man interpretation was a box office hit, and is Stan Lee's favorite Marvel movie (well, at least from his comments in June of 2016). Sam Raimi's Spider-Man went on to be so successful that it got two sequels in the five-year period after the first film was released.
Both the sequels were box office hits as well, and all three together acquired a worldwide total of $2.5 billion — almost as much as all four DCEU movies combined. Spider-Man 3 accumulated the most money worldwide out of the franchise, but Spider-Man 3 is also the sixth most expensive film to make, ever. With so much money, and the films being so successful, why would the franchise just stop? Yes, I'm aware that Spider-Man 3 wasn't the strongest film in the eyes of critics, but it really wasn't rated as poorly as you remember.
In fact, 243 critic reviews all combined together still left Spider-Man 3 with a 63 percent Tomatometer, which isn't that bad. Only three of the four DCEU movies had even had a fresh Tomatometer, Suicide Squad (25 percent), Batman V. Superman (27 percent), and Man Of Steel (55 percent). With that being said, what stopped Spider-Man 4 from happening?
In the summer of 2016, Sony released tons of early concept art for Spider-Man 4 that was never used, and it's still a mystery why Sony waited almost a decade to release the photos, but it was evident that Sam Raimi and writers were going deep into Spider-Man 4, and already had a pretty decent amount of the storyline written.
Spider-Man 4 was something everyone was looking forward to at the time. I was ready to see Tobey Maguire come back, and hopefully fix the previous film's mistakes. However, news hit shortly after that the movie was being cancelled, and Sony was going to reboot the series.
Speaking with Associated Press, Tobey Maguire seemed very confident going forward with Sam Raimi's #SpiderMan franchise, saying how much of the story has already been developed, and going so far to say that "there is really good stuff there," leaving us even more depressed that the film was never developed. At first the film was delayed, but not even two weeks later Sony announced that the film series had been cancelled.
Believe it or not, the film was far in development. James Vanderbilt wrote the script, and Sam Raimi was ready to direct. The film was so far into development that the release date had already been set for May 6, 2011. Furthermore, according to Collider, Sam Raimi and Sony already hired James Vanderbilt to write scripts for the fifth and sixth films as well. This all meant that Sam Raimi and his crew saw a bright future for the Spider-Man series that we will, sadly, never get to see.
What Went Wrong?
For a film that seemed to have been on track with development, planned sequels, and a confirmed release date, what in the world could possibly go wrong? In an interview with Vulture in 2013, Raimi finally came clean to and why we never saw Spider-Man 4, as he explains that Sony didn't give the time he needed to make the film great.
"It really was the most amicable and undramatic of breakups: It was simply that we had a deadline and I couldn't get the story to work on a level that I wanted it to work. I was very unhappy with Spider-Man 3, and I wanted to make Spider-Man 4 to end on a very high note, the best Spider-Man of them all. But I couldn't get the script together in time, due to my own failings, and I said to Sony, 'I don't want to make a movie that is less than great, so I think we shouldn't make this picture. Go ahead with your reboot, which you've been planning anyway.'"
[Sony co-chairman] Amy Pascal replied,
"Thank you. Thank you for not wasting the studio's money, and I appreciate your candor."
Sam Raimi continued:
"So we left on the best of terms, both of us trying to do the best thing for fans, the good name of Spider-Man, and Sony Studios."
In the end, maybe everything panned out exactly how it needed to. If Sam Raimi would have continued with such a limited time, it would have put both Sony and the entire Spider-Man franchise in great financial risk. I'd much rather have the film not happen, and franchise live as a classic, than a Spider-Man 4 ruin the entire franchise for everyone.
Would you have wanted a Spider-Man 4?
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